making earth day, every day
April 22, 2015 // by Allison Hooper
A few months ago I listened to my favorite congressman, Peter Welch, admonish in a speech, “ We can’t choose the times that we live in but we can choose how we live in them.” For many of us that is true. Living in Vermont, we are spoiled by the landscape we enjoy every day. We know farmers and many of us even know the people who produce our food.
It’s pretty special to be close to small and sustainable agriculture. It’s also scary to see the effects of climate change: our maple tree won’t grow in Vermont for decades to come. While our weather events pale compared to drought in California and inevitable sea level rise in Florida, our weather patterns are changing. Our winter has been long and excessively cold. Not great for growing livestock who spend calories to stay warm as opposed to growing. A long winter means we can’t get on the fields, at Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, to spread compost to enrich the soil for a new growing season. Like the time that we live in, there’s a lot about farming we can’t control.
That said, we can choose how we want to farm. I am proud of the fact that at Ayers Brook, we are willing to try new ways of doing things. We are growing GMO-free corn and forages. We are committed to keeping our nutrients on the farm to rebuild our soils after years of neglect. This Earth Day, we will be spreading our good goat compost that has been turned and aerated over the past year, navigating fields that are slow to drain from a long winter, and enriching the soil for another go at excellent feed for the goats. They love it and they make the best milk on it.
Now that the snow has melted, I look forward to my cycling commute to the creamery where we continue to add value to milk while minimizing our impact on clean and plentiful water, clean air, and land.
We were able to cut our water consumption by 1/3 even as our business grew.
We incentivized carpooling & bike to work programs.
We invested in Freeaire Refrigeration coolers that use outside air to cool & power our coolers thereby reducing our energy significantly.
We reduced our trash and increased our recycling.
We installed a 572 panel solar array on the roof of the goat barn at Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, which will generate enough electricity to power the farm and a portion of our cheesemaking at the Creamery.
All by paying attention and making Earth Day, every day. How are you celebrating the Earth today?