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How to Make Your Farm Carbon Neutral & Teach About It

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Based on the example of Appleton Farms, America’s oldest working farm and a commercial- scale vegetable and dairy operation, we will present the farm’s detailed carbon-counting model, review the specific measures used to eliminate it’s carbon footprint and then facilitate an interactive discussion on ways to engage the public in sustainability.

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How to Make Your Farm Carbon Neutral & Teach About It

  1. 1. How to Make Your Farm Carbon Neutral & Teach about it Wayne Castonguay- Director of Center for Agriculture and Environment Meghan Connolly-Education Coordinator, Weir River Farm
  2. 3. Meg’s Trustees introduction here
  3. 13. Climate Change Its all about the carbon cycle
  4. 14. What are the gases of concern? How much does TTOR contribute? How can we reduce our carbon footprint? What is the opportunity for TTOR with respect to carbon trading and carbon sequestration to help offset our footprint? Four Key Questions
  5. 15. Different greenhouse gases have different Global Warming Potential (GWP): CO2e is the common unit Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ): fossil fuel combustion Methane (CH 4 ): manure, decomposition Nitrous Oxide (N 2 O): nitrogen fertilizer 1 unit of CO 2 = 1 CO 2 e quivalents 1 unit of CH 4 = 23 CO 2 e quivalents 1 unit of N 2 O = 298 CO 2 e quivalents Gases of Concern
  6. 16. Berkshires 12% Pioneer Valley 4% Central 8% Northeast 44% Greater Boston 26% Southeast 5% Carbon Footprint 1,640 MT CO2 The 1,640 metric ton carbon footprint is based on the total energy use calculated for all utilities including, propane, fuel oil, natural gas, electricity, and the use of gasoline for our fleet of trucks and mileage reimbursement.
  7. 17. <ul><li>The Trustees’ Agriculture Program Goals: </li></ul><ul><li>Through food & agriculture, help increase the </li></ul><ul><li>sustainability of our society; </li></ul><ul><li>Support healthy, active and green communities by </li></ul><ul><li>helping to build a sustainable local food system </li></ul><ul><li>accessible to all people; </li></ul><ul><li>Connect many more people to land & conservation </li></ul><ul><li>through food & agriculture </li></ul>
  8. 20. <ul><li>Attributes of Appleton Farms </li></ul><ul><li>A Working Farm </li></ul><ul><li>1,000 acres located w/in 25 miles of downtown Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest continuously operated farm in country (c.1636) </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy of an American Founding Family </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of acres in active agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Ecologically friendly, economically viable and sustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Grass-based livestock agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Community Supported Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Value-added farm products </li></ul><ul><li>Recreation & education programs </li></ul>
  9. 23. Property Management Property Management
  10. 24. Dairy and Livestock
  11. 25. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  12. 26. Engagement
  13. 27. Goal: Eliminate Carbon Footprint
  14. 28. Options for Appleton Farms <ul><li>reduce the carbon footprint of operations </li></ul><ul><li>generate renewable energy on-site </li></ul><ul><li>offset our carbon footprint by </li></ul><ul><li>sequestering carbon on our land </li></ul><ul><li>purchase carbon offsets in the marketplace </li></ul>
  15. 29. Decision Making Criteria at Appleton Farms <ul><li>A. Reducing Carbon Footprint first step </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with measuring carbon footprint </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct cost-benefit analysis of improvement or activity </li></ul><ul><li>Implement obvious best management practices </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on reducing big 3 source of footprint: </li></ul><ul><li>transportation/equipment, building heating, electricity usage </li></ul><ul><li>(beware of biofuels) </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal opportunity to reduce footprint of cattle </li></ul>
  16. 30. Decision Making Criteria at Appleton Farms <ul><li>B. Opportunities for carbon offsets second step </li></ul><ul><li>Green on-site generation of heat & power </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon sequestration in forests and soils on farm </li></ul><ul><li>Purchase of carbon offsets in marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>(or obtain offsets from other ttor/private land) </li></ul>
  17. 31. Carbon Sequestration on Land <ul><li>Only Two Viable Choices </li></ul><ul><li>for Appleton Farms: </li></ul><ul><li>Trees </li></ul><ul><li>Soils </li></ul>
  18. 32. <ul><li>Increased storage of C in forests </li></ul><ul><li>Storage of C in wood products </li></ul><ul><li>Substitution of </li></ul><ul><li>- wood for fossil fuels </li></ul><ul><li>- wood products for GHG intensive materials (steel, aluminum, concrete) </li></ul>Forest resources can mitigate GHG emissions by:
  19. 33. Substitution of Wood for Fossil Fuels <ul><li>As direct biofuel; heat or co-firing for electricity </li></ul><ul><li>Substitute for GHG intensive products (concrete, steel, aluminum) </li></ul>
  20. 34. Combustion Efficiency <ul><li>TARM Wood Gasification boiler 1800 °C 80-85% eff. </li></ul><ul><li>Harmon pellet stove 80-85% eff. </li></ul>
  21. 35. Soil Carbon Sequestration <ul><li>Conversion of disturbed, tilled land and lawns to grasslands </li></ul><ul><li>Only works in specific soil types with net capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive rotational grazing is only effective tool to sequester significant amounts of carbon in soil </li></ul><ul><li>Significant monitoring required to verify pre existing soil carbon levels and annual amount of carbon sequestered </li></ul><ul><li>Management activities must be committed to over a specified period of time to be used as an offset or credit </li></ul>
  22. 36. C Sequestration in Soil Potential varies with current soil OC level and texture <ul><ul><li>field M </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jones farm </li></ul></ul>C sequestration potential 0 100 % Silt + Clay Soil Organic Carbon Minimum - intensive tillage Maximum - no-tillage Manageable Range of SOC
  23. 37. Pattern of C Sequestration in Soil New Maximum C Level Soil Organic Carbon Conventional tillage Change to No-tillage 0 50 Time (yr)
  24. 38. Eliminating our carbon footprint <ul><li>The Appleton Farms Plan: goal is to become </li></ul><ul><li>first commercial scale carbon-neutral farm in MA </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt best management practices everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>- recycle everything & conserve </li></ul><ul><li>- eliminate trash dumpster </li></ul><ul><li>- change to efficient lighting/equipment, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>- eliminate vehicle/equipment trips (meetings!) </li></ul><ul><li>- adopt energy efficiencies in 22 buildings </li></ul><ul><li>- buy local </li></ul><ul><li>- think green in all future decisions </li></ul><ul><li>- convert propane/oil to electric/biodiesel </li></ul>
  25. 39. Eliminating our carbon footprint (cont.) <ul><li>Change fleet and equipment to biodiesel & electric </li></ul><ul><li>- convert 3 on-road gas trucks to biodiesel </li></ul><ul><li>- convert 3 off-road gas trucks to biodiesel </li></ul><ul><li>- replace gas utility ATV’s with electric </li></ul><ul><li>- replace gas ATV with biodiesel ATV </li></ul><ul><li>- replace gas lawn mowers with biodiesel </li></ul><ul><li>- use biodiesel in all diesel equipment </li></ul><ul><li>(tractors, backhoe, skid steer, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate commercial fertilizers </li></ul><ul><li>Organic production & land management </li></ul>
  26. 40. Eliminating our carbon footprint (cont.) <ul><li>Install wind power & photovoltaics </li></ul><ul><li>- 100KW wind turbine on Sunset Hill </li></ul><ul><li>- 50 & 15 KW photovoltaic array’s </li></ul><ul><li>Biomass & biodiesel building heating </li></ul><ul><li>- heat greenhouses, barns and shops with wood </li></ul><ul><li>- heat houses with biodiesel </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon sequestration in topsoil and forests </li></ul><ul><li>- sequester 1000 tons C/yr in soil </li></ul><ul><li>- replant old tree plantations with new trees </li></ul><ul><li>- mange forests to increase C sequestration </li></ul>
  27. 41. Appleton Farms Carbon-counting Model
  28. 50. OUR PLACE IN YOUR GREENER FUTURE Powisset Farm, Dover
  29. 51. <ul><li>“ Sustainable is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” </li></ul><ul><li>-UN World Commission on Environment and Development </li></ul>
  30. 52. TTOR Engagement Cycle <ul><li>How We Teach About It </li></ul>
  31. 53. Lead by Example <ul><li>Low on engagement cycle </li></ul><ul><li>CSA </li></ul><ul><li>Green Building Tours </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Ag Tours </li></ul>
  32. 54. Weir River Farm, Hingham
  33. 55. Gaining Real Skills <ul><li>Individual Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Composting </li></ul><ul><li>Canning, extending harvest </li></ul><ul><li>How to weatherize your home </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping backyard chickens </li></ul>
  34. 57. Mobilizing More People to Act
  35. 58. Empowering Activists <ul><li>Training and Mentoring people to make sustainable choices </li></ul><ul><li>• Youth Corps </li></ul><ul><li>High Level Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Course </li></ul>
  36. 59. Inspiration From Others <ul><li>Northwest Earth Institute </li></ul><ul><li>www.nwei.org </li></ul>
  37. 60. <ul><li>Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living, Rhode Island </li></ul><ul><li>www.apeiron.org </li></ul>
  38. 61. Group Discussion <ul><li>What programs are you offering, have participated in or heard of that help people move towards making more thoughtful decisions? </li></ul>
  39. 62. Group Reporting <ul><li>Share one program from each group that achieved desired outcome. How did you measure success? </li></ul>
  40. 63. <ul><li>What concrete steps can you offer others so they can emulate these successful programs at their own sites? </li></ul>

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