Full sun and a strong breeze made for the perfect spring morning for Indian Line Farm - a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Egremont - to display, celebrate and give thanks to all who helped with its new grid-tied 6.5 kW photovoltaic system. I was lucky to join Elizabeth Keen and Al Thorp, owners of Indian Line Farm, as they spent a morning away from farming to celebrate their new system with other local farmers, CSA members, and various key participants in all the federal, state, and private support efforts that made this project possible. Their celebration was not only about how the new photovoltaic system works, but also to demonstrate the effectiveness of teamwork and collaboration when various people, agencies, and organizations come together to make such a project happen.
DAR was fortunate to be part of this collaboration, awarding $10,000 to the total cost of the project under our Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), a program with a purpose to help mitigate or prevent negative impacts to natural resources resulting from agricultural practices. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and USDA also provided funding support. Indian Line Farm, which installed its photovoltaic system on the roof of the Thorp’s existing barn, now produces emission-free electricity, displacing electric energy from central, greenhouse-gas emitting power plants. This barn now provides a dual purpose: a central farming produce center and the structure for a renewable energy source that will completely meet the energy needs for the farm, while also allowing for future growth.
Indian Line Farm grows of a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and cutting flowers that are primarily sold to its 100-plus CSA members, making the farm a perfect place to highlight the successful outcomes that can occur when various organizations work together for a sustainable future.
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This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Office chose this historic hall to recognize bold action and innovation of a different kind. It recognized Massachusetts state government’s Leading by Example (LBE) program during a 2015 Earth Day event at Faneuil Hall, awarding LBE a 2015 Environmental Merit Award in the governmental category.