Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, Vermont is known for the many gallons of milk that its cows produce each year to produce Cabot Cheddar Cheese at a plant located just 9 miles from the farm. However, Blue Spruce also has another claim to fame; in 2006, they became the first Cow Power farm in the state to use manure to create electricity. Manure is fed into an on-farm anaerobic digester where bacteria convert the waste into various products, one of which is methane gas. Methane gas is burned to fuel an engine which spins an electric generator to produce electricity. In fact, one cow’s waste can produce enough electricity to light two 100-watt light bulbs 24 hours a day! The energy is then fed onto the Green Mountain Power electrical system for distribution to customers.
Now, Blue Spruce Farm is expanding their on-farm energy production to become a key resource and leader as Vermont shifts towards implementation of the Universal Recycling Law that will ban all food waste from landfills by 2020. Not only will manure be fed into the digester to create electricity, but also farm byproducts and food waste from universities, ski resorts, and hospitals, will be diverted from the landfill to the on-farm digester to contribute to energy production. The farm will work with Casella Organics to help communities better understand the importance of properly separating food waste so that it can be collected and turned into a mixture that can go through a farm digester.
Our community benefits from the local source of renewable electricity generated right on our farm,” says Marie Audet of Blue Spruce Farm. “The crops we grow to feed our cows are never 'waste', especially not when they have been efficiently converted to manure by the cows. Our planet comes with a finite amount of nutrients. The best use of our food is to make sure it doesn’t go to waste in the first place or end up in landfills. Farms are not only where our food comes from, but are part of the cycle to return nutrients to the soil. A system that ensures healthy food AND a healthy planet go hand in hand.
To learn more about Blue Spruce Farm and their innovative approach to on-farm energy visit http://www.bluesprucefarmvt.com/.