Your Climate Solutions Expert: carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and carbon tracking services

Our visit to Laurelbrook Farm

Posted by The NativeEnergy Team on Oct 29, 2010
Tags: carbon projects, farm methane, laurelbrook farm project

On Wednesday, October 20, Owen Glubiak, Joel Boucher, and I left Burlington two hours before dawn—armed with brochures, cameras, and caffeine. We were on our way to an event showcasing the Laurelbrook Farm Compost Project that NativeEnergy customers helped build.

Our drive was stunning, in a monotone way, with the sunrise revealing mile after mile of autumn-singed farmland. At 10 a.m., we arrived in East Canaan, CT, greeted by the signature “Laurelbrook Farm” sign in white lettering. With red barns nestled beneath tree-covered hills, Laurelbrook is a quintessential New England farm—but don’t confuse that with quaint. As we would soon see, owner Bob Jacquier is a highly knowledgeable farmer with an eye to the future.

The event opened with educational talks by representatives from the US EPA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, CT Department of Environmental Protection, project developer Integrity Ag Systems, and others. Steve Winnett of the EPA noted that government funding for projects is diminishing due to budget constraints. For this reason, Laurelbrook Farm owner Bob Jacquier elaborated, the family sought out creative financing opportunities. By purchasing the carbon credits and providing upfront funding to the project, NativeEnergy helped close the gap where grants and government assistance fell short. I described the carbon credit process to the crowd, and many curious people approached me, Owen, and Joel with questions throughout the day.

After the talks, we all headed to the composting facilities: three huge white tents with manure piled in long rows. Attesting once again to the natural power of compost, it didn’t smell at all! We watched as a large windrow turner mixed the material, which was so hot that steam billowed from the center. This heat, generated during composting, kills pathogens. Composting also allows oxygen into the mix, which eliminates the methane emissions that would occur from the traditional anaerobic storage of manure. Joel—fearlessly committed to good photography—followed the machine straight into the formidable pile.

We were thrilled that representatives from Project Supporter Curtis Packaging—Don Droppo, Jr., President and CEO, and Kerry Brown, Director of Quality—could join us throughout the day. At Laurelbrook, they were able to witness firsthand the project that they helped build. They seemed to be as excited as we were! They also spent time with Bob Jacquier, discussing the project and all things Connecticut.

It can sometimes be difficult to understand carbon reduction projects, especially if you’re not an engineer or biologist. The stories behind the initiatives—the organizations that collaborate to make something happen, the sheer hard work of the project owners—can be overshadowed by descriptions of anaerobic decomposition, metrics, and emissions details. Those facts are important, but there’s something about visiting a project that goes beyond. How else would I know about the cow’s wet, curious noses; the size and capacity of the composting tents; the brook that literally does flow right through the farm?

Laurelbrook is a project envisioned by resourceful and creative farmers; and their vision was made reality by an entire community of supporters including, in no small part, NativeEnergy’s customers. Congratulations to everyone who helped build this cool, interesting, and meaningful project!

Write a comment

  • Required fields are marked with *.