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Success Stories

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State Director Julia Hnilicka smiles at local business owner Henry Krull as he bags up lettuce and explains hydroponic farming.

Green energy: photovoltaic array powers growth of Alaskan produce business

During a good year, Alaska’s outdoor growing season is three months for most lettuces and herbs, so providing greens for a community year-round is a feat in itself. Doing so sustainably is another challenge entirely! In 2018, innovator Henry Krull and his family decided to… [Read More]
Unionville Vineyards GM John Cifelli crushes grapes for wine

‘Sustainability should hurt’: Making wine without the whine

The drive up to Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes, New Jersey can be a tricky one. Patches of forest and sprawling farmland bound winding roads that lead to a natural, inclined driveway up to a rustic tasting room. In the summer, it’s hard to find a more picturesque setting. In… [Read More]
Renewable Lubricants CEO Bill Garmier stands in front of barrels of Lubricant Products

REAP Adds Another Level of Sustainability to Bio-based Business

After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Bill Garmier returned to Ohio with nothing but starting a family farm on his mind. For years, his family would plant and harvest corn and soybeans, but when the market began to change Garmier knew he needed to find an additional source of… [Read More]
finnriver coowners photo by james curtis. Three people smiling in front of fermenting equipment and bottles.

Sustainability at the Core

For many, apples are a sweet addition to a balanced diet. For Eric Jorgensen, one of the founders of Finnriver Farm & Cidery, apples are a way of life. Jorgensen and his partners started their small organic fruit and vegetable farm in Chimacum, Washington, on the state’s… [Read More]
Geoff Marietta solar panels

East Kentucky entrepreneur uses solar power to significantly cut power costs

Geoff Marietta found out just how expensive it can be to heat a 12,000-square-foot, 100-plus-year-old building. The building, located on the corner of 2nd and Main streets in downtown Corbin, Kentucky, sat vacant from 2005 until Marietta bought it in 2017. He immediately… [Read More]
Webb Farm Solar

Humboldt Community REAPs the Benefit of Webb Farm Solar

Located in rural Humboldt, Tennessee, Mr. Aaron Webb of Webb Farm Solar Systems Inc., owns and operates a minority owned solar farm. This farm has been in operation since 2012, with Photo-Voltaic (PV) Solar Systems on several farm properties.  It was in 2019, when Webb walked… [Read More]
Members of the Real Pickle Co-op stand on the roof of the building next to the new solar panels on a sunny day. Many are wearing coats and it looks chilly outside.

Solar: It’s a “Big Dill” for Real Pickles Cooperative

As USDA Rural Development (RD) highlights National Cooperative Month, one worker owned co-op in Massachusetts stands out as a model for sustainability, collaboration, and local food system resiliency. The saying goes “it’s not easy being green.” But for Real Pickles in… [Read More]
Man standing next to lumber

Montana Lumber Mill Makes Energy Improvements with USDA

Sun Mountain Lumber, located in Deer Lodge, Mont., is a family-owned lumber mill which also serves as Deer Lodge Valley’s largest private employer. Since 2018, Sun Mountain Lumber has received two separate USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America (REAP) program grants to… [Read More]
 Blew Family with Rural Development State Director Jane Asselta and Congressman Malinowski

Family Farm Learns About Sustainable Options through North Jersey RC&D and Rural Development Partnership

The Blew family owns a sustainable farm in Hunterdon County. Oak Grove Plantation is considered a “Revolutionary” farm; all their products are free of GMO, preservatives, additives, and fillers. While they have a great start of going green, they turned to North Jersey RC &D… [Read More]
Girl leads a cow

Hastings Farm’s Robotic Milking System will Run on Power of the Sun

Five generations strong, Hastings Farm is a multi-generational dairy farm located in Suffield, Connecticut. In addition to corn silage and hay, the family farm milks Holsteins and Jerseys, and processes a variety of dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese. They also … [Read More]