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Success Stories

Geothermal Technology Helps Couple Make Year-Round Cut Flower Farm a Reality

Emily Cannon
Renewable Energy
Image of Ginsberg family at Moonshot Farm

Taking their chance on a lifelong dream, former urban dwellers Rebecca and Mark Ginsberg traded their conventional city lifestyle for rural living, establishing a cut flower farm. For the New Jersey couple it felt like a moonshot, but they believed they could do it.

Initially, they used fossil fuels to heat the year-round greenhouse, but soon turned to the USDA Rural Development for a more environmentally friendly solution.

Through a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant in the amount of $24,193, they converted Moonshot Farm LLC from heating with propane pumps to using geothermal technology.

The new system is much more efficient. One unit of electric energy used by the geothermal heat pump produces at least four units of heat- a realization of 400 percent efficiency! In addition, it will put money back in their pockets, saving over $5,000 of propane annually.

Surrounded by Dahlias, Lisianthus, and Mums and beaming with pride, Rebecca shared how thrilled she is to be growing flowers year-round from her renewably powered greenhouses.

“Our flowers are beautiful, locally-grown, and have a low carbon footprint, she says. For us, having the geothermal system has been an immediate bottom-line revenue boost.”

She says, “We are now able to grow our flowers in the dead of winter, and the marketing appeal of locally grown with renewable energy has been huge, with customers coming from all over the region.”

She recommends REAP for other farmers looking to install renewable energy technology, which could include geothermal, solar, biomass, wind, or other renewable systems, and can also include the installation of more energy-efficient equipment such as lighting or refrigeration.

“We are very eager to get other farmers using this technology. Not only is it way more environmentally friendly than propane and natural gas but with the USDA’s programs and the new tax credits it actually makes financial sense.”

USDA Rural Development New Jersey State Director Jane Asselta adds, “Moonshot Farms is a success story we tell often to encourage farmers to make the switch to greener, cleaner, more efficient energy systems for their greenhouses, hoop houses and tunnels. With our grant funds, we make money saving, energy efficiency projects even more affordable.”

The Rural Energy for America Program can help agricultural producers and rural small businesses with installing renewable energy systems or making energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. For more information contact Maryanne Tancredi at maryann.tancredi@usda.gov or (856)-787-7752


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