Baby Greens, a farm located in Kingston, Rhode Island, is putting a convenient spin on the term “farm to table.” The chemical-free organic farm produces a mixture of salad greens that owner Jeffery Kamminga hand delivers to local homes and businesses year round.
In August of 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development awarded Baby Greens a grant in the amount of $12,666 through its Rural Energy for America Program Grant (REAP) to aid in funding for the installation of a 10 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system (PV system). The system converts sunlight into energy through solar panels, and other auxiliary systems producing an estimated 12,439 kwh yearly. Through this new system, the farm is saving close to 60 percent of its energy costs. Kamminga says he has always wanted a PV system, but would not have been able to afford it without the help of the REAP grant.
The system produces power to the farm’s storage cooler, fans, and irrigation system. The storage cooler is able to stay at 41 degrees Fahrenheit year round in order to keep the salad greens fresh until the time of delivery. Fans inside of the greenhouses keep the temperature regulated, and circulate air to prevent the growth of bacteria. The drip irrigation system delivers the greens just the right amount of water, and can be controlled through the use of the electricity.
The 51 acre farm has four year-round operating 24’ x 100’ greenhouses that are powered by the PV system. Currently Baby Greens has 80 subscribers that receive the fresh mix of greens that the farm produces. The farm also supports other local farmers and food producers by offering their products such as cheese, eggs, and mushrooms, as an option to add to the customer’s order to compliment the salad mix.
Keeping with the farm’s energy efficient theme, Kamminga has plans to purchase an electric vehicle, to deliver his products in the future.