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New Technology Saves Regions Only Organic Beanery

An energy efficient insulation system that will prevent 158 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, helped revamp Cayuga Pure Organics (CPO) Brooktondale farm, according to Sustainable Tompkins’ website. In January, the farm was on the brink of bankruptcy after a fire that paralyzed the operations last spring.

As the only major supplier of organic beans in the region, the (CPO) farm in Brooktondale is critical to the local demand for fresh, naturally raised food, according to Sustainable Tompkins, a local citizen-based community organization.

After last spring’s fire, the bean farm was ready to shut down. “ I wasn’t sure if the farm would make it, but things are finally getting better,” Anne Riordan, a field manager at CPO, said.

Garrett Miller and his team at Snug Planet, the insulation sub-contractor for the farm, realized they might be able to eliminate the need for a fossil fuel heating. In order to pay for the insulation upgrades, the farm had to qualify for a grant from the Finger Lakes Climate Fund.

“I admire the CPO team for what they do over in Brooktondale, and I was eager to help out when I heard they were interested in upgrading their insulation system,” Miller said.

With the help of Snug Planet and Sustainable Tompkins, CPO was able to impress the Finger Lakes Climate Fund with their proposal for an energy efficient insulation system. Last month, after reviewing the proposal presented by CPO and their associates, the Finger Lakes Climate Fund chose to award them the grant.

With $2,500 approved for the job, Miller and his team quickly began to install the upgrades and get the farm back to supplying local residents with their food.

“The insulation upgrades require a sophisticated architecture that takes time to build, so we got started as soon as the grant was approved,” Miller said.

The architecture that Miller refers to is part of what is known as a passive geothermal system. This method of insulation traps the normal ground temperature (approx. 50 degrees) under the building, keeping the concrete floor close to 50 degrees year-round, the perfect temperature range for working with beans and grains, said Erick Smith, owner and founder of the farm.

Due to this technology, the Brooktondale farm has been able to recover from the damages wrought by the fire, said Miller.

“With the insulation upgrades in place, the farm and the residents who rely on its food, have a healthy future,” Riordan said.

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