Taking Agriculture to the Next Century

Farmers and ranchers are the stewards of the land or so the story goes. However, some of the traditional methods of farming and ranching are not the most environmentally friendly. From pesticides to the gas and diesel used in farm equipment, agriculture work puts a strain on the environment. One California farm is trying to change that by creating a farm that does not use fossil fuels. https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/26/taylor-farms-wants-to-make-food-without-fossil-fuels/

Taylor Farms has been around since 1995 when third generation Salinas Valley farmer Bruce Taylor and his partners decided to try to become North America’s favorite producer of fresh vegetables. This grand vision has become a reality in the last 20 plus years as you can buy Taylor Farms produce at almost all major grocery stores including Walmart and Publix. Now, the company is forging a new path by powering all of their farm with solar, wind or co-generation systems.

Bruce Taylor admits that it has not been a smooth path to the point where all three types of alternate energy sources are working together. Solar panels get dirty and have to be cleaned often to preform at maximum efficiency. That can be an additional challenge where there is construction and farming going on close by. Wind energy production requires a rather large initial capital investment to put up the towers and the turbines. Co-generation at Taylor Farms is a Concentric Power System that uses a combination of natural gas and waste heat for generating refrigeration temperatures for vegetables. Getting that plant plugged into the farm’s systems required some ingenuity since the refrigeration units were not made to accept this form of power.

Today, Taylor Farms generates enough solar energy for their needs with left over to sell back to the grid. The ultimate idea is to take the farm completely off the grid. A completely self-sustainable production facility that is immune to brown outs if there is a sudden increase in power demand. Personally, the guarantee of a perfectly cooled salad in the event of the zombie apocalypse seems like a wonderful reason to support Taylor Farms efforts.

 

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