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I'm glad there's a growing "green" trend! Energy, food, do it you'll save the world!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by VCBurner, Mar 13, 2010.

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  1. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for commenting btuser. I like what you're saying!
    I guess when I titled this thread I wasn't thinking how corny it sounds to say "do it you'll save the world!" :) But, wouldn't it be nice if we as a people decided to take control of our country and do the right thing for our selves and each other? It was a bit of a cheerleader statement, somewhat idealist and a little unrealistic. I too like to save money. In fact my family's immediate survival depends on frugality. We have not been able to boycot walmart and my wife has gone to mcdonalds since I started this thread. Last night we bought all our groceries at the walmart supercenter in the neighboring town. Am I proud of not going to the local farm to buy my meats? No! I had a three day pay check this week and had to keep the cost low! Last night we got out spending $260 for a week's worth of groceries. Next week we plan to visit a local farm and try buying meats that are locally raised and processed. We also have local produce shops where we plan to shop. We will have to compare cost and see how it will all work. There's got to be a balance somehow! On another money saving topic, we saved over $1500 on heating costs and only used 50 gallons of oil since November. That includes water heating.
    My wood is free so I think I'd still burn some wood!
    So, I wonder how much of the meats on the shelves are from the small farmers you mentioned?
    I think this is where we would come in as consumers and buy the locally grown and processed foods and change the market. Our demand would be for the local farmers and not the huge company producing the major % of our food supply! The big companies would have to change their focus from mass production to high quality because that is what the people want!
    I hope you're right! It's shocking how fast our world has changed from local to mass production. I sure hope there's still time to make a change. This is why I'm idealistic.

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  2. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Chris, I like the way you think.
    Just a little north of ya.
  3. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Zip. Zero. The last one to go was a dairy farm and he was PAID to shut down. He tried starting up a beef herd later on but was hassled out of that too. No one would buy it because the big boyz had the entire distribution chain choked with their own meat (you know what I mean). After a few years and a refusal of the town to allow a storefront (not zoned for it) he shut down for good.

    There's a good place in Loudon NH that sells real beef, goat, pork and chicken. I think its Mills Farms. Also, a couple of places in around with local farmers.
  4. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Pretty sad isn't it? Thousands of farmers and family businesses who are bankrupt or forced to close would probably agree. The web site eatwild.com has a list of farmers that can provide real farm fresh quality foods. I was so surprized to see how many farms are actually around here in Mass! As close as my neighboring town of Rutland. I'm sure up there in NH there are quite a few if you look them up. Thanks again btuser!
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    No doubt, thanks Tim for the link. There are 3 listed that are just as close as the grocery store to us.
  6. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Glad that you guys found the link useful. We're actually making a trip this morning to pick up our year's supply of pastured pork. The hogs are rasied by a small, family farmer about 45 minutes south of where we live and processed by another family butcher operation about 25 minutes south of where we live. We get a great product, the hogs are pastured and not fed hormones/anitbiotics, we are free to stop by the farm anytime (except Sundays), and we are supporting two local family-based businesses. Everybody wins except the big agri-businesses. Oh yes, my wife gets far more discretion with how the meat is packaged which is great. I hope you guys have similar good luck with local farms that you find.

    This is a very inspiring thread and demonstrates what we all seem to think needs to happen - people acting more locally, seasonally, taking more control over the basics in their lives.
  7. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    One more comment - it seemed that the movie "Food, Inc." motivated a lot of us to become more self-sufficient. I'd suggest everybody check out the book, "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" by John Seymour. I checked this book out from our library so many times I finally had to get off my wallet and buy my own copy. It's a wonderful book that gives overviews of many topics related to self-sufficiency and can help you take the next step. You've decided that you want to grow a garden, process your own food, brew your own beer - whatever it might be, this book is bound to have a several page overview of the topic. I have worn the book out just reading through and daydreaming about the possibilities. I loan it out consistently to friends and it has had similar effects - one is now building raised bed gardens on his suburban lot, another enlarged his garden and has ordered fruit trees and berry bushes.
  8. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I haven't seen the movie, but for those of you who still read I recommend Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001) by Eric Schlosser There is a movie too but I haven't seen it either.
  9. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    flatbedford - I have heard of that book, but never read it. I'll tell the wife to add it to the library list - thanks for the recommendation.
  10. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    We saw the movie. It was a good one. I'd recommend it too!
  11. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Tim,
    The wife and I discussed a couple of different options for meats. Caledonia farms in Barre, Mass has meats by the pound you can buy directly from them. They are one of the farms from eatwild.com. Another is Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, MA. They have a meat CSA with a few options the one that would suit us best would be 25+ pound option @ $7/lb. We go through 8 pounds of meat per week. A Csa that can acomodate this would cost $224 per month. Cestnut Farms includes beef, poultry and pork in every monthly pick up. Their next 6 month period begins in June. We'll go to Caledonia Farms next week for our meats. There are a few other options we can go with. I may have to plug in the freezer downstairs again if we'll be buying monthly and add the cost of running that in our budget.

    Thank you so much for the link! I hope this thread can help change someone's life for the better!
  12. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Another thought. Instead of giving the big companies breaks on safaty regulations the government should give incentives to farmers themselves. They should get help to process all the manure and turn it into a source of energy to run the farms. Some farms do this and are run mostly on the methane gas produced from the waste. The end product can be turned into fertilizer instead of being dumped into the environment. Natural fertilizer that would also benefit our world in the long run and the farmers themselves. Sounds like a win win situation.
  13. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    VCBurner - it may be different where you live, but most of the farmers here discount things ALOT if you buy in bulk - I suppose b/c you are committing to them raising an animal for you up front. We bought a whole hog this year (no pun intended, we went "whole hog"!) and the total cost per pound was $2.98/lb for a 167lb hanging weight hog. So that's about $500 which is a big cash outlay at one time, but if you can swing it (and have a chest freezer) it's very economical and will last us about a year (we really enjoy the pork and beef a lot, but don't eat meat every day so we can stretch it out). The beef winds up costing a bit more, but is still way cheaper than buying in smaller amounts - the last couple of years we got a 1/4 cow (mixed front 1/4 and back 1/4 - gives you a variety of cuts).

    Anyway, glad that you guys found some farms close to you. I really hope you enjoy the food as much as we have.

    Your idea about helping out the farmers makes way too much sense for our government - it seems that all of the guys making decisions at the FDA or Department of Agriculture are former employees of the big agri-businesses.... frustrating.
  14. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Farmers do use manure as fertilizer. It's not just dumped randomLEE in piles or out of the way places. The big farms are required to keep weather logs and times of when they spread. They also have setbacks from streams or low lying areas. The farm is the ultimate recycler in my eye.
    The big farms do get grants for methane cogeneration. The dried material is re used as bedding and the nutrient rich liquid is spread or ground injected.
    It takes a sheetload of manure to make it economical to set up digester/cogeneration infrastructure. I wood guess 400+ head of cattle worth of sheet.
  15. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Lee, why does it take a sheetload to be worthwhile? Why can't the system be designed for the amount of available product? I don't see why it wouldn't work on a samll scale. Back in the day, there were lots of small systems.
  16. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Generators, digesters, and infrastructure are less expensive the more KW involved. And, if involved with grants or susidies you can't cut corners. I suppose it could be done economicalLEE on a small scale with your own $ and surplus/used equipment.
    There is a big dairy in my town that has a system. They used to flare off excess gas. I could see the flare from my house. I've rarely seen it flaring in the last few years and I believe they are down on cattle #'s so I don't think it runs all the time.
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I like cohabitation too. I been co-habitating with my present woman for 18 years. Its the co-generating I am wondering about.
  18. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Hey Lee, thanks for responding.
    I'm glad there are grants being given to farmers for this sort of process. I don't know much about it, only what I saw on a TV show once. It seems to me that the FDA is more worried about allowing the big companies to cut corners than supplying farmers with what they need to make their businesses profitable. There may be grants but they may not be enough to really make this a profitable undertaking. I may live in Massachusetts but there are plenty of farms around the central part of the state where I live. I understand farmers use manure as fertilizer. However, it seems to me that those feed lots don't have one bit of green around them. They certainly don't need to fertilize anything on those industrial meat producing lots. Those are not farms with animals being raised for slaughter, they are more like a science fiction projects. I don't have anything against farmers or the people who are forced to run those feed lots. They are being taken advantage of by the big meat companies, who are the ones running the show. I'm not a stranger to poop! My yard was covered in it for about a year and a half, due to the 45 poultry we had free ranging in our property. We sold them last fall, but I will restart a laying flock as soon as I finish a coop in the back yard! This time they'll have a fenced in area so my kids can roll around the grass without having to worry about chicken and duck manure. On my street there are a few small flocks and some horses on neighbor's properties. My house was owned by a family who used to own all the land around here 100's of acres of cattle pasture. Now we live in our fossil fuel heated, super insulated houses and go to the super market for the antibiotic and growth hormone filled, ecoli riddled, ammonia bathed beef! Beef that comes from cows that live in dozens or hundreds in small fenced in lots as big as our lots. They no longer eat or even see any grass only corn. Corn that is controlled by other big companies with little concern for the farmers who grow it. It's just a bit ironic. We still just sit around and say we don't care about what other people do or eat! We should care where the general population's food comes from. The future of our kids and their kids depends on it! If this world just keeps going the way it is, with people not caring, imagine how much things will change for the worse in the NEXT thirty years! The last thirty years put an end to most family farms, I don't want to think of what the next thirty will do for our country and our world.
    Take care LEE and thank you for your insightful responses!
  19. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If you look at the numbers on a bag of fertilizer and then look at a bag of composted manure you start to realize why bags of chemicals are so popular. I'm not an organic farmer, but I do get composted manure and subsidize the nitrogen content with slow release fertilizer ect. There's a lot of money in sh*t, but you have to be a plumber. Stuffing pipes into the ground to collect methane is a good science project and is better than a total release into the atmosphere but no one's getting rich.
  20. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I guess eye combined the commune and poo thread ! Whoops! Sorry!
  21. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    VC , those feed/finish lots are just that. Those cattle aren't raised there. It's more of a collection yard where they are confined so as not to burn off fat/muscle and fed corn only for a short time before slaughter. Those cows are raised on farms and fed hay , corn silage and some grains. Not just straight corn.
  22. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    That used to be the case, but not anymore. A steer used to spend a maximum of 6 months at the feed lot, because after that their stomaches would start to rot out with bateria. The consequences of the high starch diet. After the pharma industry was done pumping us with as much antibiotics as we could hold, they went to the feedlot to see if they could help out. A steer is now able to survive 18 months at the feedlot, for the most part. The meat is full of water and fat so it weighs good but the cow is killed in the nick of time, put out of its misery for the most part because it would never survive past its two years.

    Just look at the way beef used to be packaged. It would come whole sides, dry aged and comparably lean to today's standards. Now its packed in its own blood and they call it "wet aged", all the time telling us how cheap it is when all we're paying for is water.
  23. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    How long is this finishing period?
  24. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, I posted my question about the finishing period before reading this other informative reply. Thanks again BTuser for answering my question and giving all the readers of this post more information most of us may not know.
    The process I was refering to involves more than pipes into the ground. I'm the wrong person to explain this thing. Because I know nothing but what I saw on a TV show as I mentioned. This was on Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. The farm had large storage cylindrical containers where they somehow extracted enough energy out of the methane to run a large portion of the operation on the farm. I think it was used to heat and even provide electricity. The farmer who Mike Row (the show host) visited, mentioned he saved a ton of money on energy bills by using this method. I wish someone more informed could comment on this and explain it a little better. Maybe I'll try to research it a little.

    Thanks again BTuser for the great reply.
  25. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Your right VC. Gas is collected in the tops of tanks domes or greenhouse type enclosures. The farm here has a heavy duty greenhouse type enclosure . I believe sunlight can also play a role in gas production by helping the bacteria to grow.
    I was talking to one of the workers on this farm about a month ago and he said the digester was shut down due to ph being off and not enough bacteria. They had to introduce some more of the bacteria. Don't know if they just get manure ( bacteria) from another farm or if they purchase the bugs. Pretty interesting technology.
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