Gardens of Solar Power and Sustainable Ecosystems

Mezzacello took a major step into the future this summer installing solar power systems with the help and guidance of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, the PAST Foundation and Amazon. From the point of inception in 2015 to the present all of the power needs of the systems at Mezzacello have come from the home. This meant extension cords and municipal power run through to power everything. The writing is on the wall; To be carbon neutral, replicable, and sustainable Mezzacello needed to be energy-neutral. This was only achievable through a grant and some elbow grease.

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello 1200 Watts of power installed and tied into an off-grid system housed within the livestock and storage sheds.

I refer to these as “Gardens” because like everything at Mezzacello they have to be planned, maintained, sustained and harvested. I have tried to carefully and thoughtfully integrate them into the surrounding ecosystems. This will be power for all of the robotics systems, cameras, sensors, pumps, and heaters — all of it will come directly from renewable sources. This is a necessity and a luxury.

During the summer when I was running the #UrbanAgTech Summer Camps here at Mezzacello, we lost power with AEP due to a transformer pole accident. Not a big deal, except that after 12 hours of no water from the pumps, no air in the ponds, no filtration, and no heat on vulnerable chicks from heat lamps, power became a very big deal. So we had to buy a generator. Then we built and grew an energy garden.

It is our belief here at Mezzacello that energy and food will soon become inextricable resources. We need to be better stewards of the environment so that we can maintain fresh food and water resources. The more we continue to ignore our ecological situation the worse it will get. Plants will STILL grow, but the atmosphere and more importantly the climate will not be able to support the plants we count on to live. Plants will adapt, but there is no guarantee they will serve as a reliable food source.

So I am growing power to grow the systems to support the ecosystems at Mezzacello. And thanks to the gracious help from the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, I can help others build the same into their gardens. For a brighter, more energetic and effective future.

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