Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The feeling we can rebuild our economy

Businesses that make greater investments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives see less risk in their stock prices during economic downturns, according to a new study from the University of Iowa. 

It turns out we might be on the right track! Buying from small businesses that have an environmental (yep, we built a 5.5 kw residential wind turbine) and social (Have you heard about our free drive in movies?) conscious might be good for our community's economic future too.

Is the cost of the turbine worth it? We'll post our experience over the last 3 years soon in responce. Below left: Gary Horton's Cattle Farm in Fancy Gap

Tom Largen beside his built-locally wind turbine

"The  difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the worlds problems" -Gandhi

We hope you'll consider stopping by our store. Even small purchases are meaningful to us. Try a carton of our Blue Ridge home-grown eggs. We'll accept your empty egg carton when you're back to visit -  it can be reused. How's that for... fork to farm? Subscribe! and you'll get our updates; like the coming-soon life-cycle impacts of our farm's beef and eggs! Read the story of our farm and learn where your pasture raised beef and eggs come from.

The images below were taken from a 2011 study published in the Renewable Energy Journal (pages 2785 - 2798) by Andrew N. Arnette and Christopher W. Zobel titled, "Spatial analysis of renewable energy potential in the greater southern Appalachian mountains." Researchers of Virginia Tech and Providence College, RI based on data collected by Appalachian State University.

This area they included in the study -

Greenhouse Gas pollution emissions for the region - coming almost totally from the combustion of fossil fuels - (All of these stay in our atmosphere and keep the planet warm - hence their name "greenhouse gasses". However, the last two - sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides - pose a serious threat not only to ecosystems in the form of acid rain but also to human health).


This has not scared me enough to stop driving my car. I have still turned on my air conditioning this summer. But I'm not opposed to looking at some good data (know about GIS?) to consider options I would buy into - because let's face it, we like power at the flip of a switch and we do not intend to stop using it anytime soon.

Here is the amount of sun power (that known amount of sun energy that reaches the earth's surface is known as insolation) and the wind power levels the region receives -

Don't jump to conclusions yet! There are many other considerations before making a rounded, calculated decision. The black area in the photo above "sufficient for wind development" also happens to be 94% forest land of the high Appalachian mountains, for example. What about birds and bats? There are implied development trade-offs: Homes and big wind-turbines do not co-exist - our future will face the decision of choosing one or the other.

Could wind turbines, as they provide money, allow a person to keep the land they would otherwise sell to housing developers? 

Don't forget to subscribe - we'll be posting our research on these questions + other fascinating stuff in the future. What do you think?

Captured this photo of our store in the sunlight from the east this morning -

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