Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 14th September
Farming without diminishing the land – that’s the mission behind Acton-based Terra Firma Farm. The farm’s 65 acres, purchased by John Flood in 2008, originally consisted mostly of washed out hayfields. Over the years, John has slowly built the hayfields back up, acquired sheep and chickens locally, and is now focused on the idea of regenerative farming – increasing resilience to climate change, strengthening the health of the soil, and rebuilding organic matter.
At Terra Firma, this is accomplished in a variety of ways: they raise their chickens and sheep on rotating pastures, apply only compost and lime to the fields, and compost all waste, bedding, and manure, which then is put back onto the pastures. As a MOFGA-Certified Organic Farm, no other fertilizer is used. The farm also has a small orchard, bee colonies, and maple syrup production.
Another key aspect of their sustainability plan is their 16-kilowatt solar array, which was installed by ReVision in 2019. Their 50 rooftop solar panels are located on the North Barn, home to the farm’s numerous sheep in the winter.
(The South Barn is used during lambing season as a maternity area, and newborn lambs stay there for a couple months before starting their time in the pastures).
Terra Firma’s solar array produces over 19,000 kWh of clean electricity a year, offsetting 30,000 pounds of carbon – the equivalent to planting 230 trees. It directly offsets electricity used by the farm, and any excess energy goes to John’s house to power his two air source heat pumps for heating and cooling.
The farm is looking forward to expanding their clean energy usage in the future, with the purchase of an electric tractor.
“With the composted bedding and manure going back on the pasture – this is the foundation of ‘not diminishing the land’,” John explains, “The panels do the same but on a larger scale. We are looking forward to an electric tractor.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Terra Firma, or perhaps ordering some of their slow-grown, pasture-raised lamb or chicken, check out their website: https://www.terrafirmamainefarm.com/