Sustaining Agriculture in Maine

For the past few weeks and for the next few I’m working as a contractor on an interesting project for the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society.

Thanks to a Maine Technology Institute grant, I’m part of a team doing research and a feasibility analysis “to plan for a one-acre greenhouse using a hybrid composite concrete framework, created at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center, and a flexible photovoltaic membrane to provide electricity and heat.”

I know a lot more about high tunnels, polycarbonate greenhouses and HAF systems than I ever expected to know! But it’s really fun to learn more about how our food is grown now (check out the Backyard Farms greenhouse tomatoes!) and could be in the future.

Really Efficient Electric Heating

One of the big differences between Japan and the United States is central heat. In short, the Japanese don’t have it. Instead of heating their buildings, they heat their bodies.

Here’s an interesting account of an American taking a Japanese approach to staying warm in the winter: “Micro heaters cut 87% off my electric heat bill

Our family just converted this year from heating oil to solar hot water and electric heat. We’ve taken some other steps to reduce our energy use, but despite living in Japan for a year, we still haven’t mastered the art of personal space heating. I’m looking forward to trying some new ideas to stay more comfortable using a lot less energy.

Continuing the Conversation

What I enjoyed the most about my campaign for state rep, and the five years of owning and running a store on Maine Street, were the conversations. Whether about backyard composting or rooftop solar, I find it endlessly fascinating to explore how we can lead Maine by personal example to a greener future.

So, I’m looking forward to continuing that conversation through this personal blog.

My main focus recently has been looking for interesting work. Hope to have some news on that front soon.

Here’s what else I’m up to:

Here are some Maine organizations that I think are doing important work:

I better stop there… I could keep going for a while!

The fact that there are so many organizations doing such great work here makes me all the more thankful to be writing this from Brunswick, Maine. We may not yet be completely enjoying the way life should be, but we can see it from here!