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Farming by Solar and Hydro Power

The Short Version

Over the years our commitment to Sustainability has been made apparent not only through our organic farming practices, but also with hydroelectric and solar power generation. This short video tells the story of our longstanding commitment to alternative energy:


The Long Version: Starting with Hydropower

In 1980, we converted an old dam structure on the Russian River into a hydroelectric power plant, providing electricity to some of the farm, and the surplus to the local utility. While this was a novel concept for most at the time, we were actually in good company at the North end of Powerhouse Road in Potter Valley. Aptly named, our mile and a half stretch of road once had four active hydroelectric plants, also known as powerhouses. The first one came online in 1908 in order to produce power for the City of Ukiah. This project required the diversion of water from the Eel River over the hill, through a mile-long tunnel, known as the Potter Valley Project. The water that flows through that tunnel continues South through the valley, on into Lake Mendocino and then down into Sonoma county, eventually flowing to the ocean near Jenner. But before it makes the journey south to the ocean it passed through our hydroelectric plant, helping to provide clean, renewable energy for our end of the valley.


< That's our Mom, Fontaine, and brother, Guinness Jr, checking out the construction of the powerhouse in 1980.
< And here it is today. Not only does it generate clean energy, but the Powerhouse also makes for an excellent swimming hole.


Adding Solar Power

In 2003, to continue on with a good thing, we installed 300 solar panels at the shop so that now, while still on the electric utility grid, the Farm is electrically self sustaining. Between our hydro and solar panels, we produce renewable, clean, green energy far beyond our needs, enough to provide power for the homes of over 100 additional families in our community.

< Here's a newspaper clipping from 2003, when our sister, Fontaine and our Uncle Tommy installed the panels. 
< And those same panels today - quietly, hard at work on our office building at the Farm.