Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's offers a 1:1 challenge - Every dollar you pledge today, Jerry will personally match up to $2500! Read Jerry's challenge to you in Update 6!
Limited number: Vermicompost-tea brewing kits (for your plants, not for you)
Check out our updates on compost heat tech systems! Click on the update tab above.
Compost in the Food System
We need local food and we need local inputs – like compost and renewable heat, to produce that food. Composting provides a wonderful mechanism for capturing locally generated nutrients, organic matter in food scraps (what you scrape from your cutting board and plate) and manures – recycling them back into soil for growing the next generations of crops. Compost helps build soil that is durable, resistant to erosion and disease, and grows crops that are healthy for you while mitigating the use of synthetic and mined fertilizers, toxic pesticides, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Innovating Compost Heat Recovery
Developing compost heat recovery at Highfields’ Compost Research and Education Facility is an effort to take a process that is fundamental to sustainable food and farm systems, composting, and develop new technology to yield a second value from the process – renewable energy in the form of recovered heat. With your support this system will advance this emerging technology and improve its effectiveness and efficiency, all the while bringing down the entry-level costs associated with it. In keeping with our organizational culture of appropriate technology for the people, we’ll make our understanding and designs of these systems available to everyone – ‘copy-lefting’ open-source designs.
Check out our open-source designs for a compost windrow turner here.
You will be investing in renewable energy innovation that you, farmers in your communities, and people across the globe can utilize and benefit from. This is technology and innovation by the people and for the people.
The process of composting generates tremendous amount of heat, which results from the biological activity occurring during composting, primarily bacterial metabolism of organic Carbon. A big fat handful of active compost contains a bacterial population much greater than the human population on earth. Those little buggers are living large in an environment we create just for them and they are so abundant that they produce body heat that collectively generates temperatures of 140º-160º F over a period of several months. We can harness that heat. Compost heat can be captured and transferred for heating water, greenhouses, barns, and other heat applications. But the technology is still very much in the early stages of development and we want to bring it much further along in order to popularize it and bring it to farms and other applications everywhere... maybe even your house.
Bill McKibben Endorses Us!
Friend and ally Bill McKibben – described by Time Magazine as the "World’s Best Journalist", author of Eaarth and so many other important books, and founder of 350.org – is pretty excited about the prospects of compost heat. Check out what Bill has to say about compost heat recovery and why he’s supporting the Highfields’ Kickstarter campaign.
Compost Research and Education
This effort is part of our larger effort to build a dynamic state-of-the-art compost research and education facility that will advance non-toxic, regenerative farming practices. Ultimately, we will need to raise over $550,000 – of which we have already raised half. If we can raise more than our goal of $40,000 for the heat recovery system, the additional funds will go to our broader facility development, which includes multiple approaches and scales of composting including turned windrows, aerated static piles, large scale vermicomposting (worm composting), small scale composting systems, livestock mortality composting, and most importantly, compost heat recovery. Interested? Learn more on the campaign or check out our Spring update.
Building Regenerative Systems from the Grassroots
Let’s talk straight for a minute. Ever wonder why it would seem that Cargill and Monsanto own and control the destiny of our global food system? Aside from their massive concentrations of wealth and strategically integrated organizational design – they are driving the ship through research and development. They know how to vertically integrate the food system. They invest in the development of new systems, technologies and methods.
Have a different vision of the future for you and your community? Want to create communities and food systems that are decentralized, self-sustaining, and ecologically and socially regenerating?
So do we.
If we are going to do it, we all need to invest in that future with the same level of self-interest and conviction that Cargill and Monsanto do in their future market share and profit centers. So, if the idea of creating stackable functions, like integrating nutrient and disease management on farms with renewable heat generation through composting sounds good, then help us invest in the R&D of the future: our communities.
The Fruit – Outcomes and Rewards
The final outcome of this effort will power our operations and help us offset the fossil energy we use to heat our worm parlor, site office, and shop each winter. As importantly it will be a functioning and actively used R&D system to advance compost heat recovery and turn out greater DIY designs and systems for you. This endeavor will allow us the ability to figure out how this system works the best possible way. Since we are developing a research system, unlike other Kickstarter projects that are producing products, our incentives don’t promise you a heat recovery system delivered to your door. We’re offering related, and practical, gifts that you will enjoy and benefit from today, while committing to providing on-going outcomes and benefits, like open-source designs and data from our research, going into the future. The real outcomes will ultimately be the benefits this technology will bring to sustaining local food production. When our heat recovery system is built and honed – our designs will be online for you to download and implement. The blueprints will be there so that you can build one into your growing operation; your home; your community center. Circle up and chip in however you can, get your friends involved, and together we can design the community and farm infrastructure of the future. Thank you for your support to this project – like all of Highfields’ work, we promise to stretch your investment as far as possible and keep delivering real outcomes that will be available to you and your community members as they develop.
Thank you so much for your support!
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