R.I. Awards First Energy Grants to Three Farms

By ecoRI News staff

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council and the state Office of Energy Resources, recently awarded $52,245 in grant awards to help three local farms reduce climate emissions and save money on their energy costs.

The awards, provided through the new Rhode Island Farm Energy Program, support energy-efficiency projects and help farmers transition to renewable power.

The following projects were awarded funding:

Harmony Hills Farm, Glocester ($19,047)
Installation of a 10.92-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that will be used to power a farm manufacturing facility that produces assorted jams and pickles.

Pat's Pastured, East Greenwich ($18,268)
Upgrades to the refrigeration/freezer system that is used to store meats produced by the farm.

Red Planet Vegetable Farm, Johnston ($14,930)
Installation of a 3.78-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that will power a 5-acre farm that grows organic vegetables.

Funding for the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program is made possible through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. For the initial grant round, awards up to $20,000 were considered. Rhode Island is one of few states where the number of farms is on the rise, according to DEM. There are more than 1,200 farms in Rhode Island — an increase of 44 percent from 2002.