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Netzero Farming in Below Freezing Weather

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

With seven Upstate New York counties under an early December declared snow emergency this year, Tongore Brook Farm was growing USDA Certified Organic crops for 25 stores and restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The netzero greenhouse was kept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit inside while it was below freezing outside, with geothermal wells providing heat energy. Plants were irrigated using recovered storm water. In addition our core-product soil-grown microgreens, we are also experimenting with industrial hemp, winter-grown lettuces, bitter greens, and herbs — all under supplemental LED lighting.

And the rewilded forest beyond provides carbon sequestration, animal habitat, firewood, mushroom logs, and maple products. The larger point here is, however, that all of this is achieved using only 10 percent of the energy that it would take in a conventional greenhouse, on 10 percent of the area that conventional field farming would require. We also serve area farms such as Gopal Farm in New Paltz, NY and High Falls Hemp in High Falls, NY by producing their crop starts, taking care of them from seed to field- ready transplants.

But here’s the rub: if you think of Tongore Brook Farm only as a farm unto itself, you are missing the forest for the trees… or the microgreens. We aim to be a model for farms in difficult climates, farms that aspire to four-season growing, local job creation, community building, soil-grown products and sustainable technologies.

Oh, and climate change mitigation. As we see it, as climate change affects more and more people agriculture will have to adapt, especially since farming has such vast impacts (up to 17 of the top 20) on carbon impacts that underlie climate change. And that gets us into climate resilient systems. In essence we want to be a productive impactful part of the future. We want to assist with four-season farm planning, sustainable technology-assisted greenhouse growing, and other “growing under cover” farming practices. Join us.

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