Location: Shutesbury, MA
Digester: HomeBiogas 4 (prefab) and outdoor kitchen
Started: Summer 2023
“Dragon” tender: Seasonal farm manager (and Zoe Weizenbaum)
**Funded by: American Farmland Trust, Regenerative Livestock Farming Grant
From http://www.ancientponiesfarm.com: “Ancient Ponies Farm is a small permaculture homestead in Shutesbury, MA. Here, mother-daughter pair Sharon and Zoe Weizenbaum have been working hard to realize a vision for their 13 acres in which the land both provides for their survival needs and is made healthier in the process. At the same time, they are eager to share the beauty of their home, animals and gardens with their community and hope that the site could provide an opportunity for others to learn about permaculture and what it means to live off the land. The farm is the link between healing ourselves and the earth. There is no separation between the health of all beings.”
Convert seasonal farm staff outdoor kitchen off propane and onto renewable, carbon-neutral biogas.
Convert waste-to-energy using ample horse manure, CSA trimmings, and kitchen scraps from a neighborhood cafe.
Use bio-fertilizer to accelerate horse manure and humanure piles.
Biogas workshops bring new people to the farm!
Biodigester creates learning opportunities for the community and for UMass students.
Early Summer 2023 was very rainy, cool and cloudy. This gave the biodigester a slow start. It was installed June 4th, inoculated June 13th, but then 3 weeks of cool, cloudy rain days with average daily temperatures below 70F ensued. Mid-July brought steady avg temps above 70F… and the beginning of gas production! By end of July, digester was in full production.
We are considering, a) further inoculation with pond muck, which will lower the temperature range of digestion, and b) installing a greenhouse around the digester.
**Funder: American Farmland Trust, Regenerative Livestock Farming Grant
This biodigestor was funded by the American Farmland Trust, as part of a larger regenerative livestock plan that gave Ancient Ponies Farm fencing and gates to implement rotational grazing for their horses, goats and sheep. The biogas project funding included a HomeBiogas 4 and accessories, site consultation, installation, and UMass-supported research into the use of bio-fertilizer on manure piles, fruit trees and grazing land.