Founded as a small teaching farm and living classroom for local farmers and students, The Boreal Farm has been growing certified organic produce and flowers and raising pastured poultry in Rice Lake since 2017.
Despite growing a successful small business in recent years, one challenge the farm and others like it have faced is a lack of energy efficient food preservation and storage options for the perishable goods they produce.
Caroline Hegstrom, owner and operator of The Boreal Farm, believed clean energy could support this otherwise costly and energy intensive process with benefits that include monetary savings and a lower environmental footprint. She began exploring clean energy options for powering a new root cellar to help preserve the farm’s harvest at its peak.
“When I decided to install solar panels to power the root cellar as a cost saving measure, it felt as if I was pushed off a dock to learn to swim,” Hegstrom said, acknowledging how solar and clean energy technologies can be intimidating to those, like herself, who are new to the subject.
“The challenge isn’t just installing the system, but understanding design, load, troubleshooting and maintenance,” she said.