PIQUA — A local farm and bed and breakfast participated in a national solar tour over the weekend.
Woods Walk Farm Bed and Breakfast, 9111 W. Miami-Shelby Road, Piqua, runs almost entirely on solar energy from panels on top of its barn.
“We put our solar in about three years ago,” said Mary Haldeman, who co-owns and operates Woods Walk Farm with her husband, Mark. They offered an open house over the weekend as part of a national solar tour to people who wanted to stop by and learn about their farm and how it runs.
The solar panels are a part of their larger goal of sustainability and being environmentally conscious, so they use almost no fossil fuels, grow the majority of their own food and utilize compost piles.
“We don’t want to leave a carbon footprint,” Haldeman said. “We grow about 80 percent of our food.”
Haldeman does not buy pre-made food. They also burn what trash they can in addition to creating compost piles and recycling other items, leaving them with only having to take out the trash twice a year.
The Haldemans also do not pay for other utilities, as Woods Walk Farm has its own well and septic tank. The Haldemans do utilize about a half a tank of propane each year to heat water for their showers and dishwater, but the rest of their property operates on the electricity generated by the solar panels. Their washer and dryer are also energy-efficient. The farm has a new commercial greenhouse, which is also going to be solar-powered.
“The solar is part of a bigger picture,” Haldeman said. She added, “It’s kind of a pattern of living.”
Reaching this point of sustainability has been a process, though. The couple purchased the property that became Woods Walk Farm in 1999, and they have just recently reached this point of sustainability. Haldeman explained that they began with their garden and growing their own food, saving on money at the grocery story. She added that the federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit, which she said goes through 2019, to property owners who utilize solar panels.
“Is it hard? Not really,” Haldeman said. “We lack nothing.”
Their farm, which also operates as a bed and breakfast, sits on 60 acres of land that includes 40 acres of woods with trails.
The farm also features 250 apple trees where customers can pick bushels themselves. They are also planting an area where customers can pick their own berries in the future.
“The bed and breakfast is to help people re-center,” Haldeman said.
She said that, while the world is currently living in an age of technology, there is a time and place for it, as well as “a time to put it down.”
For information about Woods Walk Farm Bed and Breakfast, visit woodswalkfarm.com or call 937-541-1105.
The National Solar Tour was sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society and Solar United Neighbors. The tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the United States. This year’s tour featured more than 600 sites in 48 states.
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