Welcome to the CFAA’s Solar Powered Tractor page. This project is funded by a Michigan Energy Office’s Community Energy Project Grant. Additionally, countless hours of volunteer time (and extra needed funds) are donated by many of the Farm’s renewable energy enthusiasts.
“The Community Farm of Ann Arbor (CFAA) seeks to promote the health and well-being of its members, the community, and the environment we share…[The] CFAA demonstrates to the community at large the advantages of socially and environmentally responsible agriculture. CFAA provides a variety of educational programs, and serves as a living model of a community-supported sustainable small farm sharing the risks and bounty among all members”. (from the CFFA’s Mission Statement)
The Community Farm of Ann Arbor plans to minimize its reliance on non-renewable energy sources and release of fuel fumes and CO2 into the atmosphere. The purchase and conversion of a gasoline-powered tractor to electric, charged by the Photovoltaic panels, will reduce Farm’s need for fossil fuels, as well as decrease air pollution. It is logical and in agreement with CFAA’s core values that the Farm becomes fully self-reliant in terms of energy production, and demonstrates to others how to do the same. The tractor conversion is a major step, to be followed by many more.
We will educate and demonstrate the technology for 3 target audiences: local community members and schoolchildren, students and faculty in selected departments and organizations affiliated with University of Michigan, and Michigan State University, and other Michigan CSA model farms. (For a detailed listing of Michigan’s 55 CSA farms go to: http://www.csafarms.org/findacsares.asp.)
Though CFAA picked the tractor conversion as the focus of its first renewable energy project, the idea of converting farm equipment from non-renewable energy sources to solar and/or wind has many possible applications on this and other farms. Additional projects include conversion of electric water well to solar/wind, lighting premises with solar powered lights, powering electric fences, providing heat for seedling greenhouses, charging battery operated power tools, installing solar-assisted composting toilet, or running refrigerators and/or freezers on solar/wind power.
We also hope to inform and inspire all others who visit this webpage!