Monday, October 3, 2011

WOW - Power of the Pen

Well, a farmer/builder in our area happens to own a great cabin in the Mountains near Ashville, NC.  (See Ashville photos in earlier post). My wife and I really wanted to get away and knew that they sometimes rented their cabin to folks. When asked how much it would be the man told her he needed to think about it and would get back to her. 

When he called back with the answer it was this, "ask Mark to please add us in his newspaper article about the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour event. I have some new solar panels." That was the rental price! :-)

Well, we went to and returned from the long weekend in the mountains. The next weekend I went to interview him about this new project of his and then went home that night to write the 350 word article for our county newspaper.  Here is the interesting results:

- The article came out just before the annual county farm tour and even though it was raining, his farm got more business than ever.

- The Emmy award winning TV news station then came out and did an interview and segment on their nightly newscast.  WRAL News of Raleigh, NC.

- Our county newspaper did a full front page follow-up article with photos and State government officials present for the interview. Written by a real journalist - not just a fiction guy wanting to rock on a mountain porch and stare at trees. ;-)

- Now I hear that members of the Obama administration is visiting his farm. I will update you if this thing keeps growing.

So I know this man is an entrepreneur. But wow, now I know just how much creativity goes into business decisions. Someone like me would have just listed the cabin for $20 a night to cover power and whatever.

Click here to see RAY FAMILY FARMS

Clean Renewable Energy in Franklin County

I had the opportunity to start my discussion with Chad Ray of Ray Family Farms while he unloaded Snap Pea leaves where the chickens congregated. "Nothing wasted," he told me. I learned of his new plans to install a solar panel PV system atop his barn while riding with him as he tilled different areas of his farm. It would seem that Mr. Ray considers time as among the things not to be wasted.

Ray Family Farms is known locally for their many teaching programs. Interested folks learn to start with simple things such as fixing drafty houses, purchasing local food from where they live, minimizing short car trips into a few highly productive ones, having your own backyard chicken flock, and much more.

Recently the USDA, Farm Bureau, and the NC Tobacco trust fund worked together to make this dream of energy conservation a reality. He feels blessed to be living in North Carolina where grants are available for local farmers. He believes these improvements will not just help in his goals to maintain a local farm. It will also invest in the future of his community; creating local jobs, reinvesting in the local economy, creating clean renewable energy for the grid, and supporting a smaller environmental imprint for his farm within his community.

Ray said that he knows that his chosen direction in farming is not for everyone. He noted that at this time his unconventional farming incurs additional risk in an already risky business. But that makes his efforts so much more important for him. He wants others to know sustainable farming as a real viable option for them. And in his business every success is celebrated. That is one reason why they can’t wait for the installation of the new solar panels. And why they keep an open invitation for folks to come by the farm anytime. So if you come out for the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour, Sept. 17-18, be sure to stop by Ray Family Farms. He will sit still for crowds…I think.