Project Lead:Barry Moore
At our 2008 Gathering of the Greens, held at the Edgewater Community Hall, we listening to leading edge speakers advocate a more healthy and energy conscious approach to growing our grains. Many ranchers and farmers up and down the valley from Golden to Creston are reinvigorating the old farm crops.
However, some components of the rising "Alternative Agriculture" are either missing or in need of rebuilding and possibly reinvention. Winnowers and Threshers and such smaller scale equipment have to be rebuilt and what is the point if, after all that effort, we still have a gasoline or diesel dependent propulsion unit?
Luckily, a few ranchers have quietly been returning to horse power over the past few years - but each have found problems with the old-time equipment that may be solvable with shared effort and communication.
Likewise, steam power has begun to re-enter the equation as a power source that can burn the waste straw, wood slabs, efficient, clean-burning wood pellets that appear as a by-product of farming and lumbering - both essential industries in the valleys the Columbia flows through.
There is even a small utility steam engine that reportedly gets 46% efficiency compared to the 25% sometimes achievable in internal combustion engines. These motors are quiet, clean and will run on almost any combustable.
How to get the word out, and get the developers and grass-roots alternative agriculture pioneers talking?
I propose a "Steam Horse Power Expo" here in this valley that still supports small farms and ranches and the largest irrigation flume left in Canada - and is under enormous pressure from realtors and developers for residential use. A Gathering of the Greens lecture, illustration and demonstration event may be able to bring the excitement and focus back to developments in finding power that frees Agriculture from fossil fuels - horse power and steam.
Our series of gatherings have been both popular and educational over the past several years, but the "Expos" will require regional, provincial and industrial co-operation to bring the inventors, restoration "pioneers" and the property owners and consumers (hate that word) together. This is the flash we need to ignite the charge that has been building, the need to change over from our captivity by fossil fuels.