U.S. grower saves money, earns awards
By Dave Harrison
April 4, 2011, Salinas, CA — Rocket Farms’ recent implementation of additional energy saving measures throughout its greenhouse facilities is estimated to save 305,256 therms per year – equal to removing 249 cars from the road or powering 616 homes for a year. The company’s greening measures include the following:
• Installing energy curtains to decrease the area that needs heated.
• Installing under-bench heating to take advantage of the natural upward movement of warm air.
• Installing rolling benches to increase the number of plants that can be grown in a set space.
• Installing drip irrigation where possible to conserve water and use only what is needed.
• Recycling 31.84 tons of cardboard and plastic in December alone.
• Building a greenhouse constructed almost completely from onsite recycled materials and using employees to assist with assembly
• Utilizing an integrated pest management (IPM) program to minimize the amount of pesticides used.
|Energy curtains have been installed.
PHOTOS COURTESY ROCKET FARMS
Rocket Farms’ energy savings have been recognized through Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Non-Residential New Construction Rebate Program, awarding the company with an incentive cheque worth over $280,000 for the amount of energy saved.
In addition to ongoing financial savings through the company’s decreased energy costs, energy saving measures will also lower the community’s carbon emissions and decrease the demand on California’s power grid.
|Drip irrigation is utilized.|
Rocket Farms is an ideal example of social and environmental sustainability and economic performance working together in supportive roles. Rocket Farms is the fourth largest greenhouse grower in the country and was a finalist for Greenhouse Grower’s Operation of the Year. The company provides year-round employment for 500 people throughout the Central Coast and is being honoured by the Monterey County Business Council with the Economic Vitality Award in the Agriculture category.
|Ready for retail.|
Rocket Farms, its parent company, Monterey Peninsula Horticulture, Inc., and its sister company, Growers Transplanting, Inc., have been part of the Salinas community since 1981.
Specializing in novelty orchids, poinsettias, organic and conventional herbs and vegetable plants and a variety of potted flowering ornaments, Rocket Farms products are available at local Farmers Markets, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Costco, and a number of other retail locations.
Despite its ongoing economic success and recent greening measures, Rocket Farms continues its regular pursuit of new and better ways of conducting business in an equitable and sustainable way.
Photos of Rocket Farms products and greenhouses can be seen at www.Flickr.com/Rocket_Farms.