By Jon Dinan
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS Green America, a non-profit environmental organization out of Washington, D.C., will be releasing the winners of its national Green People and Planet Award for green businesses on September 4th,
Root ’N Roost Farm of White Sulphur Springs is one of the finalists one of 10 businesses to be selected, out of 200 nominees, for the chance to win a $5,000 prize for its green business practices.
Established by Sean Zigmund, a Sullivan County native, and run by his fiancee, Cheyenne Miller, who is originally from New Zealand, Root ’N Roost Farm is a family owned, sustainable farm practicing permaculture-based farming methods, far different from traditional or organic farms.
“I like to think of [permaculture] as growing with nature rather than against it,” Zigmund said. “Too many gigantic agro-businesses are decimating land to grow just one crop. We are able to achieve much higher crop yields in a much smaller space by recycling, reusing, and using readily available resources.”
As for being organic, there’s a lengthy certification process involved in gaining the title. According to Zigmund a lot of it is “watered down and doesn’t mean much.” He insists his own farm goes above and beyond organic farm qualifications.
The farm prides itself on its meticulous conservation techniques. All the farm buildings and green houses on the property were made from recycled building materials. It features solar energy, water catchment for greenhouse irrigation, waste vegetable oil for fuel, a neighborhood and local business compost collection program (developed by Zigmund), and many other farming practices that minimize the impacts of fossil fuels, heavy machinery, and non-green building materials.
The two farmers do not own a tractor or even a rototiller. Instead they prefer to host interns and trade laborers to assist them in raising their farm fresh produce.
By using only hand tools, animals, and human power, Zigmund and Miller grow over four hundred varieties of perennial and annual plants. They also raise animals including ducks, chickens turkeys, game hens, and pigs, and have plans to raise goats, sheep, and rabbits next year.
This award nomination marks another major step forward in Root ’N Roost Farm’s mission to become a recognized community-oriented business and farm that focuses on a small carbon footprint, diversification, and sustainability.
The $5,000 award would be used for re-use construction materials for a glass greenhouse the couple plans to build off of their home, utilizing a wood-fired hot tub and radiant heating to heat garden beds that will grow tropical plants year-round, such as pineapples, bananas, coffee, and citrus.
“By minimizing our reliance on fossil fuels and petroleum products like pesticides and herbicides, we’re not only producing the healthiest food we can, we're eliminating our carbon footprint,” said Zigmund.
How to vote
Vote for Root ‘N Roost Farm for Green America’s Green People and Planet Award until September 4 via Green America's website: http://www.greenamerica.org/green-business-people-and-planet-award.
For additional information, contact Sean Zigmund at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-318-1438.