HM.CLAUSE Creates a “Green” Greenhouse

HM.CLAUSE, Inc., a leader in the development, production and sale of vegetable seeds, announced that its recently completed, state-of-the-art greenhouse facility has qualified for more than $25,000 in energy rebates from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
Lincoln Moehle, HM.CLAUSE director of global research and development operations, and the project’s coordinator, met early on in the process with energy efficiency engineers from PG&E to discuss “green” design options.
“From the outset, we wanted to incorporate equipment and materials in the design of our Davis, California, greenhouse that could provide the kind of controlled environment required by our very specialized research program in the most energy efficient way possible,” Moehle explains.
The new greenhouse uses energy efficient glazing on the roof and walls, and heat curtains throughout the 14,200-square-foot facility. By working closely with the greenhouse provider and the local PG&E representative, Moehle says that they were able to optimize the design for efficiency.
“We used state-of-the-art hybrid cooling systems developed in Holland, energy efficient motors and control systems, plus high-efficiency glazing materials to accomplish our goal,” Moehle says. The annual energy savings is estimated by PG&E to be more than 22,500 therms and more than 24,700 kilowatt hours (kWh). In addition, the greenhouse is projected to relieve approximately 6.6 kWh of electric load off the grid.
The elements incorporated in the construction of the greenhouse met the criteria for PG&E’s Savings by Design program, which provides incentives for implementing energy efficiency measures that ultimately reduce energy costs throughout the lifetime of new construction projects
“We view this as a win-win situation all around — for our company, PG&E and the environment,” Moehle says. A rebate check in the amount of $25,426 was presented by PG&E and accepted by Lincoln Moehle at the 96th Annual Meeting of the California Farm Bureau Federation in Anaheim, California.

Collaboration Yields New Organic Sweet Corn Variety

“Who Gets Kissed?,” is the first in a series of organic, open-pollinated sweet corn being developed through a plant-breeding project led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Organic Seed Alliance. With yellow and white kernels, Who Gets Kissed? is named after a game played at old corn husking bees, when communities gathered to husk corn and dance.
“Who Gets Kissed? was not only bred under organic farming conditions, but organic farmers were equal partners in the breeding effort,” says Micaela Colley, OSA executive director. Minnesota farmer Martin Diffley couldn’t find an organic sweet corn variety with adequate vigor that tolerated his farm’s cool soils. He approached John Navazio, OSA’s senior scientist at the time, who put him in touch with UW-Madison sweet corn breeder Bill Tracy, who was already selecting for cool soil emergence in sweet corn, and a collaboration emerged.

“Innovative varieties with a dynamic process like this connect the dots and foster a deeper engagement in developing the food system of the future.”
— Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds

After nearly seven years of work, the project has led to a flavorful variety that yields well, tolerates cool soils and is resistant to common rust and corn smut. “Most of the sweet corn varieties that demonstrate similar traits are hybrids,” says graduate student Adrienne Shelton, a member of Tracy’s lab. “Hybrids are developed to be genetically uniform, where the ears are the same color and same size, and they mature at the same time. Who Gets Kissed? has similar traits, but was developed for organic growers who appreciate a more diverse, open-pollinated sweet corn.” This project was funded in part by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative.