How Butter Gritty Powers a Farm as Renewable Energy in his Next Life
Swoop, Steely McBeam, and Gritty may have taken center stage at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show, but they’re now making strides and scoring touchdowns in the sustainability game.
Philadelphia Eagles’ Swoop, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steely McBeam & Philadelphia Flyers’ Gritty stole the show as butter sculptures at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show. The beloved mascots were featured in the “East Meets West” dairy tailgate party.
Although the show has ended, the butter mascots were reincarnated into a sustainable second life.
Scoring touchdowns in the sustainable farm fields.
The butter sculptures were made possible from a donation of 1,000 pounds of butter from the Land O’ Lakes plant in Carlisle. But after the farm show, where would 1,000 pounds of butter go?
Fourteen Dauphin County students disassembled the butter sculptures. You can watch the deconstruction of Gritty here:
Next, the butter will be shipped to Reinford Farms, where it will be placed in the farm’s methane digester and converted into renewable energy to support the dairy farm.
Located in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, the farm has been converting food waste from the Pennsylvania Farm Show for the past six years.
The idea for converting food waste into energy started in 2008 when Reinford Farms constructed its first anaerobic digester. Reinford describes the anaerobic digester as a biological process. The process consists of heating butter and manure and stirring the material for thirty days as bacteria eat the organic material as it sits in the digester. There, the bacteria help release methane gas, which powers and heats the farm. Brett Reinford, the farm representative from Reinford Farms, states that the one-thousand-pound sculptures will produce enough butter to power 1.6 homes for one month.
Since building their anaerobic digester in 2008, the farm has managed to convert 55,000 of food waste. Now they’re building another digester that would convert enough energy to power 600 homes. The new digester will separate non-recyclables out of the food waste, as well as separate liquids and packaged food waste into different compartments.
Brett Reinford describes their participation in recycling as “a wonderful way to showcase Pennsylvania agriculture and what we can do for the environment.”
Pennsylvania’s mascots may not be gracing the stage at the farm show anymore, but they’re now playing a role in something bigger than scoring a touchdown: discovering sustainable farm methods.