ASGA Teatime: Winning Hearts & Minds to Solar Graze a Suburban Retirement Community in Virginia

Grazing Kunekune pigs with your sheep to restore vegetation health on a rocky, unseeded solar site with poor fencing. Navigating the challenges of doing agriculture in a suburban setting. Making community members comfortable with sheep (cute pigs help). And convincing management of the value of solar grazing.

These are just a few snapshots of Winter Hartman’s journey to grazing a 7-acre solar array at the Village of Orchard Ridge retirement community in Winchester, VA. A first generation sheep farmer, Winter used creative strategies to convince the community to embrace sheep and to make the grazing work on this difficult site.

At our January Teatime, Winter recounted her story and talked about how she manages her sheep operation. She was joined by Conrad Gross from Energy Support Services who recruited Winter to graze the site using the ASGA map.

After Winter and Conrad shared their lessons from the experience, we had a great discussion with ASGA members about Winter’s approach to grazing, solar pigs, contracts and negotiating with site managers, and much more. Check out the replay for the full details

One of the best parts of the ASGA community is learning about all of the unique success stories solar graziers have. This was definitely a fun one to share. The recording is a great resource for graziers looking for examples of how others have made it work and an example of the positive impacts solar grazing can have on local communities. It also shows the different ways solar grazing can engage communities and the diversity of grazing opportunities.

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