Southeast Green - Business depends on the environment and the environment depends on business

Chad Ray | Stories of Solar

Ray should know. Not only does he raise cattle and poultry on his farm in Bunn, North Carolina, he also runs an on-farm market, welcomes the public for tours, and hosts 85 kids a week from the local 4H club.“I’ve never met a farmer that didn't dream of only farming,” Ray says. “But I've never met many that only farm. You just can't make a living doing that.”

Ray should know. Not only does he raise cattle and poultry on his farm in Bunn, North Carolina, he also runs an on-farm market, welcomes the public for tours, and hosts 85 kids a week from the local 4H club.

Then he has his second job.

In addition to running Ray Family Farms, Ray and his family run a green home construction company.

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Amory Fischer and Elinor Glassco | Stories of Solar

Amory Fischer can’t hide his bright smile when he speaks about solar energy. And, rightfully so: he’s a former student at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, who helped to found the Solar Schools Initiative.Amory Fischer can’t hide his bright smile when he speaks about solar energy. And, rightfully so: he’s a former student at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, who helped to found the Solar Schools Initiative.

Growing up in the Piedmont region and in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, for Fischer, doing his part to preserve the environment is second-nature.

“Hiking trips and going canoeing: that’s what gave me a deep respect for the natural world,” he recalls.

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Chuck Jay | Stories of Solar

After spending nearly three decades underground working in the coal mines, Chuck Jay’s new career as a solar installer may seem like a leap.After spending nearly three decades underground working in the coal mines, Chuck Jay’s new career as a solar installer may seem like a leap. And it IS a leap, of sorts—from underground to rooftops. But Jay says the two industries have more in common than you’d think.

“Coal and solar are both resources that are naturally produced. Good Lord made them both, you know?”

And yet, Jay—a self-described “solar geek”—can see that the coal industry is facing falling profits and layoffs, while the solar industry is surging. Eventually, Jay says, solar “may take over the power industry.”

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Renee Westmoreland | Stories of Solar

If you were to watch Renee Westmoreland lead her flock of sheep across a pasture, you might assume she had always been a farmer.If you were to watch Renee Westmoreland lead her flock of sheep across a pasture, you might assume she had always been a farmer. But, in fact, she’s been a North Carolina probation officer for 20 years. Her husband Kevin, meanwhile, has spent his career as a Mount Airy police officer, and will be retiring in 2 years. But together with their two teenage sons—14-year old Colt and 17-year old Reese—the Westmorelands have gradually evolved into a bona fide farming family.

“The best thing about it is that we all get to go do it together,” Renee says, smiling.

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Reverend Daniel Dice | Stories of Solar

When Reverend Daniel Dice became priest-in-charge at St. Timothy’s three years ago, he was hoping to breathe some new life into the congregation. When Reverend Daniel Dice became priest-in-charge at St. Timothy’s three years ago, he was hoping to breathe some new life into the congregation. Situated in a residential neighborhood in Decatur, Georgia, the 118-year old Episcopal church serves about a hundred parishioners, mostly African American and Caribbean.

“This congregation has been here for a long time,” Reverend Dice explains. “And we have a lot of loyal parishioners who are interested in finding new ways of reaching out to the community.”

For inspiration on how to help them do that, Dice looked skyward—not just to the heavens, but also to the sloped roof of the white-brick church.

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Will Harris | Stories of Solar

Think “solar farm,” and rows and rows of black photovoltaic panels stretching out in waves across a sun-baked field may come to mind. But for White Oak Pastures owner Will Harris, a “solar farm” has an entirely different meaning.Think “solar farm,” and rows and rows of black photovoltaic panels stretching out in waves across a sun-baked field may come to mind. But for White Oak Pastures owner Will Harris, a “solar farm” has an entirely different meaning.

“Well, I would argue that my farm is a solar farm,” he says. “Every inch of my farm is covered with photosynthesizing material.”

He’s talking, of course, about plants, not panels. White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia (about 3 hours south of Atlanta) is filled with small forests and pastureland. The lush, warm season perennial grasses that grow there are the primary food source for five, pasture-raised red meat species that roam the 2,500 acre property.

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