Women-led non-profit, Just Roots, celebrates solar power installation

Womens History

Just Roots is living by example of moving towards more sustainable energy.

The Greenfield Community Farm at Just Roots hosted a celebration of the solar array that was installed last fall.

“Just Roots is super committed to being a farm that is deeply connected to the community here in Greenfield and Franklin County, and so being able to take it one step further and participating in deeper sustainable energy, and really bringing together a ton of partners,” said Just Roots Director of Farm Operations Meryl Latronica.

The 11-year-old organization is now led by three women who work together to use food and land to build connections in the community.

And in honor of Women’s History Month, 22News spotlights Jessica, Meryl, and Rochelle who lead the nonprofit to bring food equity to Franklin County.

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to work alongside other women leaders, we find ourselves working in community a lot in Franklin County with a number of powerful women and it’s something I feel really greatful for,” said Just Roots Associate Director Rochelle Bellin.

Together, Northampton’s Phippenadams Solar and Northeast Solar help nonprofits like Just Roots to have solar power.

Just Roots Executive Director Jessica O’Neill told 22News, “What I love most about how this whole thing happened was it’s about making things accessible to people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity, and so working with Just Roots over the years and us becoming a female-led organization is really powerful in and of itself as well.”

According to Northeast Solar, the Just Roots solar array produced more than three-megawatt hours in the last two months. That’s enough to power 100 homes for a day. 

“For the farm, they’ve got refrigerators, freezers, a whole bunch of stuff that needs power, so this is a pretty good size for them [at 9.2 kilowatts]. It doesn’t cover their entire electric bill, but a good portion of it,” said Rusty Ingold-Smith, a solar consultant at Northeast Solar.

State Representative Paul Mark of Peru told 22News, “This farm is all about sustainable, renewable community and I think that’s really important. As we look at what’s going on around the world, around the country, the more we can do locally, I think is a good thing.”

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