August 2009 – Ervin and Gloria Meluleni
Coyote Hill Farm—Partnering with Nature
The dream that became Coyote Hill Farm began in 1979 when Ervin Meluleni bought 27 wooded acres in Bernardston.
Ervin and Gloria Meluleni were lab technicians in Boston during the week and worked on the acreage on weekends. At first, there were “land clearing parties” where friends joined in clearing the land in exchange for good food and comraderie. Next came planting the land and constructing a passive solar house using as many materials from the cleared land as possible. At the same time Ervin and Gloria trucked organic fruit and vegetables to customers in Boston. In 2003, the Melulenis moved to live and work on the farm full time. Since then, they have expanded the varieties of fruits and vegetables that they provide to members of their CSA, the Bernardston and Northfield farmer’s markets and Green Fields Market.
In 2005, they built a solar greenhouse with a wall of water-filled 55 gallon drums stacked to collect heat to grow crops even in the coldest winter months. The partnership with nature expanded in 2008 with the installation of photovoltaic (PV) cells to power the greenhouse.
Their farm is part of a total cycle where carbon goes back into the soil by farming organically and uses the sun to support the growth of their fruits and veggies. In the spring and fall, the PV cells provide most of their electricity. In the summer, the PV cells cut the cost of running the greenhouse fan considerably.
In the next few years, they plan to add chickens to eat bugs, fertilize the soil and provide eggs for consumption and sale. Also, they plan to buy thermal window coverings that will make their passive solar house even more efficient in the winter. Coyote Hill Farm and Mother Nature work together hand in hand, making them our July Green Heroes.