Catching up: John Vrieze’s dairy gets greener by growing greens

John Vrieze has been busy since he was featured in the spring 2009 issue of Grow Magazine. That article described how the CALS board of visitors member (now emeritus) was using manure from his dairy to produce natural gas. That’s just the beginning of his sustainability efforts, as this video illustrates. On Vrieze’s Future Farms, methane generated from the dairy fuels a 27,000-sq. ft. greenhouse, where he uses aquaponics to grow fish, lettuce, and herbs. “I had a lot of help from the University of Wisconsin in Madison,” he says in the video. Vrieze was a major driver in getting UW-Extension’s Green Cheese Project off the ground, notes Doug Reinemann, UW-Madison professor of biological systems engineering. Green Cheese focuses on reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts of dairying.