One Children’s Home of Hope
Montchevré president Arnaud Solandt knew that he wanted to do something to help when his daughter Emilie set out across the Atlantic to volunteer in the Children’s Home of Hope Orphanage in Asebu, Ghana. The orphanage is home to about 25 children from age 2 to 16, where they work hard to maintain their home and take care of one another. Arnaud decided to sponsor the orphanage by purchasing 20 goats and building a barn outside of their home. Emilie’s experience was eye-opening: “The goat barn has done so much for these incredible children. It has taught them more about responsibility and has given the house a good source of nutrition and income. Plus the kids have so much fun taking care of their goats!” The goat barn has been up and running for over a year now and is becoming an even greater asset to the orphanage. In addition to the goat barn, Montchevré has provided the orphanage with basic infrastructure improvements by providing running water, electricity, and a new bathroom facility. Currently, we are working on an extension to the home which will serve as a clinic for children who are battling HIV and AIDS. We are honored to be affiliated with such a great organization that shares our vision to help children in need.
As the largest goat cheese manufacturer in the United States, Montchevré converts 85 million pounds of goat milk into 12 million pounds of cheese each year. A consequence of this high production volume is the 35 million pounds of waste-water that must be hauled off-site for land application (16 truckloads per day). Arnaud Solandt (the president of Montchevré) and Jean Rossard (vice president) established the platform for Montchevré’s green initiative. Together they dedicate their time to research more environmentally friendly ways to treat Montchevré’s industrial waste.
The Anaerobic Digester
Since 2007, Montchevré has been working in partnership with Procorp Engineering and Alliant Energy to create a system that would transform our industrial waste—more specifically, water waste—into energy. Following the inauguration of our anaerobic digester on October 8, 2010 Montchevré became the first goat cheese manufacturer in the United States to use this type of waste-water treatment. The 600,000 gallon capacity digester uses microscopic organisms to break treated waste-water into carbon dioxide, methane and cell biomass. During the process, the electrical generator burns the methane (biogas) to produce up to 335 kW of electricity per hour; enough to power 200 homes in the area. The $3.5 million project has been extremely gratifying for Montchevré and has served to strengthen our commitment to sustainable energy production and community outreach.
This is a win-win situation! said State Representative Steve Hilgenberg, whose 51st Assembly District includes Belmont. This project creates jobs and protects the environment; it also showcases our ability to look into the future while [living] in the present.