Home-Grown Building Material | Winnower Farm

For the Rabbitry at Hen and Hare Microfarm we’ve sourced straw from two local farmers, Winnower Farm being one of them. Had a chance to talk with Brendan Henry Olsworth in early September, just a day or two after he’d delivered his straw to Jessica Harrold. 

“We are a small diverse organic farm that ranges from medium scale grain production to seed production to grains and other fall crops, this is only my second year as Winnower Farms. I’ve been working on this farm actually for… this’ll be my fifth season. I used to work at Peaceful Belly and Fiddlers Green. (Right down the road). I’ve been working on this exact piece of ground for five years.”

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The Rabbitry at Hen & Hare Microfarm

Hen & Hare MicroFarm works to provide healthy food to Boise area community members in a number of ways, including cutting pesticides from their process. Jessica Harrold and her husband Ammon hired EarthCraft to build a rabbitry for her rabbit livestock. “It just fits in with what we be believe. It’s nice to be able to source it local too. We’re sourcing our straw from two different farmers,” said Harrold.

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The Straw Bale Plan In Action

Settling into a home in the North End, off 28th St., Theriault and Green struggle with one of the same challenges many do in Ada and Canyon Counties, the lack of available licensed childcare. They want to be able to be more involved in young Daniel’s early years, so they got creative. The family is working with the city’s recently updated zoning around additional dwelling units (ADUs).

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Mary K Johnson
(Rent vs Mortgage) - Energy Savings

The long-standing reason to “buy a home vs throw money away on rent” is full of new factors to consider. The challenges now are great, the path to home-ownership much different than it was just over 10 years ago, when this argument encouraged millions of people to buy a home.

The current median home price in Idaho is $255K. In 2018 Ada County home costs rose to a record breaking $314,000.

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Multi-Generational Straw Bale Homes

The costs of living continue to rise. There is a significant lack of available housing in the Boise area for lower income families and college-age young adults. For working families, where both parents are engaged daily in keeping a roof over their family’s heads, childcare is a challenge. Over 2,700 children in Ada County do not have access to licensed child care, second to Canyon County where 3,885 children are without available care according to an April 14th article in the Lewiston Tribune. Multi-generational homes are a way to address that gap proactively. Doing so can create a significant reduction in the annual cost of childcare ranging from $6,300-$7,296.

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Mary K Johnson
NetZero Starts with Passive Solar at EarthCraft Design/Build

Although there is a huge emphasis on active solar, EarthCraft focuses on “passive solar” cutting costs for the life of the home. Passive Solar is a no-brainer where you orient the house to the sun. It doesn’t cost a dime folks! Green building has economic advantages to you, all it is is orienting the house to the sun.

Our homes are designed to consume less energy to begin with, drastically reducing the need for active solar, and making the most of the many incentives for including those in home design.

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Financing and Straw Bale Construction

One of the most difficult aspects of building with straw bales may be finding money to finance the project. Conventional lending institutions do not like to take big risks when lending their money. This has plagued straw bale builders and our clients for years. In order to be successful at acquiring funding from conventional sources, it is important to understand the common reasons banks site when turning down loan applications for straw bale construction.

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Mary K Johnson