SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramblers Oct 17

Floyd Musicians, Artist and Farmer Welcome Site Visitors!

Musicians play powered by the SustainFloyd Solar Voltzwagon.
Musicians play powered by the SustainFloyd Solar Voltzwagon.

Floyd County is known for its music, art, beautiful farms and sustainable living.  Last year, Floyd was the site for SustainFloyd’s popular Tiny House Tour.  So when the community group decided to invite the public to a solar home tour this Saturday ranging across the County, it only made sense to include some of the area’s best known musicians, an artist and a farmer who have all gone solar.

The SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramble, a self-guided walking and driving tour, kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday and goes all day until 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at, at the SustainFloyd office in The Station on Thursday and at the Floyd Farmers Market on Saturday morning.  Students and children may attend free.

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Twelve solar-powered homes, businesses and The Bright Farm will welcome Ramblers. Among the homes is the picturesque farmhouse of Old-Time musicians Mac and Jenny Traynham.  The Traynhams went solar last spring and Mac says the pole-mounted solar panels help power their home and augment the electricity he uses in his workshop to craft beautiful banjos.

Jenny Traynham notes the new solar power system has made a huge difference in their monthly bill.  “Since May, our house and woodworking shop have been powered by solar energy, reducing our electric bills by roughly 90%,” she will tell tour-goers.  “We’ve enjoyed the feeling of knowing we’ve reduced our use of electricity from conventional sources, doing something positive for the environment.”

Activist lawyer Alan Graf plays in the popular electric rock band, “The Commons.” The downtown Floyd solar-powered home in which he and Eleanor Ingram live will be on the SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramble.  Graf says, “Our music is geared towards raising consciousness and awareness about taking care of our planet and our resources. Solar power is the way to go and has allowed us to reduce our summer electric bill to about $13 a month.”

Floyd artist Robin Woodruff encourages living an affirmative, creative life.  She and husband, William (Woody) Woodruff, a computer programmer used his drone to take a spectacular photo of themselves atop their Floyd split-level house, amid roof-mounted solar panels. Beautiful works by Robin Woodruff will be on display for purchase by Solar Home Ramblers, and the Woodruffs’ talented son, actor Cameron Woodruff, will greet visitors and provide information.

Larry and Debby Bright, owners of The Bright Farm, one of Floyd’s most scenic and successful farms, produce delicious sausage from pastured pork. They also raise pastured chickens, turkey and beef.  Solar Home Ramblers will likely see hogs enjoying the good life, turkeys wandering freely and a large array of solar panels sitting amid wildflowers.

Two features of the SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramble will be guided tours of the solar-powered Village Green in downtown Floyd at 11:30 a.m. and the Floyd EcoVillage at 2:30 p.m. Solar Home Ramblers may explore these two sites on their own throughout the day, too.

At 4:30 p.m. Solar Home Ramblers will end their day at a free reception at the solar-powered Floyd EcoVillage featuring complimentary appetizers, a cash bar and remarks by Radford University Professor Bill Kovarik.  Kavarik, who has written extensively about environmental and energy issues for publications ranging from the New York Times to the Earth Island Journal, will discuss the rapid growth of solar energy due to cheaper panels, faster installation and creative financing.

Billy Weitzenfeld, the Executive Director of the Floyd-based Association of Energy Conservation Professionals will also talk about how the “Solarize” grassroots movement is changing the renewable energy landscape.

The SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramble is sponsored by the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP); Riverstone Organic Farm; Solshine Energy Alternatives, LLC; Affordable Energy Concepts; Direct Connect Solar & Electric; and Wall Residences.

SustainFloyd is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization that aims to localize the economy; enhance and protect natural and cultural resources; develop robust local food systems; and advance issues related to energy independence, access to markets, transportation, recycling and education.


What:     SustainFloyd Solar Home Ramble: a self-guided tour of solar homes and buildings throughout Floyd County. Reception to follow

When:    10 a.m.-4 p.m. for self-guided touring.  Includes guided tour @ 11:30 am of The Village Green and @ 2:30 p.m. of Floyd EcoVillage.

Where:   Homes and buildings throughout Floyd County-map provided.  Rain or Shine!  Free reception: 4:30 p.m.-Floyd EcoVillage

How:       Tickets and map:  $15/adults at,  SustainFloyd office @ The Station-203 S. Locust St., Suite H; Farmers Market.  Students and children attend free.

Press release by Becky Pomponio for local and regional media.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Need I remind you, if you’re waffling on this event–and especially if you’re from off-mountain: a trip up to Floyd this weekend will provide some pretty dazzling fall colors across the county as you drive from one site to the next. The travel will be a pleasant appetizer for the destinations!