Ruth Klahsen knows how to make cheese. The former chef has been churning out high-end artisanal goudas and halloumis to great acclaim since she purchased Monforte Dairy in Stratford, Ont., 10 years ago.
But it’s the procurement of another type of cheese, that of the pecuniary variety, which has proved more of a challenge.
A keen environmentalist, Ms. Klahsen wishes to mount a sustainability project that would allow her to recycle the waste water from her cheese production. She estimates that the project, which involves the cultivation and maintenance of algae-filled ponds to clean the water organically, would require $100,000 just to get off the ground.
Despite financial uncertainty, Ms. Klahsen has worked for the past three years with Dio Nkurunziza, an environmental practitioner and researcher on microalgae, to plan a system that would pump the dairy’s daily wastewater into one of the three man-made algae ponds.
Based on Mr. Nkurunziza’s research, the algae would absorb environmental pollutants, including whey runoff from the cheese and chlorine and benzyl compounds used as disinfectants to clean the equipment, also restoring the water to a healthy pH balance in the process. Longer term plans include selling the algae for profit. Once returned to a potable state, the water could be used for the dairy production and to maintain the vegetables Ms. Klahsen grows on her land.
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(Photo ©2013 VisitStratford.ca)
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