Roadtrippin': Earth-friendly business at the end of the road

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MANLEY HOT SPRINGS, Alaska (KTUU) - Manley, a quiet town on the banks of the Tanana River, has long been known as a place to go to enjoy natural hot springs. But though that steaming water has attracted many visitors, it's also helped with unique business opportunities.

"You're visiting a geothermal farm that has committed to green energy development," said John Robert Dart, who the Roadtrippin' crew met Friday.

Dart's farm is at an elevation of about 410 feet, overlooking the Tanana River Valley, and is sprinkled with solar panels and sun-baked greenhouses. He's also working on building a large windmill to generate more home-grown power, but it's hot water extracted from a geothermal well that aids Dart as a grower, packer, and shipper of Alaska-grown produce from Manley Hot Springs all the way to Fairbanks and Anchorage.

"There's about a 40-acre footprint of geothermally disturbed soil," Dart said, "and that means that there's heat coming up from underneath, coming out of the well out of the geothermal well. And it's drinkable!"

Dart has been able to garden and successfully grow tons of crops, such as asparagus, peas, and beans, using terrace farming and his various green energy sources.

Take a mini tour of Dart-AM Farms with the Channel 2 Roadtrippin' crew by checking out the video above.

Video by photojournalist Ben Gauthier.