As we were thinking about making the annual trek around the house to assess how the roof held up over the winter (which the calendar does say should be over), we came across Martin Grohman’s name. He’s the Biddeford-based director of sustainability for one of the country’s biggest roofing companies, and we wanted to know what that means. Read on to find out about the roots of his green life (his mother is pretty famous), what role recycled roof materials played in paving his driveway and what you can do to make your own roof a little greener.
GETTING THERE FROM HERE: Which came first, the interest in sustainability or the interest in roofs? Definitely the former for Grohman, who grew up in Carthage on a farm. And not just any farm. His mother is Joann Grohman, the author of “Keeping a Family Cow,” a mainstay of the homesteading community. When it first came out in 1975, it was self-published and called “The Cow Economy.” The idea was that a cow could provide the inputs for a self-contained and sustaining farm system. “We used to print it in the basement,” Martin Grohman said – for 12 years, while the family was simultaneously doing other print jobs like typesetting the earliest newsletters from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. “Then Scribner’s picked it up and we had a little run with it in the 1980s.” Chelsea Green republished the book in 2013. “We have sold about 60,000 copies. People all over the world have my mom’s book.” She, by the way, is 90, and still farming in Carthage.