Fort Lewis College Sustainability

Past Recipents

Sustainability Initiative Grant Report

18 October 2016

Elicia Whittlesey, Garden Manager and Beth LaShell, Old Fort Coordinator

The Project: We requested $2500 to support the construction of a second large high tunnel at the Old Fort. This high tunnel will enable year-round food production, specifically to be sold to Sodexo and served in the campus dining hall, and sold at the campus farm stand throughout the winter. Because our existing high tunnel is devoted to pepper production in the summer, our ability to grow greens through the winter is limited due to overlapping pepper and green seasons.

We had hoped to have greens production happening in this hoophouse starting this fall. However, due to staffing limitations, it will be in cover crop over the winter with either pepper or greens production starting in the spring. This second high tunnel will allow us to increase greens production in our existing hoophouse this winter, since being able to put peppers in the new one will give us more flexibility in crop planning. The new hoophouse is already having a beneficial effect on moving toward year-round production even in projected spring plantings.

Project Update: We used $2000 of the grant to go toward trenching and installing water pipes to the new hoophouse location. The water is operational and ready to be connected to a drip irrigation system. The remaining $500 went toward materials necessary to construct the hoophouse. We had previously purchased the hoophouse itself, used, but some materials (boards, etc) were not reusable and the remaining SIG funds have gone toward these necessary supplies. In the spring, we will purchase and assemble the plastic covering and begin planting.

Though we have not yet grown crops in the new hoophouse, it has already had an educational component; our FLC interns (6 of them) were instrumental in laying the foundation over the summer, and learned many construction-related skills in doing so. In the fall, along with an FLC alumni, we have assembled the skeleton of the hoophouse; it is now almost ready for plastic. We’ve put in new, rich soil, some straw, and sown rye as a winter cover crop seed to improve soil health through the winter and early spring.

Contact Elicia Whittlesey and Beth LaShell with questions: ewwhittlesey@fortlewis.edu and lashell_b@fortlewis.edu

US Green Building Council Member seal Real Food Challenge seal