Sustainability Initiative Grant
18 October 2016
Elicia Whittlesey, Garden Manager and Beth LaShell, Old Fort Coordinator
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
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: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org