Monday, September 10, 2012

Hennepin County High Tunnel Workshop

I just received this information, and I wanted to share it right away for all my urban and rural farming friends. FYI, a polytunnel (also known as a polyhouse, hoop greenhouse or hoophouse, or high tunnel) is an above ground tunnel made of polyethylene, usually semi-circular, square or elongated in shape. Farmers use these to extend their growing seasons. Air warmed by the heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall, so farmers can plant earlier in spring and grow later into fall.

Hybrid hazelnut plants grow in this high tunnel in Nebraska. - Photo by Marie Flanagan
Save the Date for the Hennepin High Tunnel Workshop October 2nd
By Betsy Wieland, Agriculture Extension Educator in Hennepin County, U of M Extension

Minneapolis, Minn. (September 7, 2012) — High tunnel or hoop house fruit and vegetable production is a rapidly growing farming technique in Minnesota.  Thanks to increased consumer demand for local food and financial assistance from the USDA’s NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) EQIP program, new high tunnels are being installed across the state and country.  The workshop will take place October 2, 2012 from 9am to 4pm in Greenfield, MN at Knapton’s Rasberries, Pumpkins, and Orchard and will give new growers a solid foundation and provide helpful information to current high tunnel growers. The workshop is being offered by the  U of M Extension Hennepin County in partnership with the USDA-NRCS in Hennepin County. 

The day will be split into two parts, with the morning session focusing on getting started with high tunnels.  Topics will include: selecting the right structure and location, crop and variety selection, production techniques and tips, and understanding the EQIP program and how to get funding.  The afternoon session will focus on keeping your Seasonal High Tunnel productive over time covering topics of: soil fertility management, pest management, crop rotation, and structure maintenance.  Speakers for both sessions will include University specialists, industry representatives, USDA NRCS staff, and high tunnel growers. 

People can choose to attend the morning session, the afternoon session, or stay all day.  The cost is $15 for the morning or afternoon session, and $20 to stay all day.  Lunch and tour of the farm from 12:15-1pm is included in all options.

Registration information will follow soon.  For more information, contact Betsy Wieland at 612-596-1175 or

[where: Sustainable Food, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minnesota]

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