Wednesday, February 3, 2010


For anyone who lives in a climate that experiences seasons — hello, Virginia, sorry southern California — then it's not hard to imagine the value of having an insulated hoop house as part of your farm operation.

These greenhouse-like structures allow farmers to extend the growing season on both ends — earlier into spring and later into fall and winter.  This can help farmers get a steady stream of income throughout the year which is a significant advantage to owners of small farms, limited-resource farmers and organic producers.

That's why it's exciting to hear that Virginia is part of a new pilot program being run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service that will provide funding for farmers to establish high tunnels to increase the availability of locally grown produce in a conservation-friendly way.

This pilot will test the potential conservation benefits of growing crops under these structures, and participating farms can receive funding for one high tunnel.

Local farmers who would like to sign-up for the high tunnel pilot should call or visit the NRCS office at a local USDA service center. USDA service center locations are listed on-line at

image credit: Chewonki Semester School/Creative Commons

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