Alcona Local Foods Association

 
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Meet the people who grow and produce your local* food.

For a wealth of information on hoop houses and growing extended season crops in them, go to Michigan State University’s hoop house website at: www.hoophouse.msu.edu  Included are links to a series of how-to videos for constructing passive solar hoop houses and growing extended-season crops in them, narrated by Adam Montri.

Other resources
 Manual: “High Tunnels: Using low-cost technology to increase yields, improve quality, and extend the season

Hoop House crop schedules for Michigan growers

 ATTRA” newsletter (April/May2009)   with valuable hoop house articles and additional resources.

 ALFA Hoop House

One of the key problems confronting food growers in our rural Northeast Michigan county is the short growing season.  Since its inception, ALFA has researched techniques for extending the growing season, with a focus on passive solar hoop houses (also known as “high tunnels”).  Under a grant awarded to ALFA by USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (“FMPP”) in September 2009, funding was received for eight passive solar hoop houses for training and assisting Alcona Farmers Market vendors to extend the local growing season by four months or more.

The first hoop house erected under the grant was the Harrisville Community Hoop House at the beautiful Harrisville Township Recreation area (foot of Lake Street in Harrisville). In June 2010 ALFA held a hoop house training build during which market vendors and other community members worked together to erect the community hoop house while gaining a valuable learning experience. The training build was led by Adam Montri of the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm, who has years of hoop house experience. Work groups of men and women, young and old, were formed to complete assigned tasks of driving ground posts, assembling bows, and fastening some of the hundreds of hardware connections. When the work groups came together for final raising of the bows, the scene resembled images of community barn-raising from years gone by. Under Adam’s leadership, the build was completed in a day and a half. 


Hoop House cropsBy September 2010, extended-season crops had been planted and were growing vigorously in the Harrisville community hoop house and vendor hoop houses – including carrots, beets, spinach, salad greens, and winter-hardy crops. The first extended-season crops from the hoop houses were offered by vendors at Alcona’s Farmers Market in late fall and early winter 2010.  For the first time, market shoppers were able to purchase fresh local salad greens, carrots, and other produce through early December 2010, and again in the early spring months of 2011.

 


ALFA
For more information, contact Kim Brittain
989-736-9532 Phone
brittainfamilyfarm@yahoo.com