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New farming structure to provide yearlong learning, growing

Posted on August 11, 2011

A new addition to the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) at Grand Valley State University will allow for yearlong, hands-on agriculture education.

The SAP Hoophouse will extend the growing season into the academic year so more classes can learn about sustainable agriculture and organic farming.

SAP Hoophouse ribbon-cutting ceremony; August 19, 3 p.m.
Luce Street, one-half mile west of 42nd Street, Allendale

“The hoophouse will be a tool that students from many disciplines can use,” said Levi Gardner, manager of SAP. “Extending the growing seasons into the academic year will allow more students to see the full growing cycle, from seed to product.”

Gardner said while a greenhouse produces a synthetic climate year-round, a hoophouse works in context with the seasons. He also said while a greenhouse relies on fossil fuels, a hoophouse relies solely on passive solar heating as well as crops selected for the seasons. Kale, spinach, beets and turnips will be grown this fall.

Grand Valley’s hoophouse will be 30 feet by 72 feet and will provide temperatures up to 10-15 degrees above the outdoor air temperature.

The hoophouse is a collaborative effort that includes support from the Farm Club student organization, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.



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