Indiana High Tunnel Initiative: Developing Extension-Farmer Partnerships for Education

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $74,981.68
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Amy Thompson
Purdue Extension

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: artichokes, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, peppers, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, workshop
  • Pest Management: row covers (for pests)
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Purdue Cooperative Extension Service has Educators throughout Indiana's 92 counties. The background of these Extension Educators varies widely with very few having extensive education or experience with intensive horticulture production systems such as high tunnel. Producers in Indiana are responding to increasing demand for local foods and a more stable income by expanding their use of high tunnels. Educators, specialists and producers have identified high tunnels as an important area for increased awareness, knowledge and experience. In this project Extension Educators will learn from Producers, and Educator/Producer pairs will develop into effective teaching teams that provide educational programs to a wider circle of educators and producers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short-term outcomes for the project include increased Educator awareness and knowledge of high tunnel production opportunities and limitations, and increased Educator and producer collaborative teaching events and resource development.

    Intermediate outcomes include increased collaboration between Educators and producers on educational programs, increased number of programs, field days, publications and newsletter articles about high tunnels developed and presented, and increased Educator skills in guiding producers through decisions about high tunnel production.

    Long term outcomes include increased production
    and availability of locally grown foods and increase income and sustainability for high tunnel
    producers in Indiana.

    Outcomes will be achieved through the following activities:
    -Educators will learn by shadowing producers through all aspects of production Producers will gain skills as educators and Educators will gain knowledge and skills as they work together to develop publications, newsletter articles, attend educational programs, network and work with
    specialists, and host field days.
    -Educators and others not involved in the intensive partnerships will learn from their peers at a variety of events and will receive the new High Tunnel Resource Packet developed as part of this project.

    Evaluation measures achievement of outcomes including records of outputs such as participation, new articles, and publications. Change in Educator knowledge will be assessed at events. An outside evaluation will interview participants about their perception of Educators’ increased skills and knowledge.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.