Beyond Season Extension: High Tunnels for Season Creation and Economic, Community, and Environmental Sustainability

Project Overview

ENC12-134
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $75,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Tom Redfern
Rural Action

Annual Reports

Information Products

Commodities

  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, carrots, cauliflower, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), rutabagas, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms

Practices

  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, intercropping, multiple cropping, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, workshop, youth education, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, farm-to-institution, agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: cultural control, prevention, sanitation
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, partnerships, public participation, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks

    Abstract:

    Beyond Season Extension; Season Creation The Green Edge Model for Winter Growing

    The goal of Rural Action’s Project “Beyond Season Extension: High Tunnels for Season Creation and Economic, Community, and Environmental Sustainability” was to create stable, year round, agricultural production, income, and employment opportunities for Appalachian Ohio farms, increasing  local food availability and profitability.  This was accomplished by creating the Season Creation Professional Development Program as a way to provide Extension Educators, Natural Resource Conservationists and other agricultural educators with tool kit written and electronic materials a thorough look at a working replicable model of winter high tunnel production, and an opportunity to consult with experienced practitioners.  The project included a series of workshops to educate farmers, educators, and interested stakeholders on the “Season Creation” model of winter production created by Green Edge Organic Farm located in Amesville, OH. The teachers were the Farmers involved including the owners and experienced employees.  SARE funding was used by Rural Action to give the farmers the support and professional materials they needed to provide a high level educational experience.

    From 2012-2014 ten Season Creation Professional Development Program Trainings have been held. 206 participants attended including 100 farmers, 14 interested community members, and 92 educators. Among the educators were 14 NRCS employees, 14 OSU extension educators, 23 nonprofit staff members, and 4 AmeriCorps members. As a result of this project 50 farmers are now incorporating the Season Creation Model into their production strategies. 100 Educators are now sharing tool kits and knowledge of the Season Creation model as a viable method of year round production and have added trainings based on this model to their educational portfolio. This project has also created a supplemental income for Green Edge Garden as they are now equipped with the materials to continue offering trainings and workshops to the surrounding agricultural community. This will sustain the educational opportunity funded by SARE.

    Project objectives:

    Through this project Rural Action sought to train at least 80 individuals including educators, farmers, and interested community members in Green Edge Organic’s Season Creation model of year round production using high tunnels. This was achieved.  We created written materials, presentations, and toolkits that strengthened Green Edge Organic Gardens as educators in the community, and strengthened a broad regional community of interested stakeholders, including educators, farmers, and interested community members.

    • 206 individuals trained directly at the Season Creation workshops

      • 100 farmers attended and received training on the Season Creation model.
      • 92 Educators received the training and materials to thoughtfully educate on the season creation model.
      • 14 interested community members were educated on season creation as an aspect of our regions food system.
      • 12 farmers received direct consulting to increase production and profitability.
      • 7 NGO’s received production and marketing related consultation on grant funded high tunnel production and educational projects.
      • 2 school gardening projects received consultations on season extension techniques.
      • 1 OSU Extension Agent received a private tour and training with 6 clients.

    • Written materials/ toolkits

      • A branded Season Creation logo and theme.                                        
      • An evolving power point presentation available as a high quality print out, and in electronic form to all attendees. These were available in a basic and advanced form.
      • A folder of materials including printed hard copies both directly and indirectly related to the Green Edge Season Creation model.
      • A decorative Season Creation “Winter Planting and Harvesting Calendar.”
      • A wire bound 33 page manual “Season Creation; The Green Edge Model of Winter Growing.”
      • A decorative poster size farm map.

    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.