Producing Ground Cherries with a “Hillside Growing System” to increase production for selling fresh fruit and added value products.

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $23,648.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Pepper Berries Urban Farm & Agape Grow Education Center
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Christine Williams
Pepper Berries Urban Farm & Agape Grow Education Center

Information Products

RECIPES (Conference/Presentation Material)
Why Photonutrients (Book/Handbook)
Ground Cherry Hill System & information (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Fruits: berries (other)


  • Crop Production: Ground Cherry Hill System
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, land access, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: hillside slope conservation using a system to grow and perserve the soil.
  • Pest Management: mulches - general, mulching - vegetative, mulching - plastic
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, infrastructure analysis, quality of life, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration

    Proposal summary:

    Ground Cherries are one of our favorite fruits to grow and eat. They are very hard to harvest since they are a low growing bush. When ripe they drop to the ground.  This is a hard crop to harvest  for selling at markets or to turn into added value products.  We want to build a system to make harvesting easier on the grower/farmer.  This is a product that is rarely available at farmers market and never seen at stores.  It is a very nutritious fruit that is lacking availability due to back breaking harvesting methods.  The health benefits are numerous.  They are low calorie, low fat and no cholesterol.  They provide a good source of niacin (B3) and A & C.  Vitamin A is good for eye sight but also believed to help fight cancer.  Vitamin C protects against cold and flu, help lower our blood pressure and protects us against Parkinson disease.  The niacin (B3) in this fruit is well known for increasing the level of high density lipoprotein; HDL in our bodies, this helps reduce the incidence of heart disease.  The fruit also has an abundance of pectin which helps regulate blood sugar.





    Project objectives from proposal:


    • Build 6 hillside garden beds 2 per farm.
    • Built with landscape fabric, second with vinyl siding
    • Weigh harvest; sell fresh or added value products, record sales.
    • Have 1 tour, 1 workshop, 1 festival, 1 cooking demonstration
    • Write recipes, brochures and nutritional fact sheets
    • Decide design that worked and produced better.



    • Redesigned all 6 gardens to best outcome.
    • Promote “Hillside Garden System” sheet and nutritional information at 3 conferences.
    • Give 3 tours/workshops, 1 festival, 1 cooking demonstration.
    • Weigh all the harvest from each garden, record all sales.


    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.