- Crop Production: continuous cropping, cover crops, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, season extension types and construction
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, social networks
With short growing seasons, utilizing high tunnels for season extension can be a sustainable strategy to increase farm profit and yield. However, despite proven merits, many immigrant farmers are slow to adopt the use of high tunnels. Language barriers, in addition to lack of time and access to resource networks makes adoption of high tunnels difficult and risky. Sustainability relies on equitable distribution of knowledge and resources and yet for many immigrant farmers, classroom settings, paper handouts, or information on a website are not viable means toward lasting changes in farm practices.
Through a hands-on peer-learning format that pairs ag professionals, university researchers, NRCS staff, and immigrant farm leaders, this project will establish replicable methods of effectively engaging immigrant farmers while also increasing the knowledge and adoption of financially and environmentally sustainable practices. This project will conduct hands-on field days and workshops at demonstration/research five sites (3 farms, 1 university and 1 non-profit food hub) to highlight the use of high tunnels and cover crops, document change in profit and showcase best practices to help encourage more immigrant farmers incorporate high tunnels and cover crops in their farm systems.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project will:
- Conduct high tunnel research (production and economic data) at 5 sites – measuring harvest times, yield amounts, labor inputs, total profit, soil health, etc.
- Conduct cover crop demonstrations at five sites.
- Host demonstration field days at three partner farms.
- Create high tunnel resources in Hmong and Spanish with input from farmers.
- Hold six hands-on workshops at TGA and UMN demonstration high tunnel plots
- Partner with NRCS to individually sign up farmers for EQIP high tunnel funding.
- Develop replicable immigrant farm engagement strategies that involve peer-learning and hands-on workshops.