Hoop House Benefits Local Farmers, NMU

A new passive solar greenhouse—or “hoop house”—has been erected in the grassy field west of the Jacobetti Center. The project will help local, small farms explore options to build new markets, extend the growing season and build more demand for their products. It also provides an academic benefit for NMU. The university will be able to use the hoop house to teach students about sustainable gardening and potentially for research in such areas as biology, chemistry, geography and alternative energy.

Opportunities also exist for NMU’s technology and occupational sciences department to design and construct a support system for the hoop house, such as rain collection systems for irrigation and a wind/solar generation system for power. Produce grown inside might even be used by the university's dining services or culinary arts program.

NMU is collaborating with Northern Initiatives and the Marquette Food Cooperative on the project, with support from the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corp.  Northern Initiatives purchased the hoop house, which measures 22 feet by 48 feet. NMU facilities staff completed the soil and site preparation.

"The Marquette Food Co-op is currently amending the soil to make it more fertile," said Jim Thams (Facilities). "They plan on completing that this fall and planting a winter crop such as winter wheat. In the spring, this

will be tilled under again to provide more nutrients in the soil. Next spring, they will start planting harvestable crops in there."

NMU construction management students also played a critical role in the project and constructed the hoop house in early October. They will install plastic sheeting to cover the structure as soon as the weather cooperates.


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Updated: October 15, 2009

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