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Hoop House at Growing Hope

Cynthia Vanrenterghem and Benjamin Morse tour the Growing Hope Hoop House
<v ->Welcome back to this Teach Out on food sustainability.</v> We’re here in Ypsilanti, Michigan at Growing Hope. I’m here with Cynthia van Retterhen and we are gonna be walking through a Hoop House and kind of looking at what you have going on here. <v ->We have a lot going on here.</v> <v ->So this is not up and running yet,</v> but this is a brand new project that we did in partnership with the aquaponics club at University of Michigan, a student club, and they have built us an aquaponic system. It was delivered a few months ago and we’re just waiting for the season to start. So we will have plants growing up here and in down here, we’ll have fish.
I believe it’s gonna be tilapia and it will be a full enclosed system of growth and fertilization and returning back. And so they will be showing up soon and help it get up and running. And actually they have a program where they’ll maintain it for the whole year and then we’ll take it over. And we hope to find a special place for it, its own special greenhouse cause it will be just a great teaching tool and demonstration tool of what a hydroponic system looks like.
So we’re thrilled about that, but we are because we’re starting the growing season outside, we’re under construction, getting everything ready, but this part of the greenhouse or Hoop House has really been going nearly all winter. So you’ll see, we have newly seated, planted collard greens that have not shown up yet and some tatsoi, another delicious green and probably three, four days, we’ll start to see some things come out. <v ->Can you quickly tell me why are the beds raised?</v> Like are these pathways in between, kind of what is the structure of– <v ->So these are pathways to access</v> for weeding and harvesting. And all of these are actually… They’ll be removed soon as it continues to warm up.
So all winter long, we had… This is farther along obviously, it’s kale and it was covered up for additional protection for a number of months. It’s still able to grow, but just in January, when you really hit that deep cold, they need a little extra protection so they’re under these. <v ->So that’s to keep the heat in.</v> <v ->Keep the heat in and they’ll grow more slowly,</v> but as soon as the sun really starts to come out and warm things up, then we remove them. <v ->So we’re here in February or March in Michigan,</v> where it’s really cold outside, the sun can still penetrate through the greenhouse through this cloth and you can still grow directly in the ground.
<v ->And there’s actually really wonderful</v> Hoop House programs throughout Michigan and we’re seeing it in our year round farmer’s market where we’re having greens available all winter long. I just bought myself some really teeny brand new radish greens that were delicious. So yeah, we’ll continue to rotate. I mean, come back in a few months and everything will be to the ceiling and we’re even starting, like, those are to start to control some of our vines. But yeah, here’s a mustard which this has probably been harvested two or three times already, this mustard mix and it will be harvested again multiple times and then remixed into and let it sit for a little bit and then we’ll replant.
I am not the planter. Our farmer B Heir is phenomenal and really knows her stuff, but I love coming in here. I love working in here because there’s just always so much going on and so many new things to learn. <v ->So what are you gonna grow over here in this contraption?</v> It looks like you’re anticipating something will grow along this. <v ->So peas and we have actually new carrots.</v> So there are probably peas are gonna go down in here and you’ll see a bunch of new carrots coming in.
Those were not there a few days ago, but yeah, these will string up all the way and we’ll actually have row after row of this sort of stuff. All these where you see the strings hanging down, those will eventually hold more of these. So we have a lot of seasonal help and our new garden assistant just started on Monday. And so this place will be transformed soon. <v ->So this is an interesting use of space here.</v> It looks like kind of using companion planting with different varieties of plants that they can have a kind of a symbiotic relationship, so we can make the most of a very small sum it up.
Very, very cool. So this is amazing. This is a really wonderful operation. Obviously had a fairly large scale and this is getting me excited. Maybe one day at my house having a small greenhouse in the backyard. <v ->You would love it, you would love it.</v> It really extends the growing season. It’s wonderful to be in here in December and March. <v ->Well, thank you so much, Cynthia,</v> for this wonderful tour of the Hoop House here in Ypsilanti, Michigan at Growing Hope. And thank all of you for joining us in this great tour and we hope that you’ll consider planting a garden and maybe someday building a Hoop House of your own.

Cynthia Vanrenterghem gives a tour of the Growing Hope Hoop House in Ypsilanti, Michigan. We will learn about the crops grown at the hoop house and how year-round farmers can benefit from its features.

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Sustainable Food Teach-Out

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