City of Detroit - Wayne Co. Seasonal High Tunnel Educational Initiative
The City of Detroit - Wayne County Seasonal High Tunnel Educational Initiative aimed to improve the outlook for agricultural producers in the most urban area of Michigan. Working through funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the SRA provided workshops and technical assistance to local producers in an effort to extend the growing season and increase the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables in Detroit.
Since late 2009, NRCS has been leading a Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative (SHT) as a part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The EQIP program provides landowners with financial and technical assistance to conduct voluntary practices that will improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, energy conservation, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.
The SHT initiative brought this same financial and technical assistance to support installation and management of seasonal high tunnels or "hoop houses" in agricultural production. The use of high tunnels has been shown to produce many important benefits that could support both economic development and access to healthy food in the Detroit - Wayne County region, including:
- Extended growing season,
- Enhanced local food production,
- Lowered transportation burdens,
- Reduction of inputs of nutrients and/or pesticides,
- Improved product quality,
- Improved soil and air quality, and
- New business opportunities, particularly for new and limited-resource farmers.
Throughout 2014-2016, the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council) brought together the area's agricultural producers, local food advocates, and community organizations to build partnerships around this issue and will produce a series of educational materials to provide valuable information to local producers. In addition, the team conducted workshops to address the following:
- Production and marketing of crops grown in seasonal high tunnels,
- Installation of seasonal high tunnels, and
- Management and maintenance of seasonal high tunnels.
Starting in October, 2016, this effort will be expanded to the much of the rest of southeast Michigan.
Stay informed of news and workshop announcements for this project:
For more information about the seasonal high tunnels educational programming, please contact:
Jessica Simons, Project Coordinator, via email or phone at 517-851-2372
For more information about NRCS EQIP in southeastern Michigan, please contact:
NRCS Ann Arbor Service Center.
Please see our resources page for more helpful information.