The first WEI hoophouse training funded by your donations through the Global Giving Challenge drew 100 active participants each day in our first WEI/Growing Power weekend training collaboration in 2010. That training helped us create our first aquaponics hoop house at Amador Hill. In 2011 the WEI/Growing Power weekend training helped us to construct our next hoop house, which will provide some early experimental growing space for several of our cultural heritage farmers at Amador Hill – including our Mexican peanut farmers, Hmong Elders or Indigenous farmers (See photo gallery below).
WEI expects that the next phase of our 100 Hoops Project will provide hands-on training onsite at several of our urban farming collaborations in the Twin Cities, beginning with several members of our Urban Community Food Justice Council (a joint USDA funded project between WEI and the Environmental Justice Advocates of MN) which includes at least four farming groups from each of the following organizations: Waite House Latino Farmers, Little Earth of United Tribes Urban Farm, Latino Peanut Farmers, Indigenous Peoples Heritage Farms, Association for Advancement of Hmong Women Farmers, Kwanzaa Church Farm, Hawthorne EcoVillage, and Ascension Church Farm, plus a tribal farm at Leech Lake. A new coalition in Phillips Neighborhood called the 24th St. Urban Farm Coalition brings together three of these urban farms in a cultural heritage/health and wellness corridor. This will likely be our next priority for hoop house building.
In addition WEI plans to begin to build smaller dedicated hoop houses on-site at Amador Hill for our cultural heritage farmers working on their own plots at the WEI farm. Given enough resources, we expect to have at least one of these to be in place in time for spring seeding and seedlings. All of these hoop house projects continue our first phase of this project proposal, as raising sufficient funding for construction materials and training continues to be a significant challenge in these economic times. WEI is absolutely determined that the training opportunities we have identified – particularly for youth, women, indigenous communities, and communities of color -- will become an integral and accredited part of this 100 hoops project as it goes forward in 2012. We are working with several colleges and university groups to develop that aspect so that career ladders into living wage “green jobs” can be built right along with the hoops!
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