Women's Environmental Institute Update on Hoops House Project
WEI continues its collaboration with Will Allen and his Growing Power, Inc. team to build hoop houses in the Twin Cities. Since hoop houses in Minnesota are able to significantly extend the growing season in this state, this project remains an important program for ongoing development in the spring and fall of each year.
For spring 2013, WEI is in need of additional resources to assist the following projects to complete their hoop house plans:
1) The Women's Environmental Institute (WEI) continues to work with Little Earth of United Tribes (LEOUT) housing complex to create its own urban farm. The hoop house we helped them to construct (in partnership with the Little Earth Teen Youth program and with support from the Minneapolis Community Action Agency) suffered from vandalism to the plastic cover and is in the process of repair in order to accomplish its intended purpose. Once the installation of the fence deemed necessary by the Little Earth community to better protect their entire urban farm space has been completed, our technical engineer consultant, Charley Hatch, will begin work to re-install a new covering that will allow the tomatoes, pepper, and herbs thriving within to have an extended season. Repair supplies have been purchased. As final funding is being sought for the fence and its gates, we are hopeful that can be accomplished by mid or late October. In the meantime, a re-invigorated residential compost project has taken shape at Little Earth and will be part of generating new soil for the farm. Six new compost bins were constructed and 40 residents, including children and youth participated in their installation. WEI has begun a series of 15 weekly farm training classes on site at Little Earth in order further develop their strong farm team, including the compost and hoop house growing opportunities. All await the new Little Earth Farm fence so the hoop house can be re-covered.
2) The 24th St. Urban Farm Homestead that WEI helped create in coalition with Indigenous People’s Task Force, Ventura Village, Native American Community Clinic, Waite House, Indian Health Board and Dream of Wild is preparing to build its hoop house this year. In spring 2012, WEI participated with the coalition members to build a raised bed farm garden in the shape of a turtle on land hosted by the Indian Health Board. We recently received funding for a shared farmer to work with the Latino farm project and the 24th Street Farm. About 2/3’s of the funds to build the hoop house for the 24th St. Urban Farm coalition have been raised and the final issue being addressed is its exact site location. Until the City of Minneapolis decides on the status of the adjacent site we are seeking, we may build a small hoop house on the Indigenous People’s Task Force land. WEI's engineer will work with youth pre-apprentices who will learn how to construct it. The growers at this urban farm are part of the Community Food Justice Council, created as collaboration between WEI and the Environmental Justice
3) As a result of the 2013 Growing Power training conference, WEI expects to be invited to help build hoop houses in several additional urban areas. One may be with school children at Harmony School. One may be with Hope Community gardens. Each of these groups sent staff and community participants to the training and will be seeking funding.
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