We have found a way to build hoop houses at a much lower cost than those that are factory made. Once the project is completed we will have ten large hoop houses and three small hoop houses which will give us about a half acre upon which we can grow produce throughout the year.
By building these hoop houses we can demonstrate to the local public and farming communities (which would include other local CSA's) that growing produce year round is a realistic and viable enterprise that communities should consider. Organically grown produce that is available on a year round basis will extend the farmer's market season and provide a stronger financial basis for all market farmers.
The hoop houses are built using young saplings which have been thinned from our forest for posts and standard pine (from renewable tree farm stands) 2 x 4's to build the frame and trusses. UV treated electrical conduit is used to create the form upon which the greenhouse fabric is laid. Eventually, we may use bamboo which we will grow to replace the electrical conduit. The large 28 x 100 hoop houses cost $950 (the cheapest commercial kit runs about $3000 in comparison), the 28 x 50 are $450 and the three mini hoops (15 x 100) are $250. Total materials project cost is $6,700. Labor is not factored in since we provide that. Upon completion these hoop houses will enable us to plant and maintain a full half acre of produce through the cold months. Central Pennsylvania where we are located is one of the "bead baskets" of the nation so this project will demonstrate that a "Buy Fresh, By Local" campaign need not be a seasonal one but can in fact be carried through the entire year.
- (40 days)