The goal of the hoop house was to increase production and consumption of fresh local grown produce in Buffalo and surrounding areas. At last year’s farmer’s market, we typically sold out in the first hour. After completing the hoop house my season expanded fromJune to September to March to October with a production increase of 35%. The purchase of the hoop house has been the first step in increasing the production of local produce. To further increase the local produce available we plan to install raised beds, allowing for earlier planting, less soil compaction and less time expended upon weeding. The addition of a full drip irrigation system will allow for less water waste, less weeds and reduced chance of fungal diseases. These improvements will all increase the production and in turn, local consumption.
In addition to increased production we have also worked to educate our local community as to where their local produce comes from through tours and field days. We hosted three tours after the hoop house was constructed. Two high school classes, a group of elected officials and staff comprised our tour groups. Furthermore, every on-site sale included a mini tour with consumer questions being answered as they selected their produce directly from the plants.