We provide new farmers with skills and knowledge to operate their own organic vegetable farm and assist them in marketing their vegetables.
We need a greenhouse! You can help
Big River Farms Greenhouse for Farmer Training and Production
The winter of 2012 is an important time for the farmers in Big River Farms Training Program. It is the time to move toward self sufficiency, cooperative learning and management and plan for the future. We need your help! We are building a large greenhouse specifically for the farmers-in-training. Managing a greenhouse and successfully growing transplants is a critical area of learning necessary to run a production vegetable farm. Our farmers –in- training urgently request more space to grow transplants and more training in greenhouse management and work.
Minnesota Food Association plans to convert one of the existing 100’ x 30’ high tunnel hoop houses into a greenhouse, including refurbishing the hoop house as well as adding infrastructure: a furnace, automated watering and ventilation systems, tables, landscape fabric, etc. The farmers-in-training will assist in the greenhouse rehabilitation and learn to manage the greenhouse. The greenhouse will be used for training classes, for propagation by the farmers and will be cooperatively operated by the farmers. Each farmer will receive table space consistent with the amount of land they are farming and be responsible for their own soil, trays and labels. Farmers will pay an annual fee to help offset the propane and electric bills. All of the transplants that the farmers grow belong to them to be planted or sold.
The Farmer Greenhouse will add a huge dimension to the training program. The farmers will save money on transplants and learn to work cooperatively as they manage this green house. It is cost effective to pool space and resources and grow just what you need. This will allow the farmers to start their own seeds of types and varieties they prefer in larger quantities or the specific quantities they need. The greenhouse will produce Certified Organic transplants for the farmers’ fields, for their markets.
The farmers are excited about this. We have the plan and the hoop house, but we need your help. We need to raise $8,500 for the automated heating, watering and ventilation systems, fans, wood for tables and endwalls, ground cover, hoses, nozzles, thermostats, wiggle wire and so on. We are beginning the clean up and preparation this Fall and we will put it all together as soon as we can in the Spring.
Get to know See Nay - he wants to have a greenhouse to help him farm.
See Nay, a Karen farmer from Burma, has been in the United States for 6 yrs and wants to be a farmer here, in Minnesota.
For See Nay, working with the land and eating his traditional foods is a vital part of who he is and how he wants to contribute to his community. See Nay’s vision is to be able to provide the Karen community in the Twin Cities with the staple veggies that they know and love
See Nay has been farming with Minnesota Food Association for since the 2011 growing season. This past season he was extremely successful growing among other things Roselle, okra, Thai peppers, and pumpkin leaf for sale in the Karen Community. He spent many days knocking on the doors of his neighbor’s apartments and selling them his beautiful Organically Certified Produce. He was very happy with his production this year but would love to see his success continue to grow.
See Nay needs a greenhouse. He needs consistent access to greenhouse space in the early spring. Many of the traditional Karen crops are extremely heat loving and require 4 – 6 weeks longer growing season (they are used to the steamy environs of Burma!). Learning to adapt these crops to Minnesota has often proven tricky. A key to growing Thai peppers and Roselle in Minnesota is to start them early in a heated greenhouse. The greenhouse also allows him to grow healthier plants that will be able to compete with the weeds better.
See Nay says, “If MFA can provide me with a greenhouse near to my fields I will be able to continue growing many of my favorite crops and will not have to worry about finding another greenhouse very far away. Having the greenhouse close to my fields will be much easier for me to care for my plants and to grow more of the crops I would like to grow.”
See Nay is excited about helping build a new greenhouse this winter so that it will be ready in March for the beginning of yet another season here in Minnesota.