Raising the Roof on a “High Tunnel”

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High tunnels extend the growing season

On Thursday, September 1st, students in SUNY Sullivan’s Green Building Management program joined faculty and staff in completing the construction of a new “High Tunnel”.

The “High Tunnel”, also referred to as a “Hoop House”, is not unlike a green house in that its translucent covering permits light in while keeping cold air out. But green houses use additional heat sources to allow for a year-round growing season, while high tunnels extend the growing season, while also controlling moisture, and decreasing problems such as rot.

Kathryn Scullion, an instructional assistant at the college, was instrumental in obtaining grants from the USDA as well as Sullivan Renaissance for the purchase of the structure.

Larry Reeger, Interim Director of Social Sciences and Sustainability Studies, also pointed to contributions from Sullivan County Center for Workforce Development, youth from which aided in constructing the high tunnel, as well as New Hope Community, and their Greenhouse Coordinator Jon Jon Thomas, who tilled the soil, and provided additional earth.

The most exciting part of this,” said Reeger, “is that the community came together to build it, and it’s all going to be put right back into the community. The food we raise is going to New Hope and SUNY Sullivan to start, but there’s going to be too much. So we’re looking at being able to offer it directly to members of the community, or local food pantries.”

The Community Garden

The new high tunnel is only the most recent addition in the ongoing development of the community garden, the result of a partnership between New Hope Community and SUNY Sullivan. The ground-breaking took place at the college’s annual Earth Day event earlier this year.