Project set at the Owyhee Indian Reservation
Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute is offering a free hoop house construction workshop, Thursday-Friday, April 29-30, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Owyhee Combine School on the Owyhee Indian Reservation in northeast Nevada. The workshop is open to local residents, and is limited to 35 participants. For information/reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-351-2551.
The workshop is part of a Native American outreach project to increase access to fresh food. The workshop covers information about crops that grow best in a high-desert climate and hands-on construction of a hoop house, a simple greenhouse structure that extends the growing season in cold.
Ray Johnson of Custom Gardens Organic Farm in Silver Springs, Nev. will lead the construction of a 20' x 30' hoop house which will be used as a demonstration garden at the school. Students and teachers will plant the garden within the hoop house this spring.
The workshop and construction project are a collaboration of three organizations: WNC Specialty Crop Institute, Owyhee Combined School and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and are intended to teach alternative farming methods to increase local food production on Indian reservations and in rural areas.
Increased food production can be good for an area's health and economy, according to project coordinator Ann Louhela, WNC Specialty Crop Institute. Louhela explains, "Most rural reservations and much of rural Nevada have little or no access to the fresh foods that a community needs to stay healthy. Teaching farmers and residents how to grow in Nevada's climate can improve their health and potentially create new small farm enterprises."
Teola Blossom, principal of Owyhee Combined School, has high hopes for the garden and its long-term benefits. "This will enhance our 'Veggies for Kids' program in the school," Blossom says. "It's a Co-op Extension program through which our second and third graders are learning about vegetables. With the hoop house, we can plant and watch things grow, and we can incorporate the fresh food into our school meals."
The WNC Specialty Crop Institute is an innovative education program to teach alternative farming methods on specialty crop production. The Institute is made possible by funding from the Nevada Department of Agriculture and USDA/AMS through the Specialty Crop Block Grant.
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