Resilient Northern Habitats:
Mobile High Tunnel Research Project Application

Project Overview:
Resilient Northern Habitats seeks qualitative and quantitative research data on how mobile high tunnels impact small to medium size organic food producers in northern growing zones 3 and 4.

Project Goals:
Data sought:  plant/harvest dates for specific crops, crop yield figures/comparisons, fertility inputs, revenue generation from tunnel, and grower narrative about overall compatibility/feasibility of mobile tunnel technology within organic food operation.

Grower Eligibility:

  • Must not currently own or utilize a mobile high tunnel as part of growing operation
  • At least three years of organic food production sales immediately prior to 2011
  • Must commit to three years of organic food production starting Fall of 2011
  • Must be committed to record-keeping regime as outlined by RNH below
  • Attendance at “tunnel raising” near Amery, Wisconsin in August 2011
  • Prepare @ 36’ x 165’ flat organic field for high tunnel by August 2011
  • Ongoing communication with project coordinator and other participants
  • Must be an operation with less than $1 million in organic food sales

Application:
Please respond cogently as each area is scored by reviewers.
High scorers will be interviewed as finalists.

  1. Tell us about your current organic growing operation — including farm location, field sizes, crop specialties, crop rotations, irrigation techniques and fertilization regime.
  2. Explain your current marketing/sales orientation and business strategy, including specific crop emphasis, markets served, rough monthly sales figures, marketing channels and prospects for expansion or growth.
  3. Explain your current record-keeping practices with regard to crop production, plant and harvest dates, inputs, sales tracking and accounting for production costs.
  4. Describe your experience or understanding about issues involved with growing in a high tunnel in general, and with mobile high tunnel growing in particular — if any.
  5. Describe the layout at your farm vis-a-vis where you would put the mobile high tunnel and its proximity to other farm features.  Include a sketch or aerial view indicating proposed tunnel location and surrounding elements.
  6. Why do you want to be a part of this research project and what do you hope to gain/learn as a result?
  7. Can you commit to an August tunnel raising in Wisconsin, three years of organic food production maximizing the use of a mobile tunnel, record keeping as described below and regular communication with other project participants and RNH staff?

Send complete application or address questions to:  pfhenry@resilientnorthernhabitats.com

Record Keeping Requirements:

  • Plant and harvest dates for specific crops in the mobile high tunnel, including row sizes, plant spacings and days to maturity.
  • Yield amounts on specific high-tunnel crops and assessment of fruit quality, including fruit size and appearance.
  • Specific inputs for soil fertility, whether compost, manure or liquid fertilizer.
  • Revenue generation attributed to tunnel operation, including yield per square foot per week.
  • Summative narrative covering all aspects of using a mobile high tunnel, from maintenance to moving, soil fertility to irrigation, fruit quality to specialty crops.  To be completed after three year trial.

Resilient Northern Habitats takes responsibility for providing standard forms and techniques for gathering data, including a formula for calculating yield per square foot per week.  Our intention is to make data gathering easy, helpful, and a means from which insight can lead to better farming practice.

Agreement:
At time of selection, each participant will be asked to sign an agreement outlining terms for receiving a 30’ x 48’ Four Seasons Tools mobile high tunnel from Resilient Northern Habitats.   In exchange for meeting the agreed upon terms and gathering data as described, participants will be given title to the mobile high tunnel with the understanding that it be used to produce organic food for local consumers and markets, and that they become a resource for other farmers seeking to learn about mobile tunnel technology and techniques.