Creating Diversity

The modified climate inside a high tunnel allows growers to produce new regional crops.  This helps diversify the farming system and create new value added industries.  As an example, our company is attempting to develop a commercial blackberry industry in the Upper Midwest.  Blackberries are unable to survive the harsh winters of the region and must be imported from distant farms.  The result is reduced freshness, higher shipping costs, and wasted fuel. By providing winter protection with a combination of traditional propane heaters and our solar thermal system, we're hoping to help meet the strong demand for local blackberries.

Another example of new commercial potential is the work of Dr. Vince Fritz, a University of Minnesota horticultural research scientist.  He is currently running field studies on the health and medical beneficial properties of ginger grown in high tunnels.  He is researching bioactive compounds found in the plant that have been associated with reducing the risk of cancer.

 

Strengthening Agriculture