US (NY): A moveable high tunnel on rails

A production-scale high tunnel will extend the growing season for the Dilmun Hill Student Farm and also serve as an educational resource for the many classes that visit the farm.

The high tunnel was made possible by the Toward Sustainability Foundation grant program. Undergraduate Steering Committee member and former Dilmun Hill Farm Manager Alena Hutchinson (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, ’18) secured funding for the tunnel, and worked with builder Howard Hoover of Penn Yan, N.Y., to design a custom tunnel to meet the specialized needs of small- and medium-sized growers in Upstate New York.

The tunnel features a solar-powered, automated sidewall system designed by Hutchinson and fellow undergraduate engineering students to make ventilating the structure easier.

Another innovative feature of the high tunnel: It is mounted on rails, so that the tunnel can be easily moved between two different growing areas. Along with increasing production capacity, this design has environmental benefits, such as making crop rotation possible and allowing rain to leach salt from soil, avoiding the salt build up that can be a problem with stationary high tunnels. In the video below, you can see the system in action.

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