US (LA): Inglewood Farms' high tunnel to be used for experimentation and outreach

One of the missions of Inglewood Farms is to share what they learn with other farmers and a seasonal high tunnel that was recently unveiled at the farm will be a perfect space for experimentation, workshops, and other outreach programs. The grant for the tunnel came about through the non-profit Trailblazer RC&D, which has a long-time connection with the National Resources Conservation Service, said Elisabeth Keller, president of Inglewood Farms.

With seasonal high tunnels, crops are planted in the ground and a cover made of polyethylene, plastic, or fabric is then placed over some hoops making an enclosed structure. "A high tunnel is basically a greenhouse," said Ellzey Simmons of Trailblazer RC&D. "It's a growing facility for year-round growing of vegetables and flowers and whatever you want to grow."

"It's important to extend the growing season because our weather is so finicky in Louisiana. It's either too hot. Too cold. Too dry," said Simmons. "They can be used to help protect young vulnerable plants from freezing or severe weather events."

Beth Hebert, Inglewood Farms market manager, said that specialty items such as citrus fruits that don't grow easily in Central Louisiana's climate can be also be planted in a high tunnel. Keller said Inglewood plans to experiment with specialty crops that need extra protection. Inglewood's tunnel will be utilized and used for future outreach efforts and workshops for farmers interested in them, said Simmons. NCRS works with non-profits like Trailblazer to reach diverse audiences and extend the outreach.

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