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Dilmun Hill high tunnel nears completion

On August 4, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) staff, Dilmun Hill Student Farm farm managers and farm  steering committee member Alena Hutchinson took advantage of a relatively calm morning to install plastic on Dilmun Hill’s new high tunnel.

Read more about the high tunnel and view time-lapse of framework construction.

CUAES organic farm coordinator Betsy Leonard helps pull plastic over the high tunnel.

CUAES organic farm coordinator Betsy Leonard helps pull plastic over the high tunnel.

CUAES operations director Glen Evans, Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay, and technician Ethan Tilebein secure plastic to the east ...

CUAES operations director Glen Evans, Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay, and technician Ethan Tilebein secure plastic to the east …

... and west endwalls.

… and west endwalls.

The warmer temperatures inside the tunnel will help extend harvest of heat-loving crops like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant later in the fall.

The warmer temperatures inside the tunnel will help extend harvest of heat-loving crops like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant later in the fall.

 

 

High tunnel rises at Dilmun Hill Student Farm

A production-scale high tunnel is rising at Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Once complete, it will not only extend the growing season for the farm, but also serve as an educational resource for the many classes that visit the farm.  A high tunnel production workshop series is being planned in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension that will draw on the knowledge and experience of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across many different departments.

Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) staff, along with members of the Dilmun Hill Steering Committee, have been laying the groundwork at the high tunnel site since early spring, grading the land, spreading and incorporating compost, and installing the foundation. This past Wednesday afternoon, they made short work of installing the frame. (See time-lapse video.)

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 will feature 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.

Detailed design plans and assembly manuals for all aspects of the tunnel will be available upon the tunnel’s completion. For questions and/or if you want to be involved in the project, contact Alena Hutchinson (amh345@cornell.edu).

Hutchinson and CUAES technician Ethan Tilebein begin rafter intallation.

Hutchinson and CUAES technician Ethan Tilebein begin rafter intallation.

Betsy Leonard, CUAES organic farm coordinator, and Glen Evans, CUAES operations director, install sidewalls.

Betsy Leonard, CUAES organic farm coordinator, and Glen Evans, CUAES operations director, install sidewalls.

Anja Timm, CUAES communications coordinator, Hutchinson and Evans work on sidewall. Note roller and rail that allow the high tunnel to be moved easily.

Anja Timm, CUAES communications coordinator, Hutchinson and Evans work on sidewall. Note roller and rail (lower right) that allow the high tunnel to be moved easily.

Tilebein, Hutchinson and Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay install rafters.

Tilebein, Hutchinson and CUAES Thompson Research Farm farm manager Steve McKay install rafters.

McKay secures ridgepole.

McKay secures ridgepoles.


Update [2017-07-29]

On June 28, while still under construction, the tunnel took it’s first trip, traveling from a fallow area to an area newly planted with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Dilmun Hill Student Farm celebrates 20 years

Alena Hutchinson ’18 works in a high-tunnel she designed and helped construct over the summer at Dilmun Hill.

Alena Hutchinson ’18 works in a high-tunnel she designed and helped construct over the summer at Dilmun Hill.

Cornell Chronicle [2016-10-06]

It started as a simple idea: Cornell students learning about farming should have someplace to actually farm. Thus was born Dilmun Hill.

In the 20 years since students tilled those first three acres, the farm has expanded and improved, provided opportunities for research and experimentation, started students on a path toward agricultural careers and fostered lifelong friendships. Today, Dilmun Hill Student Farm encompasses 12 acres of land, and it produces organically grown vegetables for its community-supported agriculture program and on-campus restaurants.

To celebrate the anniversary of the farm’s founding in 1996, students will welcome the community to a farm tour Oct. 29, 1-4 p.m., at 705 Dryden Road (Route 366), Ithaca. There will be booths and exhibits plus activities from many agriculture-related clubs on campus, such as the Bee Club and the Cornell Fantastic Fungi Fanatics. The party is a chance to learn more about agriculture, the joys and challenges of growing food, and the dedication it takes to be a student farmer.

Read the whole article.

Tomato production in high tunnels workshop Sept. 10

high stakes banner

High stakes: Tomato production in hoop houses

Hosted by Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Saturday September 10 at 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Extending the New York growing season with unheated greenhouses (also called high tunnels or hoop houses) is a growing technology with organic vegetable farmers. At this workshop led by one of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s vegetable specialists, we will discuss the production of tomatoes in high tunnels, strategies to manage soil and plant nutrient levels, tomato disease management, and other topics in Dilmun Hill’s new moveable high tunnel. All knowledge and experience levels are welcome.

More info.

Toward Sustainability Foundation grant deadline is Dec. 5

For more than 15 years, CALS has bolstered its sustainability research with a steady stream of gifts from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF), a Massachusetts-based organization founded by an anonymous, eco-minded Cornell alumna.

Since 1999, TSF provided more than $1.2 million in funding for more than 100 faculty and student projects that examine the technological, social, political, and economic elements of sustainable agriculture.

The deadline for proposals for the 2017 round of funding is December 5, 2016

Read more about TSF grants, download the full Request for Proposals, and view titles and contacts of recent projects.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a moveable high tunnell at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson '18.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a movable high tunnel at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson ’18.

President Skorton tours CUAES facilities

On July 22, Cornell University President David Skorton and his wife Robin Davisson, Professor, Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College, learned more about research and other activities going on at facilities near campus managed by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES).

Tour stops included the East Ithaca Research Farm, where Department of Horticulture faculty conduct research on using high tunnels to extend the growing season for berries and cut flowers, and Dilmun Hill Student Farm, where student managers explained their cropping systems and organic pest management practices.

CUAES is dedicated to sustainable “science for life” in its two core functions — the operation of world-class research facilities throughout New York and the generation and application of research-based knowledge through the administration of federal formula grants.

Update [8/11/2011]: More pictures at CALS flickr.

Marvin Pritts, Department of Horticulture chair, explains his high tunnel research at East Ithaca Research Farm to President David Skorton and Robin Davisson.

Marvin Pritts, Department of Horticulture chair, explains his high tunnel research at East Ithaca Research Farm to President David Skorton and Robin Davisson.

President Skorton heads to the field with student managers at Dilmun Hill Student Farm

President Skorton heads to the field with student managers at Dilmun Hill Student Farm

President Skorton and his wife Robin Davisson exchange ideas with students at Dilmun Hill.

President Skorton and his wife Robin Davisson exchange ideas with students at Dilmun Hill.

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