The Hospitality House of Boone will host a hoop house construction workshop 2-4 p.m. May 22.
The workshop, which is sponsored by Heifer International and Blue Ridge Seeds of Change, will be led by Anthony Flaccavento, a farmer and consultant from Abingdon Virginia. Flaccavento has 25 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development, along with a BS degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science and a Master’s degree in Economic and Social Development.
According to Flaccavento, who has built several high tunnels and hoop houses on his own farm, more and more farmers are building high tunnels for early and late season crops, for winter farming and for better quality and more reliable production.
“High tunnels are wonderful structures that add a lot of value to your farming,” Flaccavento said. “But they’re also expensive.”
The free workshop will showcase an affordable alternative and provide a hands-on learning experience. Participants will help construct the hoop house and will also discuss management and crop planning in spring, fall and winter.
The workshop is part of “Growing Places,” a program hosted by Hospitality House. The Gardens at Hospitality House were created to increase access to fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for the Bread of Life Community Kitchen as well as the Food Box Program run by the Hospitality House.
Residents and volunteers work together to maintain the gardens throughout the summer. The garden is grown using organic methods in mostly raised beds and is a key part of the Hospitality House’s commitment to the sustainability of life, community and environment.
The garden project continues to grow, now actively involving the residents of the Hospitality House in the work of harvesting, watering, weeding and more. In July, 2012, the gardens received additional funding from Heifer International through Blue Ridge Seeds of Change.
Thanks to this funding from Blue Ridge Seeds of Change, Hospitality House has been able to extend its program even more by hiring a full-time growing places coordinator to not only manage the daily needs of the garden but to implement innovative new projects around the gardens themselves such as the teaching of ‘Cooking Matters’ classes developed by the ‘No Child Hungry’ campaign, creation of a food forest, the development of workshops for both residents and the broader community, and integrating the Circles® initiative which brings together low income individuals and families with middle and upper class mentors to create sustainable community growth and awareness while helping people get out of poverty for good.
“Our gardens are about feeding people throughout the community who may not have another table to come to. So if we can provide farm-to-table vegetables to them for longer than the average harvest season we are all for it,” said Chatty Majoni, Program Coordinator for Growing Places.
“We are excited about this community initiative which is pooling resources from the broader farming community for the benefit of everyone. There is a growing need for sustainable food sources in our area, with the poverty rate increasing steadily. Hospitality House is glad to see that need being addressed by members of the community and by Heifer USA and Seeds of Change Appalachia,” said Hospitality House Director of Services Tina Krause.
With continued support from the community, the gardens will continue to flourish and provide healthy meals for those in the greatest need in the High Country.
For more information on the workshop, contact Chatty Majoni at Hospitality House, 828-264-1237.