A series of tours at deep winter greenhouses across the region, with the kickoff at the
Minnesota Organic Conference Passive Solar Deep Winter Greenhouses Workshop,
and the culminating wrap-up session at the SFA Annual Conference on Feb. 13.
Tours presented by SFA’s Deep Winter Producers Networking Group in partnership with the U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. All of these events are free-of-charge, and no pre-registration is required.
Want to support this kind of programming? Please consider a donation to Sustainable Farming Association: click here.
Here’s the schedule so far — we’ll add more information as we get it.
Contact: Jerry Ford, SFA Network Coordinator
1.844.922.5573 Ext. 700
Sat., Feb. 6
One summer, David and Jill Thiel ripped up their South Minneapolis lawn and sold their mower on Craigslist. They replaced the grass with a series of garden beds filled with a variety of vegetables. Their plan was to supplement their diet with healthy, nutritious food they could grow in the yard, organizing around principles of organic and sustainable growing practices. Through years of trial and error, they cultivated an understanding of what crops are best suited for their urban farm, and how best to grow them.
Not content with being limited to summer growing, they developed a concept for winter growing that included a deep winter greenhouse. The first of its kind in the city, this passive solar design provides natural light for the plants, absorbs heat from the sun, and stays warm in the winter without generating an enormous electric bill or a stream of pollution.
David and Jill hope their experience and passion will benefit their community with a resilient model of urban agriculture that encourages increased food security, a more local economy, and healthy produce that’s free of chemicals and genetically modified organisms. Visit thielgardens.com for more info.
Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Open House
Location: 4121 27th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55406
A Gathering of the Greenhouse Growers!
At the SFA Annual Conference, February 13, 2016, St. Joseph, MN
This session is the culmination of a workshop at the MN Organic Conference, followed by a series of Deep Winter Farm Tours across the region, in collaboration with U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, and is hosted by SFA staffers Sue Wika and Tom Prieve, who also operate Paradox Farm.
Join some of the leading DWG producers for this discussion-based session.
More about the SFA Annual Conference click here.
Short Course: Deep Winter Production of Greens and Livestock Fodder Utilizing Passive Solar Energy
Registration required for this class.
10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 2016
As part of SFA’s Deep Roots Farmer Development Program, students will be in the greenhouse to see how greens and fodder are planted and harvested: this is a hands-on workshop.
More information here:
>>>> PAST TOURS <<<<
Sat., Jan. 16
St. John’s University, St. John’s Solar Greenhouse
& College of St. Benedict, Full Circle Greenhouse
Collegeville and St Joseph, MN
The Saint John’s University Solar Greenhouse, a deep-winter passive solar greenhouse, was built over the winter of 2012-2013, and now provides fresh, local, sustainably grown lettuce to the main dining hall of SJU during the winter. The SJU Eco-Houses took over management of the greenhouse in the fall of 2014, and the Eco-House members utilize the Solar Greenhouse to assist in educating students and faculty on the accessibility of locally and sustainably grown food sources as part of a mission to promote sustainability awareness at St. John’s and St. Ben’s.
The Full Circle Greenhouse is a passive solar winter greenhouse on the College of St. Benedict campus committed to engaging the CSB/SJU and surrounding community in the cyclical process of growing their own food, from seed, to table, to compost. Since 2013, the Full Circle Greenhouse provides the students, staff, faculty of CSB/SJU, and the surrounding community with fresh produce in the winter months, while also allowing students the opportunity to participate in the experience of growing their own food in a sustainable manner. It serves as an educational center for learning first-hand the science behind a passive solar winter greenhouse and seeing sustainability in action.
10:30 a.m. St. John’s Solar Greenhouse
1:30 p.m. Full Circle Greenhouse at St. Ben’s
St. John’s Solar Greenhouse: 2673 Fruit Farm Road, Collegeville, MN 56374
Map Go south on St. John’s Road (159) from I-94 at exit #156; turn right into the first campus parking lot, “Flynntown Lot 1”; meet the guide at the southwest end of the lot.
Full Circle Greenhouse: 37 S College Ave St. Joseph, MN 56374
Map Park in the visitor lot across from the Gorecki Conference Center, meet in the lower lobby of the Gorecki Center, and you’ll be guided to the greenhouse from there.
Sat., Jan. 23
Garden Goddess Winter Greenhouse
As one of the founders of the deep winter greenhouse movement in the upper midwest, Carol Ford and her late partner, Chuck Waibel, built their first passive solar, geo-thermal structure in 2004. Out of that experience and a great deal of intense research, Carol and Chuck completed “The Northlands Winter Greenhouse Manual” in 2009.
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: 405 S. 4th St., Milan, MN 56262
Sat., Jan. 23
Way Cool Farm
Deer River, MN
This fall, Kim and Ryan Erickson built a deep winter greenhouse with plans to add a winter CSA to their operation. They currently raise grassfed beef, field crops and alpacas. In the last few years they have started an orchard and expanded their garden to prepare for offering a CSA. They are passionate about local foods and the impact of growing produce in healthy soil and are focused on building the soil with crop diversity, strategic grazing and cover crops.
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: 35016 State Hwy 6, Deer River, MN 56636
Sun., Jan. 24
Barry’s Cherries Hydroponic Produce & Lincoln Bait is a research and production facility for fresh produce and baitfish, designed and built in 1999 to raise Redtail Chub and Common Shiner for the fishing industry, while incorporating hydroponic agriculture as a means of dealing with water quality issues common to extensive aquaculture.
Because of climatic instabilities, and while looking for ways to increase vegetable production to year round, Barry Thoele began research into better structure designs that would allow longer growing seasons and increased solar heating. In 2000, he built an 11 x 25 solar lean-to on the south side of his steel storage shed with plans to grow leafy greens year round, structure has produced well using active solar capture not only for the greenhouse also heating the shed..
In the fall of 2012, Barry began construction of a larger 30’ x 96’ solar greenhouse based on the Chinese solar greenhouse design. That structure is still in production today and will be the main subject of this tour.
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: 48301 County 21, Staples, MN 56479
Sat., Jan. 30
Lida Farm and Paradox Farm
Pelican Rapids and Ashby, Minn.
Ryan Pesch and his wife Maree operate Lida Farm, a diversified and certified organic vegetable operation in Otter Tail County near Pelican Rapids. They market primarily vegetables via CSA, the Lakes Area Farmers Market in Detroit Lakes, a self-serve stand, and through other retailers, although they also produce some hogs and
broilers for their CSA members. Ryan is also an ExtensionEducator who works with communities and business organizations on issues of economic development, tourism, and business development.
Paradox Farm is operated by Sue Wika and Tom Prieve, and includes deep winter production of greens and livestock fodder utilizing passive solar energy in a polycarbonate-covered structure. They focus on ecological sustainability, including matter cycling (minimal use of off-farm inputs), maximized use of solar energy, and practices to enhance biodiversity.
Times & Locations:
Time: 10 a.m.-noon
Lida Farm, 44593 275th Ave, Pelican Rapids, MN 56572
Time: 2-4 p.m.
Paradox Farm, 11643 State Hwy 78, Ashby, MN 56309
Sun., Jan. 31
Whitewater Gardens Farm
Whitewater Gardens is a small diversified farm consisting of 136 acres in Southeast Minnesota that has been growing and selling vegetables since 1996. Currently they have one 30′ X 96′ unheated high tunnel,
one 30′ X 80′ high tunnel under construction to be used as a starter house, and a 46′ X 126′ two bay winter production house, as well as approx. twelve acres of outdoor vegetable production. Produce and livestock are grown using soil building and organic farming practices, and sold within 100 miles of the farm through, and cooperatively sold with another farm to the Twin Cities area. Owners Lonny and Sandy Dietz have been very active in regional food systems work and realize that to provide fresh local foods off season, they have to develop a system using much less energy than is currently in place, and they see this system as an effective model for other arms to duplicate.
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: 17485 Calico Hill Rd, Altura, Minn.