New high tunnel at Dilmun Hill expands vegetable growing season

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By: Christie Citranglo, Sydney O’Shaughnessy, Sarah Chaneles

Dilmun Hill Student Farm at Cornell University has been harvesting vegetables for the community for 20 years — now with a new high tunnel.

The farm is a student- and volunteer-run organization that harvests for the Community Supported Agriculture. Workers grow and harvest vegetables for the CSA supporters, and the supporters reap both the risks and benefits of local farming.

However, with their newly installed high tunnel, farmers at Dilmun Hill will be able to extend the growing season of most of their crops. High tunnels are similar to greenhouses as they provide a climate-controlled environment. Unlike most tunnels and greenhouses, Dilmun Hill’s will have a rolling track.  

“It is on a rolling track so we have things planted in it now that wouldn’t necessarily thrive as much outdoors,” said Noelle Ladue, wholesale production manager of Dilmun Hill. “We’re going to be able to plant into the beds opposite into that and roll the entire structure, so we’ll roll it over the crops that we want extended into later production.”

CSA Coordinator at the farm Katie Donnelly Moran also noted that with the growing season extended, the farm at Cornell will be able to produce more fruits and vegetables for a longer period of time.

Hanna Williams, a volunteer at Dilmun Hill from Sweden, works at the farm to better understand where her food comes from. Combining both her volunteer work and studies in agriculture at Cornell, Williams grasps the environmental impacts of farming and producing food for consumers.

“We have much more strict regulations and laws [in Sweden]about environmental impacts on agriculture and animal welfare,” Williams said. “It’s very different coming here.”

Dilmun Hill brings awareness to the community about sustainable and ethical agriculture. Ladue says it is a gateway to allow others to become more aware of the produce they are consuming.

“It’s really the basis of everything else,” Ladue said. “If we can start improving the whole system, maybe we can do other things like make people healthier and make them more conscious of what you’re eating and where it’s coming from.”

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