GREAT BARRINGTON — Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) awarded Gould Farm a resilience grant of $5,000 to complete construction of a new hoop house that will enable the farm to extend its growing season. This grant was awarded in conjunction with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Services.
Gould Farm will use this hoop house (also known as a ‘high tunnel system’) to cover and protect crops from sun, wind, excessive rainfall, and frost, and increase spring and fall crop production in an environmentally safe manner.
Gould Farm produces crops as part of its mental-health programming, through which clients grow, cook, and consume vegetables from the farm. During the growing season, Gould Farm also supplies the multicultural BRIDGE food pantry.
With the hoop-house addition, Gould Farm will be able to increase the amount and availability of fresh produce for the farm and pantry. “Our program participants are hard at work building the hoop house and look forward to being able to spend more time doing what they love … growing and sharing fresh food for the community,” Executive Director Lisanne Finston said.
Ben Crockett, BAV’s program manager, who focuses on climate-smart agriculture, added that “BAV recognizes the importance of helping farms implement adaptive growing strategies, like hoop houses, to address the increasing challenges Berkshire farmers face due to climate change. Recent growing seasons provide multiple examples of increased extreme weather patterns that increase risks to Berkshire farmers.
“Farmers in our region will continue to see dramatic fluctuations in weather patterns for the foreseeable future” he added, “and supporting Gould Farm in completing this hoop house is part of BAV’s effort to improve local farm resilience to extreme weather events and ensure farms keep farming.”