Hoop House idea keeps growing

Published 10:30 pm Friday, October 30, 2015

Earlier this year, a “Barnraiser” raised money to help Spencer Farm in Marion Junction install a green house to grow plants and vegetables throughout the year.

Owners Chip and Laura Spencer have been growing organic vegetables and offering them to the community for a while now, but what they can grow in winter is limited without a greenhouse.

Their online “Barnraiser” goal was set around $7,000, and through help from the community and various donors, the farm reached that amount.

“We had originally set our goal based on the smallest new green house that we thought was feasible for us to be able to grow in, and that was a 1,500-square-foot green house,” Chip said. “We wanted to set our goal as small as possible, so we went with that.”

But as luck would have it, the Spencers found out about a slightly used green house that could offer them a larger space.

“It was practically brand new and so that was much cheaper than a new one,” Chip said. “When we discovered that there were used green houses available that were in good enough shape that we could use those, then we began looking around and actually found a second used one that was twice the size.”

So after discussing the cost with the original owners, the Spencer’s were able to purchase 4,500-square-feet of green house.

“I would expect by the end of [November], we would have a green house erected on our property with plants in there,” Chip said. “We’ve gone ahead and started the growing process, even before the green houses get here to make it as quick and proficient a process as possible.”

Chip said it’s the community and the interns at Spencer Farm that made it possible.

“Without a huge amount of volunteers and interns on our farm, who are providing the additional labor, doing these used green houses would not be possible,” Chip said. “It really does mean a lot. We’re trying something very difficult, and the community I think wants this thing up. People are very open to local food. It benefits local economy, we get to know our customers, our customers know where their food is coming from, so all of these things are very positive things about growing food locally, and everybody wants that.”