Those attending the Summer Twilight Meeting at UNH's Woodman Horticulture Farm enjoyed a firsthand look at the recently donated Rolling Thunder greenhouse, compliments of Rimol Greenhouse Systems. Local growers took part in informational tours and learned about sustainable food practices.
Giving back to the industry that supports Rimol is something the greenhouse manufacturer has committed to. For worthy recipients such as UNH, the Rolling Thunder greenhouse proves to be an ideal solution for sustainable agricultural practices. Reactions to the event were positive, as company owner Bob Rimol addressed guests on the importance of extended-season farming.
"I certainly expect that everyone was intrigued and the information was of significant interest to them," said Jon Wraith, dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. "There is a national trend. It varies, but most universities are moving toward the direction of sustainable growing."
Rimol Greenhouses, based in Hooksett, N.H., has also donated high tunnels to other universities, including the University of Vermont, Ohio State University, and West Virginia University Cooperative Extension. Bob Rimol's vision for giving back to local growers across the United States is what sparked Rimol's recent high tunnel donations.
"Donating a moveable high tunnel to UNH was very important to us," says Rimol, president of Rimol Greenhouse Systems. "It serves as both a resource for crop research and a state-of-the-art classroom for teaching new growing methods."
Many expect the high tunnel, erected in June of this year, to give students (graduate and undergraduate), professors and local farmers a chance to research intensive cropping methods. With cultivation available for up to three 30-foot-by-48-foot plots, those involved now have the chance to experience sustainable growing practices that were previously unavailable.
"The greenhouse provides us the opportunity through this unique facility for research and outreach in areas of multi-cropping and seasonal extension," Wraith said. "Being able to grow on a small piece of land is critical to having locally sustainable foods."
UNH Cooperative Extension professor Becky Sideman, the university's specialist in sustainable horticulture, sees the high tunnel as a significant advantage moving forward.
"The moveable high tunnel is a great educational component for my work with growers," Sideman recently said. "With the use of a moveable high tunnel, farmers may not have to make the choice to pull their profitable tomatoes out of the greenhouse early in order to start planting winter greens on time."
This fall, organic farming specialist Clara Coleman will showcase Woodman Farm's moveable high tunnel to encourage four-season growing in the New England region. Wraith, Sideman and the entire UNH agricultural unit are beginning to see what Rimol's specially designed greenhouses can do for spreading the word on sustainable living.
"The university and the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station are extremely grateful for Rimol Greenhouses," Wraith said. "Having that facility opens up possibilities we never had before."
For more information on Rimol Greenhouse Systems' state-of-the-art Rolling Thunder, visit www.rimolgreenhouses.com/greenhouse-series/rolling-thunder