COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 14, 2020 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will again offer the opportunity for produce growers within the Cleveland and Akron city limits to apply for financial and technical assistance for high tunnel systems, commonly referred to as hoop houses.
With assistance from NRCS, urban and rural area farmers in Cleveland and Akron have established numerous high tunnels, in or near community gardens and residential areas. High tunnel systems allow growers to cultivate and harvest fresh produce in all but the coldest months, providing a source of nutritious food closer to where people live. High tunnel systems not only benefit people, they protect the environment too. The plants grown in a high tunnel need fewer pesticides and nutrients, improving plant health and soil quality. Growing and purchasing food locally also improves air quality by decreasing fuel use for transportation.
Applicants approved for a high tunnel system must adhere to local zoning and building requirements for high tunnel systems. Applicants must also have control of the land where the high tunnel system will be installed.
To apply for a high tunnel system in Cleveland and Akron areas, contact NRCS’ Mr. Arthur Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hawkins will assess proposed high tunnel sites and help applicants through the application process. NRCS will accept applications until January 15, 2021. Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the January 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding.
Individuals interested in applying for high tunnel systems outside the Cleveland and Akron city limits should contact their local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. Be sure to check the status of your Service Center when you reach out to us. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, we are still available by phone, email, and through other digital tools. Your Service Center’s status is available at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status.
Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the January 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.