By Adam Austing, University of Minnesota Extension
The University of Minnesota Extension and the Crow River chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) have partnered to bring you a conversation about caterpillar tunnels, simple structures that have been increasingly popular amongst fruit and vegetable growers in recent years. This event will take place via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Register for this event at z.umn.edu/caterpillartunnelchat.
Caterpillar tunnels can extend the length of the growing season, manage pests and soil and help achieve other goals growers have. Sarah Lindblom, owner of Solar Fresh Produce and current president of the Crow River SFA chapter, utilized caterpillar tunnels on her farm for the first time in 2020. Solar Fresh Produce is a small CSA operation located near Buffalo. Sarah will share her experiences after her first year growing high-value crops under caterpillar tunnels. Sarah has documented her journey through a video, a podcast, and a series of reports that can be viewed at www.sfa-mn.org/caterpillar-tunnels-soil-health/.
Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension vegetable crops educator, and Troy Salzer, UMN Extension educator and farmer in St. Louis County, will also be joining the discussion. Troy is also new to the world of caterpillar tunnels and will be sharing his personal experiences of using these structures to extend the season and manage deer damage. The night’s discussion will be moderated by Adam Austing, UMN Extension educator in Wright County.
This event is intended for produce farmers, horticulturalists, avid gardeners, and anyone else that works with fruit and vegetable production. Registration information for this discussion is at z.umn.edu/caterpillartunnelchat. This event will be recorded and sent out to all registrants. For questions or more information, please contact Adam Austing at (320) 249-5929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.