High tunnels extend Alaska's growing season

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PALMER, Alaska (AP) — A federal program aimed at extending growing seasons for small farms is proving to be popular in Alaska.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has spent more money supporting seasonal high tunnels in Alaska than any other state.

Seasonal high tunnels are tall hoop house that cover crops planted in the ground or raised beds. They can extend the growing season for up to a month on either end.

Stephanie Gaiser (GEYE'-zur) of Palmer grows sweet corn, tomatoes, eggplant and other varieties that don't thrive naturally in Alaska to feed her vegetarian family.

Jeff White of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service says high tunnel support began to support the local food movement.

He says high tunnels are also extending growing seasons in southern states and cities such as Detroit.