High Tunnel Success

When I began my career in Magoffin County in late 2014, one of my first visitors was an enthusiastic gentleman looking for assistance with becoming self-sufficient so that he could provide for his mother, children, and grandchildren. In one of our many discussions, I mentioned the help that the Natural Resources Soil Conservation Service offers with high tunnels. To make a long story short, Marty started doing his research on high tunnels, and in the meantime, decided to sign up for our 2015 Grow Appalachia program.
 Here we are, two years later, and Marty is in his first full year of ORGANIC high tunnel production—and what a successful start to the year he is having! I visited with Marty and his mother, Gayle, on Tuesday and they shared all of their hard work, trials, and tribulations with me, and I am so proud of everything they have accomplished that I felt compelled to share their story.
 Marty is definitely a go-getter—full of positive energy and ready to take on whatever life throws his way. He knew he wanted to start producing nutritious foods, without leaving such a harsh footprint on his environment, and he ruthlessly worked toward his goal! He watched hours of YouTube videos, consulted with other farmers, visited with high tunnel producers in the area, and ultimately started on his own journey to organic food production. He built two high tunnels, developed his own irrigation system, learned the fine art of trellising, and yielded a picturesque version of self-sufficiency.
Gayle, his mother, helps out with harvesting and preservation. They were already picking green beans and cucumbers, and had tomatoes on the verge of ripening! I immediately turned green with envy!
It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know and working with Marty and Gayle, as both Extension Agent and GA Coordinator! I am looking forward to the great things the Coffey’s will do as they transition to year-round vegetable production. We will be meeting with former GA Site Coordinator, Jann Knappage, in the near future to explore avenues for year-round sales.

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2 Comments

  1. Lori Gearheart July 13, 2017 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Very exciting!!!

  2. Brenda Shaw September 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Going to try this

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