Fifth Garden Supper Seminar at U of M Crookston Examines Extending Gardening Season with High Tunnels on Thursday, March 27, 2014

The fifth gardening and local foods seminar is scheduled for Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6 p.m. in Bede Ballroom on the UMC campus following a free supper at 5:30 p.m. Horticulture Extension Specialist, Terry Nennich, will report on the use of "high tunnels," a type of hoop house covered with transparent plastic that can extend the season both in the spring and in the fall. For reservations, call or email Tashi Gurung or Megan Luxford at 218-281-8128 or or For more information contact Dan Svedarsky at 218-281-8129 or

The suppers in dining services are free but reservations are required. Attendees are requested to go through the Brown Dining Hall at 5:30 p.m. and bring their meal down the hall to the Bede Ballroom. The program will commence at 6 p.m. and conclude around 7 p.m.

Here's how the high tunnels work: Conventional soil is planted with fruits and vegetables inside the protected space. The sides of the structure can be rolled up to allow for better ventilation once the weather warms up during the day and then down at night. Sometimes the growing season can be extended a month or more during the spring and the fall allowing for more production of fresh fruits and vegetables. Nennich has experience with high tunnel across the state and is "The" expert. He will cover the basics of installing and operating a high tunnel in conjunction with other gardening activities that may occur on adjacent land.

The kick-off of the seminar series occurred January 23 and featured Noelle Hardin, a U of MN Extension Educator whose focus is Community Food Systems in northwest Minnesota.  Hardin explored the many values of local foods and over 35 participants from the community and campus shared their experiences. The second speaker was Dr. Randel Hanson, environmental scientist and manager of the Campus Garden at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. The third program was presented by Kirsten Fagerlund and Shannon Stassen who outlined values and possibilities in the town of Crookston, itself. The fourth speakers included a panel organized by Jennifer Dillard from UMC.  Panelists included, Ronny J. Reitmeier, Owner of "Ronny's Farm To Table" in Fisher; Jessica Luckow, Owner of Whitetail Gardens, a local CSA provider; Brigette Burzette-DeLeon, a teacher at Washington Elementary School and School Garden Coordinator; and  Anna Ogaard, Crookston Public School's Director of Food Service. 

This is a continuing supper seminar series at UMC to explore and inform aspects of gardening and local food production in the Crookston community and the Crookston campus. The programs are supported by a Mini-Grant from the U of MN's Institute on the Environment to UMC's Center for Sustainability and are free and open to all interested in the topic. 

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus--as well as 13 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (