Myra Klarman Photography families / seniors / headshots

Hoop House Dreams

 
Hoop House Dreams | Jeff McCabe (in fuzzy foreground) and Greg Willerer, making a hoop house in Detroit.
Jeff McCabe (in fuzzy foreground) and Greg Willerer, making a hoop house in Detroit.

Follow the money! Friday Mornings @ Selma — everyone’s favorite breakfast salon that’s too legit to quit — has so far raised nearly $15,000. So where’s it going? Most of it is being loaned out this month to two small, local farmers in a novel currency: hoop houses.

What what? A hoop house is a greenhouse-like structure made with lightweight metal and heavy-duty plastic. It’s much easier to build and far more affordable than the traditional glass greenhouses you may be familiar with. The hoop house’s function is to protect seedlings and plants from harsh winter temperatures, which enables a year-round growing season. Even in the dead of winter — and using nothing more than the sun’s rays — the hoop house is able to trap enough heat to keep the plants alive. It’s unbelievably cool… er, warm.

Hoop House Dreams | Rhapsody in Green
Rhapsody in Green

Imagine it: Farmers in Michigan will be able to harvest and sell tender, delicious, highly marketable greens in January! Hoop houses provide a very affordable way for small farmers to extend their growing season, and expand our opportunities for buying fresh, locally-grown produce.

The cost of each hoop-house kit: about $5000. The brute force and know-how to assemble it: priceless. Actually, it’s provided free-of-charge by priceless volunteers. Everyday people like you and me. Friends of Selma and of the participating farmer. You’re invited, too!

Rico, Max, and I showed up when most of the metal framing had already been roughed in, and was in the process of being bolted down. Soon the crew would begin cutting and attaching the hard-plastic end walls and sliding door at one end of the hoop house. We were all inspired by the project and the location — and the insanely scrumptious buffet spread (this being a Selma event, it wasn’t exactly your typical construction-site fare). Max inserted himself into quite a few roles including digger, sorter, entertainer, and more.

1st Hoop House Build

Saturday, August 1, 2009: Greg Willerer, Brother Nature Produce
2913 Rosa Parks Blvd. (Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood) | map

Perhaps you’ve noticed that over the last several decades more than a few auto-related jobs have left the (once mighty) Motor City. And the population has declined substantially, leaving 70,000+ vacant/abandoned lots within the city limits. This exodus has made possible — and in terms of economic, communal, nutritional, and spiritual health, perhaps even necessary — a repurposing of urban land for agricultural use. To tweak a catchphrase from Channel 62’s “The Scene,” it’s time to turn Motown into Growtown! (If you didn’t spend time in or around Detroit 20-odd years ago, you may not get the reference.)

One of these “repurpose-ers” is former middle-school teacher Greg Willerer, who established and runs the Brother Nature Produce farm. The farm’s output supplies several local restaurants, including Motor City Brewing Works, and is also available at Eastern Market.

Don’t Miss the 2nd Hoop House Build!

Saturday, August 15, 2009: Tomm Becker and Trilby MacDonald
Off Joy Rd. just north of Ann Arbor
Get further details & learn how to participate.

More info:

Hoop House Dreams | Adam Fu, Kip Koschell, and Max dig out one end of the hoop house... | while Jeff et al dig out the other.
Adam Fu, Kip Koschell, and Max dig out one end of the hoop house... | while Jeff et al dig out the other.
Hoop House Dreams | Heidi Kumao (left) and Sunny Kawenski bolt the metal frame to the wooden base.
Heidi Kumao (left) and Sunny Kawenski bolt the metal frame to the wooden base.
Hoop House Dreams | An overview of the hoop house in progress, with some of the 40 volunteers who helped build it.
An overview of the hoop house in progress, with some of the 40 volunteers who helped build it.
Hoop House Dreams | Tomm Becker working on a corner. | Joanna Campbell and Trilby MacDonald assemble one of the sliding doors.
Tomm Becker working on a corner. | Joanna Campbell and Trilby MacDonald assemble one of the sliding doors.
Hoop House Dreams | Drills, baby, drills! | Lynette Gaitskill and Max oversee the construction.
Drills, baby, drills! | Lynette Gaitskill and Max oversee the construction.
Hoop House Dreams | Lisa Gottlieb and Max perform the Hoop House Boogie.
Lisa Gottlieb and Max perform the Hoop House Boogie.
Hoop House Dreams | Men and their power tools. | Filmmaker John Swain documented every facet of the hoop house project, even the ukulele jam session.
Men and their power tools. | Filmmaker John Swain documented every facet of the hoop house project, even the ukulele jam session.
Hoop House Dreams | Shannon Brines (an extremely long-legged, Dexter-based hoop house farmer) admires one of the newly installed hard-plastic end walls.
Shannon Brines (an extremely long-legged, Dexter-based hoop house farmer) admires one of the newly installed hard-plastic end walls.
Hoop House Dreams | (l-r) Matt Burton, Jeff McCabe, Garin Fons, and Greg Willerer.
(l-r) Matt Burton, Jeff McCabe, Garin Fons, and Greg Willerer.

See also:

 

Comments

Your pictures are AMAZING! You have so much talent! you can smell the perspiration from here! (from the hot day that is….) You don’t miss a beat! Keep up your great work!

Thanks for sharing with us all!

I’m so grateful for these beautiful photos, Myra. I couldn’t be there and was hoping someone would tell the story. Thank you!

#2 kim

Just an amazing photo story! I’m so glad you’re blogging again. Also, as always, your pictures are a revelation – just so beautiful.

Myra, these are beautiful and amazing! I hope one day I can be half the photographer you are. Thank you for documenting this amazing event and movement!!!!

#4 Amanda

Myra,
Your pictures are as great as the amazing work these urban farmers are doing in what some consider a dead city! You guys are bringing it back to life!
Thank you to all involved!

wow, you are an amazing photographer, very inspiring detail of the event and the images, wow! I am sad I could not get there despite my promise to Jeff that I could…

Very inspiring…..keep up the good work…there is hope for Detroit…and producing good healthy food is a big plus to inspire hope and healthy bodies and minds. God bless all of you!

Wes

#7 wes lombard

I have been working with the Church of the Messiah on E. Grand Blvd. for many years, and this year we have decided to research just how much land the church owns, see where vacant properties are, and try to farm the ones in clusters. The Reverend started a garden last year just on church property which was amazing and fed the neighborhood. The thought of doing what you are doing in a few years is a real inspiration!
You will hear more from us!
Susan Heinen

#8 Susan Heinen

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Photo of Myra Klarman
About Myra Klarman

I’m a professional photographer specializing in studio and lifestyle portraits of children, families, high school seniors, and performing artists. I live in Ann Arbor with my husband, Rich, and our 12-year-old son, Max. Learn more about my portrait and headshot services at Myra Klarman Photography.

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