Urban farming practices developed in France in 1850 still are used in cities today
The success of the gardeners of France, from the late 1600’s through the early 1900’s, established urban gardening practices that endure into the 21st century.
By Randy Bell
Michigan State University Extension
June 20, 2013
Hoop houses (also known as high tunnels) are modernized versions of the cold frame devices used in France in the 19th century. Cornell University and the Regional Farm and Food project published, “High Tunnels,” a useful resource guide for hoop houses. It says, “High tunnels are inexpensive, passive solar structures designed to extend the growing season and intensify production. By protecting crops from potentially damaging weather conditions (frost, temperature fluctuations, precipitation, wind, or excess moisture that delays planting or cultivation), high tunnels also reduce risk and enhance the quality of the harvest.”
One example of the replication of France’s techniques can be found in Baltimore, Maryland. The Real Food Farm utilizes hoop houses to get locally grown food directly to low-income Baltimore residents who have limited access to fresh produce. You can see in an on-line rendering of the farm, that hoop houses play a major role in carrying out this mission. In Michigan, urban farms such as Food Field in Detroit and the Lansing Urban Farm Project are successfully utilizing hoop houses to extend the growing season and increase production.