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White County Farm Teams Up with Illinois Extension to Host Program on Hydroponic High Tunnel Production



NEW HAVEN, Ill. – Robin Holloway of Little River Farm is teaming up with University of Illinois Extension to host the first of four twilight meetings on Monday, May 16, 2022, starting at 6 p.m.

 

Illinois Extension Educators Bronwyn Aly, Nathan Johanning, and Katie Bell have partnered with area farmers over the past seven years to provide four evening “twilight meetings” to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across southern Illinois. Anyone involved or interested in local food production or learning more about farms in our region is encouraged and invited to attend. 

 

Little River Farm is a stone’s throw away from the Little Wabash River, just north of New Haven. Little River Farm was established in 2019 and is currently in its third year of hydroponic fruit and vegetable production. After retiring from a career as an electrician, Holloway dabbled in a few different hobbies before he found his joy when he began growing fresh fruits and vegetables for his family. He was tired of the poor quality and limited produce choices in grocery stores, especially during late fall to early spring. As his family began sharing their abundance with friends, Holloway saw an opportunity for growth and a way to benefit his community.

 

“You get a good feeling about yourself when people say how great the lettuce tastes, and you know that you are providing a nutritious product,” said Holloway.

 

Holloway will share his experiences as a beginning farmer growing hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries. He will focus on production techniques within his two high tunnels, including his experiences with different hydroponic systems for lettuce production, the use of bumblebees to improve pollination, and his high tunnel heating and cooling systems. Dr. Kacie Athey, Specialty Crops Entomologist, University of Illinois Crop Sciences, will discuss different biological insect control options. Holloway will also discuss how demand drove his expansion as he sells mainly in the “off-season” of September through June in both wholesale and retail channels. Anyone interested in learning more about hydroponic fruit and vegetable production and marketing in southern Illinois is encouraged to capitalize on this on-farm learning and networking opportunity.

DIRECTIONS:

 

From Harrisburg: Take US 45 north until you reach IL Highway 141. Turn right onto IL 141. Drive 11 miles, then turn left onto County Road 1200. Travel almost 1 mile, and the farm will be on your right.

 

From Carmi: Take IL Highway 1 south approximately 5 miles. Turn left (east) onto County Highway 8. After about 9 miles, stay straight on County Road 1075. After 1/3 of a mile, it turns back into County Highway 8. Travel another 2 miles, and the farm will be on your left.

 

There is no cost to attend this in-person program, but pre-registration is appreciated. To register online, visit go.illinois.edu/2022TwilightSeries. To register by phone, call 618-695-2441.

 

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, contact Bronwyn Aly at baly@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Bronwyn Aly – 618-695-2441, baly@illinois.edu  

Katie Bell – 618-687-1727, klbell@illinois.edu

 

SOURCE:  Bronwyn Aly, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension, baly@illinois.edu, 618-695-2441

 

ABOUT EXTENSION:  Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

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