Rhode Island State SARE Coordinator Projects

High tunnel demo

Current Project

Season Extension with Caterpillar Tunnels on Rhode Island Farms

Needs assessments conducted for the URI Cooperative Extension strategic plan indicate that Rhode Island farmers want to increase use of season extension as a means to increase local food production. This project is being conducted from 2017 to 2020 to promote the adoption of caterpillar tunnels, a low-cost season extension alternative to high tunnels, on RI farms. Sometimes called walk-in tunnels, the caterpillar tunnels are usually 5 to 6 feet tall at the center and up to 300 feet long, can be entered anywhere along their length, and do not

require flat ground. This technology is widely used in other states, but little known or used in Rhode Island. The project is offering annual on-farm workshops for service providers and farmers that demonstrate how to construct caterpillar tunnels and providing training on crop production techniques for use in the tunnels.

See the project report for more information.

Recently Completed Project

Rhode Island Urban Agriculture

Rhode Island is experiencing and increase in urban agriculture interest and activity due to the efforts of numerous community groups who are starting farms on vacant urban land parcels and working with immigrant refugees who wish to produce crops for market. However, there is a lack of agricultural knowledge and expertise among the people working to promote and support urban agricultural production.

This three year initiative, begun in 2014, offered a comprehensive curriculum in urban agriculture production via workshops to train personnel from community organizations and land trusts as well as more traditional ag service provider partners from NRCS and conservation districts. Participants increased knowledge and skills about soils; soil testing, health and management; crop selection and rotation; planting techniques; irrigation; pests and pests management; and more. 

See the project report for more information.