The New Farmers
Jeff McCabe helped recruit the new generation of farmers, but he's not going back to the land himself. "I don't have the back for it," he laughs. Instead, two years ago he started a hoop house company.
"A hoop house is a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse that traps heat for growing food in the ground," McCabe explains. "What it does is create a new season, so people are able to grow in winter and spring. They're similar to those used in the floriculture industry but with subtle differences, like the cover is more durable and it's more affordable."
A standard Nifty Hoops hoop house is thirty feet wide and ninety-six feet long, and costs $12,900 installed within sixty miles of Ann Arbor by a dozen or so part-time employees. (McCabe is the only full-time employee and the sole owner.) He says they've put up about fifty so far, will build fifty or more this year, and are planning on 100 next year. Half of the sales so far are within sixty miles of Ann Arbor, including structures at Sunseed, Senna Prairie, Green Things, Seeley, Dragonwood, and White Lotus farms, though some are as far away as the northern Lower Peninsula and central Ohio.