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Hidalgo County hoop house to be educational, help fight food security issues

On Dec. 1, Hidalgo Medical Services, New Mexico State University, Hidalgo County Cooperative Extension, Hidalgo County 4-H, AmeriCorps and the Lordsburg School District all came together for a good, old fashioned hoop house raising.


Several 7th and 8th grade students observe one student taking measurements at the site of the new Hidalgo County hoop house.
Hidalgo County 7th and 8th grade students use math skills to help construct a hoop house at R.V. Traylor Elementary School in Lordsburg. The hoop house will help address food security issues within the county. (Courtesy photo by Kayla Floyd)
Several 7th and 8th grade students watch while two students use a post-hole digger to dig a hole for the hoop house.
Hidalgo County 7th and 8th grade students use math skills to help construct a hoop house at R.V. Traylor Elementary School in Lordsburg. The hoop house will help address food security issues within the county. (Courtesy photo by Kayla Floyd)
Students and adult volunteers pull plastic over the frame for the new hoop house in Hidalgo County.
On Dec. 1, Hidalgo Medical Services, New Mexico State University, Hidalgo County Cooperative Extension, Hidalgo County 4-H, AmeriCorps and the Lordsburg School District all came together for a good, old fashioned hoop house raising in Lordsburg. The hoop house, funded through the AARP Hidalgo EATS program, will help fight food security issues in the county. (Courtesy photo by Kayla Floyd)

The community banded together to construct a 15-foot by 32-foot hoop house, or soft-sided green house, at R.V. Traylor Elementary School in Lordsburg. More than 50 volunteers, some from as far away as Rodeo, showed up and donated a day's worth of hard work to help complete this project.

Forty-three students from Amanda Good's 7th and 8th grade math classes participated in the project. Prior to the build Saturday, the students completed a hoop house worksheet that taught them many important math concepts used in constructing a hoop house, such as the Pythagorean Theorem. Making sure the hoop house was square was a vital step in construction; students were then able to take what they learned in class and use it in a real world application.

Students also worked hand-in-hand with Lordsburg Superintendent Randy Piper, teacher LuEmma Floyd and school board members, who put in a long day making sure that the hoop house was completed. Del Jimenez, NMSU hoop house specialist, did an amazing job integrating the youth into every aspect of the build. Students and volunteers did all the measuring, cutting, and assembly of the hoop house. Not only were students taught real world math applications, but they also learned many life skills that will benefit them for years to come.

This hoop house was made possible through the AARP Hidalgo EATS grant, awarded to Hidalgo Medical Services, Inc. in January 2012. The Hidalgo EATS program is working with NMSU Economic Development Specialist Michael Patrick on addressing food security issues in Hidalgo County. One of the focuses of the project is to grow more fruits and vegetables locally, and the hoop house project fits very nicely into this goal.

The hoop house will be used by the school district as a teaching tool that not only teaches youth about locally grown food and how to garden, but will also be used to introduce many math and science concepts that go hand-in-hand with gardening. The hoop house will be used to extend the growing season so students can watch their garden grow during the cooler months while they are at school.

Floyd, a preschool teacher, and Aleesha Chavez, a kindergarten teacher, will work with John Allen, NMSU Extension agriculture agent, to teach the students about gardening.

The whole community will benefit from the education as well as the garden produce that comes from the hoop house.

If you are interested in learning more about hoop houses and home gardening please contact the Hidalgo County Extension Office 575-542-9291.