2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #107[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story ]
The Fourth Season With Four Season ToolsAs the temperature drops, farmers and gardeners across the country begin to take a deeper breath, reflect on the past year’s successes, and make preparations for the approach of winter weather. Despite Mother Nature’s attempt to wind down for the season, the demand for quality local food doesn’t slow. Luckily, many people are putting effort into extending the food growing season through the winter.
It might not seem like things are slowing down if you stepped into the workshops or agriculture buildings of Four Season Tools in Kansas City, Missouri. This innovative and fast growing company is hard at work developing new and exciting products and plans to help enterprising food growers through the winter months. We recently had an opportunity to catch up with the Four Season Tools founders, Mike Bollinger and Greg Garbos.
Four Season Tools promotes year-round production by integrating low tunnels, stationary high tunnels, mobile high tunnels, and hoop coops. As the industry leader in movable agriculture buildings, they invented the V-track, an integrated moving and anchoring system, and a simple and affordable pipe skid system allowing buildings to move not only along their length, but also laterally. Movable buildings add flexibility for vegetable production, pasturing animals, or year-round access to compost.
They have also pioneered solar-powered movable high tunnels, hip board integrated rain water capture systems, and prefabricated panelized endwalls. Greg is the company’s lead engineer and has spent his career implementing sustainable technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells, green building practices, and biofuel production systems. Greg talks about working with Mike: “Our innovation is driven by farmers. Many solutions that farmers need have not been addressed by the industry and have not been commercially available until now.”
Mike, the company’s lead Agriculture Specialist, has been consulting in the development and implementation of farms for years. After college, he completed agriculture-based work in West Africa, managed Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm in Maine, developed an urban farm in Chicago, and partnered with his wife, Katie, to operate their own certified organic farm and research site in Northeast Iowa.
Mike’s diverse experience benefits producers across the country. As he explains, “We provide an enormous amount of value for the clients we work with, especially when we’re working in a space that is developing so rapidly. With all of the options in agriculture, our clients appreciate having our expertise as part of their team to identify the best solution for their needs.” Four Season Tools helps with farm planning and strategies, soil and compost management, structure and equipment procurement, and organic and GAP certification assistance.
Four Season Tools has found a balance between the implementation of agricultural ideas and engineering the technology to make those ideas available. Mike added, “It’s incredible to be a farmer working with a team of engineers, fabricators, clients, and academics to make small-scale food production more efficient and economically viable.”
When Greg is asked what they see coming in the near future, he responds, “Farming year-round systems is hard work. There are a lot of good ideas and we’re excited that we play a part in bringing them to the fields.”
“Everyone eats, all four seasons,” adds Mike.
For additional information about Four Season Tools call (816) 444-7330 or visit SmallFarmTools.com.
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