The WFPC Zoning & Planning Policy Action Team is working towards the legalization of hoophouses for personal, commercial, and educational use within the City of Ypsilanti (and later in other communities throughout Washtenaw County).
Hoophouses are becoming more and more essential in Michigan to viable small-scale agriculture in both urban and rural communities as a way to generate income year-round, and to provide supply to the businesses and institutions who feed people throughout the year. Additionally, season extension using hoophouses and other methods has become a key component of the recent home and community garden resurgence, which has helped families at all incomes better feed themselves and their neighborhoods. We want neighborhood and household food security throughout the year, not just in the warmest season.
What is a Hoophouse?
A hoophouse is a passive solar structure that is essentially a metal frame with a plastic film covering it, allowing in-ground or raised bed growing 10-12 months of the year without the addition of heat or light.
What We Support
- We support allowing passive solar hoophouses at any size — this has become the norm in urban agriculture in leading cities such as Detroit and Cleveland.
- Hoophouses should be considered an acceptable primary or accessory use in all zoning districts.
- As an agricultural structure, per the state’s dictate, they are different, and should be treated differently, than all other accessory structures, e.g. they should not be regulated the way a shed or garage is, and should not be subject to building department requirements.
- To create opportunities for viable urban agriculture in Ypsilanti and other communities, a hoophouse of 30×96 feet must be acceptable; this is the size for which the return on investment for a small business is most beneficial.
Show Your Support
Sign on and express your support for hoophouses in Ypsilanti – then tell your friends and neighbors!
Find the results of our Hoophouse Support Survey in this report.
- Learn how hoophouses impact urban agriculture in Flint in this short video.
- Read Will Allen’s thoughts on the importance of hoophouses in this article.
- See images of hoophouses of all shapes and sizes on Pinterest.
- Hear which winter crops thrive in hoophouses in a short video.
- Find examples, resources, and workshops at MSU Hoophouse Website.
- Wonder what a hoophouse may look like in your neighborhood? Take a look!