While 2018 may feel like an eternity ago, we would like to take a moment to reflect on some successes we braved within the Permaculture Initiative. Last year our ½ acre of combined gardens was able to produce over 1,700 pounds of produce! This includes 85 different herbs, fruits and vegetables that were harvested for the Student Farmer’s Markets and UMass dining. With our working hands we were able to install 2 new beehives, 4 new raised beds as well as a drying rack for our Franklin Garden!
UMPI hosted 14 different events and 10 fall farmers’ markets throughout 2018 including a Food Justice market, a Handmade Holiday Gift Making workshop and our first annual Diet for a Cooler Planet event.
At our Handmade Holiday Gift-making event, students were welcome to create sugar scrubs, heating packs, fire cider and wreaths. The wreaths were made out of wild grapevines as well as other natural materials foraged around campus such as spruce, pinecones and fir. We also made fire cider which is a great immunity booster that can fight off flu or colds. For the fire cider we used horseradish, chili and garlic from our garden, as well as onions, oranges, ginger, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar to create an infused tonic. This was a fun and educational gift for friends and family.
For 2019 we are currently working on creating a three tier aerobic composting system as well as a vermicompost system. These systems will allow us to process our organic waste on site at the Franklin garden as opposed to off-sourcing our compost which we have been doing through the university.
We are looking to coordinate a robust gleaning initiative by partnering with local farms to gather food that would have been left to decompose otherwise. We are hoping to bring the food harvested to the local Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center in Greenfield. This will allow us to wash, chop and freeze food that can later be consumed here on campus.
Keep your eyes peeled for our 3 Spring Farmer’s Markets! We will be co-hosting markets starting in April where we will be offering some new products such as our elderberry syrup and currant jams.
Looking for one more credit before the end of Add/Drop? We are offering a one credit Permaculture Practicum course where we will explore permaculture through hands on activities as well as dialogues, readings, outdoor classes, field trip and more! Limited spots are available.
All of our work, past and future could not be done without the help of our volunteers, practicum students, summer crew and garden coordinators! Thank you for all your support!
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.