Franklin Garden

Franklin Permaculture Garden​

Campus Sustainability Hot Spot

Franklin Permaculture Garden is the campus hot spot to learn about human-scale ecological solutions for creating a better tomorrow. More than just a garden, this space engages the campus community through educational models ranging from organic food production, to rainwater harvesting, to participatory art creation.

First proposed in fall 2009, the Franklin Garden is the largest and flagship garden. It has been designed, implemented, and maintained by UMass students in collaboration with faculty, staff, and local community members.

Beginning in 2010, the site was transitioned from a grass lawn into an edible, educational, biodiverse growing space through the addition of over half a million pounds of organic matter – UMass Dining compost, recycled cardboard, and local wood chips – all with the help of thousands of volunteers and local community groups. Using only organic methods, we grow over 100 species of useful plants and produce over 1,000 lbs a year of food for the dining commons, campus community and on-campus farmers markets.

In 2022 we added the Franklin East garden, an accessible raised bed garden, giving us an additional 3,000 square feet of growing space.

Honey Bees

Our hives provide students with opportunities to get up close and personal with honeybees. Sustainable honey harvests are sold at the campus farmers market.

Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Cultivation

The shade of the Linden trees provides opportunity for log cultivation of shiitake, oyster, and other mushrooms.

Rare and Unusual Plants

Over 150 species of plants provides a mini laboratory for experimenting with rare crops with great potential.

Native Pollinator Hotels

Handmade pollinator hotels provides nesting space for solitary bees that, in turn, pollinate the garden.

Medicinal Herbs

A section of the garden is dedicated to medicinal herbs that students can harvest from.

Rainwater Catchment

A 250 water cistern catches rainwater from the roof of the garden shed. The system includes a first flush and wash basin for additional functionality.