With the increasing success and popularity of using community gardens as a means to produce more food, practice sustainable gardening, and create aesthetic appeal, a new phenomenon is on the radar: campus permagardens.
Students at the University of Massachusetts have taken home gardens to a whole new level by designing and implementing a permagarden on-site. This permagarden, developed primarily by students, took a ¼ acre degrading section of UMass land, and turned it into something remarkable.
Almost anyone can build a no-dig garden in their backyards – all it takes is some cardboard, mulch, and compost – but it takes great initiative to convert a campus lawn to one. But the UMass Permaculture Committee managed to do just that. What may have been just a pretty sight before is now a new ecosystem, a new habitat, and even a new source of food for the campus cafeteria.
This video shows the second segment of a three-part series documenting the students’ journey towards completing the permagarden. I wanted to present this portion because of how inspirational these students are. Between the cooperation, knowledge, and innovation found amongst them, I am personally inspired to take part in such a task at my own university.
This brings me to a broader possibility – what if every campus created their own permagarden? Would we bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into our cafeterias? Would we create ecosystems that otherwise would not exist on campuses? Would permagardens soon become a norm for college and university campuses? I hope that the optimism arising from these thoughts is equally as motivating for other students as it has been for me to follow the example set by UMass, and continue improving the quality of our planet.