Berkshire Permaculture Garden
The Berkshire site, located at 121 Southwest Circle, is the second UMass Permaculture Initiative project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This time, a harsh landscape, located outside of Berkshire Dining Common, is converted from a bare soil site into a thriving permaculture garden that provides thousands of students with a service-learning permaculture opportunity and supplies fresh produce to the UMass Amherst dining services and campus community.
The Berkshire Permaculture Garden is about 3000 square feet, almost one-third the size of the Franklin Permaculture Garden, the group’s flagship project.
Excerpt from University of Massachusetts Amherst press release.
“The area was recently used for storing construction equipment during renovations at the Southwest Residential Area. The site suffers from soil compaction, loss of vegetation, erosion and overall degradation.
The Berkshire Permaculture Garden, to be planted in the spring of 2012, will require about 15 yards (nearly 30,000 pounds) of compost, 10 yards (nearly 10,000 pounds) of wood chips and eight bundles of recycled newspaper from the UMass Daily Collegian. Permaculture interns will also learn site analysis, assessment and problem-solving techniques to increase ecosystem health.
“In Year 1 we will be doing more soil building and site remediation and less food production,” says Harb. “By Year 2 we’ll produce harvests from the Berkshire Permaculture Garden for the dining commons. Our work in this new area is considered site repair or remediation, a much more challenging process than the lawn conversion we did at the first permaculture garden at Franklin Dining Commons.”
He adds, “Urban landscapes are often seen as ‘drosscapes,’ or waste areas, but I feel they give us a real opportunity for making our local communities more sustainable. Food brings people together. Small garden plots in our cities and neighborhoods give people of all ages and situations a chance to create something beautiful and useful. At UMass Amherst we are trying to provide replicable examples of how to strengthen local communities and economies by focusing on food production directly on campus.”
Fall 2011 – Summer 2012 Photos:
Before: Fall, 2011
Pre-Implementation: Spring, 2011
After One Year: Fall, 2012