The University of Massachusetts Amherst is taking another groundbreaking step toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and combating global climate change by implementing one of the first permaculture gardens on a public university campus in the country. The scope of this project is considerable; UMass students are responsible for transforming a conventional ¼ acre grass landscape into a highly productive and low maintenance garden using no fossil fuels on-site. This involves layering over 150,000 pounds of organic matter by hand during October and November 2010.
UMass Amherst Auxiliary Services fully supports and funds this project as it is part of the campus-wide Sustainability Initiative. Ryan Harb, a certified permaculture designer, has been hired as the Auxiliary Services Sustainability Specialist to design and implement the UMass Permaculture Garden with help from eight passionate and hardworking undergraduate students. Auxiliary Services will feed UMass students with the garden’s fresh, local, not-yet-certified organic produce.
Ryan Harb, a certified permaculture designer and LEED Accredited Professional, received his BBA in Business Management and his M.S. with BCT in Environmental Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ryan teaches courses in sustainable design and permaculture.
At this point, the group has completed about 25% – nearly 3500 square feet. Wanting this to be a community project in addition to involving students, Ryan and his group are currently seeking groups or individuals who would like to help. They will be on site every afternoon for the next 3 weeks, including weekends 9am-5pm.
If you would like to get involved, please see the following link for more information: http://umasspermaculture.wordpress.com/get-involved/
An example of local press coverage is a report by WWLP 22 News in Springfield.