Permaculture Gardens


Top Reasons Why Shrewsbury Should Plant Permaculture Gardens

In short, permaculture is a merger of the words “permanent” and “agriculture” and a vision for creating a more sustainable world. Permaculture is a regenerative design system that involves people working together to create ecological and edible landscapes, low-impact buildings, and sustainable communities and economies. It is based on thoughtful observation of the patterns and relationships found in nature, providing a set of ethics and principles to help us transition our communities, campuses, and our culture to become truly sustainable.

UMass created the first Public University Permaculture Garden in the nation and demonstrates how we can use permaculture to empower ourselves and make a difference in our community and the world.

UMass Amherst transformed a 1/4 grass lawn on campus into a thriving, abundant, permaculture garden during the 2010-2011 academic year. Learn how this student-led project can be easily replicated and spread to other campuses, institutions… any piece of land for that matter. UMass Amherst is one of the first university’s undertaking a project like this, directly on campus, and supplying the food to its dining commons.

  • Winter 2011 – A campus-wide garden design workshop
  • Spring – Early Summer 2011 – Initial Planting

Together, we have the unique ability to create huge positive global transformation, and inspire more colleges and universities, towns and cities, and all communities to adopt permaculture and sustainable design principles into their Master Planning.


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UMass Permaculture Garden at Franklin Dining Commons

UMass Pollinator Garden




INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective (trailer)
Runtime: 1h 32m | Release date: 2015

Inhabit is a feature length documentary introducing permaculture: a design method that offers an ecological lens for solving issues related to agriculture, economics, governance, and on. The film presents a vast array of projects, concepts, and people, and it translates the diversity of permaculture into something that can be understood by an equally diverse audience. For those familiar, it will be a call to action and a glimpse into what’s possible – what kind of projects and solutions are already underway. For those unfamiliar, it will be an introduction to a new way of being and a new way of relating to the Earth. For everyone, it will be a reminder that humans are capable of being planetary healing forces.

UMass Permaculture recently screened this film with the filmmakers in 2015.

Back to Eden (full film)

Runtime: 1h 43m | Release date: 2011

This is a great movie that helps one understand why more work doesn’t necessary mean better gardening.   Discovering how nature does it, this movie shows how you just have to model nature to reap its rewards.


06/07/17 – Two UMass Amherst Gardens Win ‘Bee Spaces’ Awards

AMHERST, Mass. – Two gardens on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus recently won “Bee Spaces Garden Awards” at the Greenfield-based Langstroth Bee Fest, in recognition that the gardens help the little pollinators by providing food for foraging bees in flowers and plants, a reliable water source and that they use no toxins.

The two gardens, among five that received awards, are the Pollinator Garden at the Agricultural Learning Center’s Wysocki Farm, begun and managed by Stephen Herbert with support from the Massachusetts Grange, and the student-initiated and managed Franklin Permaculture Garden at Franklin Dining Commons. Winners received a plaque designed and made by Shelburne Falls potter Molly Cantor.

10/20/15 – West Parish Church to build permaculture garden

ANDOVER – West Parish Church will be one of the first churches in the nation to create a permaculture garden.

The project will be under the guidance of Ryan Harb, a food system specialist, permaculture designer and 2008 Andover High School graduate.

“Permaculture is not just about food,” said Harb. “We can design a garden in the way that nature does, by mimicking a sustainable, diverse and healthy ecosystem.” He defines permaculture as “an ecological design system that builds community, increases ecosystem health and demonstrates how to grow food in the most sustainable way possible, utilizing the power of community.”

On Sunday, Nov. 1, the community is invited to a groundbreaking at noon at the garden, located behind the West Parish Church sanctuary. The 3,000-square-foot garden will eventually grow more than 500 pounds of food annually, some of which will be donated to local food pantries.

A permaculture garden is designed to be low maintenance, self-fertilizing and self-watering. Remediating the soil will take several months, a process that in nature can take hundreds of years, according to Harb. After the groundbreaking, the first step in preparing the garden will be a process called sheet mulching. During the fall months, at least six inches of organic matter –compost, cardboard and wood chips – will be layered onto the existing grass lawn. Then this new soil will be allowed to rest for about six months before planting.

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