Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Students Create Edible Forest on Campus

Students in the Permaculture and Design course crafted an edible food forest located just across the street north of the Dreier Building. Designed to integrate sustainable education, food production, and community involvement in a natural setting, the forest is an ever-evolving work in progress, said student Ashley Smith, president of the Sustainable Council student group. 

The students planted raspberries, two Asian pear trees, a hedge of service berries and hazelnuts, two paw paw trees, an elderberry tree, comfrey, Egyptian walking onion, and edible perennial flowers. 

The project was set in motion last summer by a group of students and landscape designer Ceyrena Kay. They created the initial design, which was then revisited in a permaculture course last fall. A combination of the two designs was implemented during the recent course. 

It's intended to be a display of self-sustainability based on contemporary permaculture principles — the design of productive habitats for people that have the stability, diversity, and resilience of natural ecosystems. 

The food forest uses sheet mulching, which is a style of composting used to create and nourish fertile soil, and swales, which are small ridges to increase water infiltration and maximize rain potential. 

The trees were funded by private donations and the 2008 class gift.

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