One of our favorite companion plants found right here at UMass Permaculture is Stinging Nettle, or Common Nettle. Though painful if brushed up against, Nettle is a useful multi functional plant. Its roots and leaves have many common uses, and if you know how to harvest it properly, you can turn what might be seen as a weed into a multi-purpose permaculture plant.
Recently, UMass Amherst was ranked the 9th healthiest college in the U.S—and second healthiest public university—according to Greatist.com. Our wellness programs and our devotion to serving healthy food contributed to the recognition. Yet while we are honored, we still have work to do to create the ultimate healthy dining experience on campus. So as we finish up the renovation of the Hampshire DC (to be completed August 15 and opening September 1), we’ve decided to make this DC our ground zero for creating and serving healthy, sustainable food.
A form of companion planting known as the “Three Sisters” is taking off in the Franklin Permaculture Garden. Three Sisters is a type of polyculture farming originally practiced by many Native American societies in traditional organic farming. Polycultures involve creating a diverse natural ecosystem by combining different beneficial crops as companions for one another. This encourages an increase in biodiversity among species and offers unique benefits such as pest-control, improved soil quality, and a greater aggregate yield.
Chicken ownership is a very interesting and rewarding hobby. Chickens offer many benefits to a homestead, and are relatively easy to care for. Besides the many benefits and being easy to care for, they are fun to watch and have interesting behaviors.
Coined by Via Campesina – a social justice oriented, international movement supporting agricultural workers and small-scale, sustainable agriculture in general - food sovereignty is best understood as a people’s right to define their food system. This has been especially difficult in countries such as Mexico, which got the short end of the stick during the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, for short). The United States currently dumps its leftover, subsidized corn into the Mexican market at prices so low that traditional Mexican corn farmers can’t compete.
If you're a student here at Umass Amherst or in the 5 college interchange interested in learning about permaculture this is a great introduction. The class goes over permaculture principals, the design process and practical methods. This class itself is run using permaculture principals, using techniques like pair shares (getting into groups of two to discuss a topic or question) to integrate through sharing ideas and exchanging thoughts as well as using valuable renewable resources by having inspiring guest speakers talk about projects like the beehive collective or co-ops.
Incorporating Mushroom Logs into Your Garden: Mushroom Logs are a great way to add a sustainable touch to any garden. Whether you’re growing huge beds of wildflowers, or planting a personal harvest of veggies, adding Mushroom Logs inserts a unique and delicious tool in designing your garden. A Mushroom Log is exactly what you may think it is: __ A log __ with mushrooms growing out of it.
This perennial vegetable is so unknown that it doesn’t even have an agreed upon common name yet, but it could be the next big thing in forest gardening. Most English speakers simply call it by its scientific name Hablitzia tamnoides, but it is also known as Caucasian Spinach because it originated in the Caucasus, a region at the boarder of Europe and Asia, and it has leaves that can be used like spinach.
It’s that time of the year again - UMass is conducting Freshmen Orientation for the Class of 2017 for the next 5 weeks. As always, the Office of Parent Services is also offering Parents and Family Orientations simultaneously to ensure that the new UMass parents can learn as much as possible about the academic program and campus life and how to best support their student.
I’ve been on Cloud 9 since hearing the news that I was taking home a Silver Plate Award. Presented by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), the Silver Plate Awards are one of the oldest and most prestigious awards given to restaurant industry professionals who excel in their fields. It’s humbling that I took home the prize for the colleges and universities segment, which is one of the Silver Plate’s most-competitive categories.