UMass Permaculture & Student-Run Farmers’ Market | Connecting Point | Oct. 16, 2019
Articles,  Blog

UMass Permaculture & Student-Run Farmers’ Market | Connecting Point | Oct. 16, 2019


>>>THE UNIVERSITY OF
MASSACHUSETTS AT AMHERST HAS JOINED A SELECT FEW COLLEGE
CAMPUSES NATIONWIDE IN HOSTING THEIR OWN STUDENT RUN FARMERS’
THIS FALL, THE OUTDOOR EVENT WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY
AFTERNOONS UP UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE THANKSGIVING
HOLIDAY BREAK. CONNECTING
POINT’S BRIAN SULLIVAN MET UP WITH SOME OF THE STUDENTS AND I
TO GET A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE WORK THAT’S DONE
BEFORE THE PRODUCE MAKES ITS WAY TO THE VENDING TABLES.>>LOCATION, THE EAST POND
LAWN ON THE U-MASS AMHERST CAMPUS. THE DATE, OCTOBER 4, WHICH MAY
HAVE BEEN THE FIRST WINDY FRIDAY OF THE NEW FALL
SEASON. THE EVENT, THE STUDENT-RUN
FARMER’S MARKET, WHICH THIS SEMESTER STARTED ON FRIDAY THE h
IN SEPTEMBER AND WILL CONTINUE EACH FRIDAY BETWEEN THE HOURS
OF 12 AND 4:00 P.M. UNTIL THE 1h
OF NOVEMBER. THE FEELING OF SEEING FELLOW
CLASSMATES AND FACULTY PURCHASING AND ENJOYING THAT
CHAFFS DELIVERED TO THE VENDOR TABLES, THAT’S BEST DESCRIBED
BY THE STUDENTS WHO DID THE DELIVERING?>>IT’S VERY TOUCHING TO SEE
EVERYONE SUPEREXCITED BY THE FOOD YOU GROW, ESPECIALLY AT A
UNIVERSITY. IT’S LIKE THERE’S SOMETHING
SPECIAL ABOUT A TON OF STUDENTS THAT COME THROUGH,
THEY GET BAGS FULL OF VEGETABLES, I LOVE THAT. DEFINITELY LIKE EMBODIES ALL
THE VALUES, YOU KNOW.>>TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION
THAT THIS IS FARM WORK BEING DONE BY FULL-TIME ACADEMIC
STUDENTS.>>WE’RE RUNNING A 35-ACRE
FARM 15 HOURS A WEEK, SO WE HAVE TO BE ON THE TOP OF OUR
GAME. IT’S AN INCREDIBLE —
INCREDIBLY FUN EXPERIENCE, THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE LIKE
IT. SO I THINK WE ARE ALL INVESTED
IN THIS FARM AND EACH OTHER.>>THAT INVESTMENT GOES BEYOND
JUST SETTING UP THESE TABLES. OR LOADING THE TRUCK TO GO TO
MARKET OR EVEN THE LABOR INTENSIVE WASHING AND PACKING
OF THE PRODUCE. NO, THAT INVESTMENT STARTS IN
THE EARLY MORNINGS HERE AT 961 NORTH PLEASANT STREET IN THE
FARM FIELDS ON THE OUTER PERIMETER OF CAMPUS. MOTHER NATURE WAS NICE ENOUGH
TO PROVIDE THIS LAYER OF THICK FOG FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT. BUT THIS FARM AND ALL OF ITS
ACTIVITIES ARE ONLY ONE HALF OF THE EQUATION.>>THE STUDENT-RUN FARMERS’
MARKET IS A COLLABORATION WHERE EVERYBODY ON THE
LANDSCAPE IS EDIBLE.>>AND THE PERM A CULTURE
INITIATIVE WHICH IS A DESIGN SYSTEM FOR CREATING EDIBLE
LANDSCAPES. LIKE THIS GARDEN HERE BEHIND
THE FRANKLIN COMMONS DINING HALL. STARTED BACK IN 2010 THE
PROGRAM’S GOAL WAS TO CONVERT PLOTS LIKE THIS INTO LOW
MAINTENANCE AND REP LIWHAT GARDENS. ALL THE WHILE PRODUCING FOR
HUMAN NEEDS. SO WHAT DOES THAT ALL MEAN?>>WE ARE BUILDING SOIL AND
REGENERATING RESOURCES IN A WAY THAT A FOREST OUR SAVANNAH
WOULD. WE ARE BUILDING SOIL FROM THE
TOP DOWN. WE HAVE MULTIPLE LAYERS OF
PLANTS, WE FOCUS A LOT ON PERENNIAL PLANTS, PLANTS THAT
COME BACK YEAR AFTER YEAR, NUT TREES, PERENNIAL VEGETABLES,
SO WE HAVE OVER 200 SPECIES OF PLANTS GROWING IN THIS ONE
QUARTER ACRE GARDEN. THE MAJORITY OF WHICH ARE
EDIBLE, MANY OF WHICH ARE MEDICINAL. THE OTHERS HAVE OTHER
FUNCTIONS, POLLENATES AND OTHER WILDLIFE.>>SCATTERED AROUND THIS AREA
ARE STRATEGICALLY REPLACED REMINDERS OR PRINCIPLES ABOUT
WHAT IS BEING DONE WITH THIS LAND AND WHY. MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE FARM,
STUDENTS REAP WHAT’S BEEN SOWED ON LAND THAT WAS TILLED,
AS IMPORTANT AS THE FARMER’S MARKET, IT’S ONLY ONE STOP OF
MANY. THEY ARE GROWING FOR THE
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE PROGRAM OR CSA,
WHICH PROVIDES THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY WITH FRESH ORGANIC
PRODUCE EVERY WEEK ON FRIDAYS DURING THE FALL SEMESTER. WHILE THE PERMA CULTURE
PROGRAM RECEIVES FUNDING THROUGH THE SCHOOL’S
INITIATIVE, WHATEVER PROFITS ARE MADE FROM SALES WILL GO
RIGHT BACK INTO THE FARM. THAT MEANS THESE YOUNG FARMERS
HAD BETTER TURN A PROFIT OR THERE WON’T BE A PROGRAM TO
COME BACK TO. WHO BETTER TO GUIDE THEM
THROUGH THIS ENTERPRISE THAN SOMEONE WHO LIVES IT HERSELF.>>IN MY PERSONAL LIFE, THIS
IS LIKE WHAT I EAT, BREATHE AND SLEEP. WHICH IS THE ESSENCE OF
FARMING. I THINK THAT IS TRUE FOR ALL
OF THEM. IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO TEACH
THEM ABOUT THIS CAREER, IT’S REALLY A LIFESTYLE, IT’S NOT
SOMETHING THAT YOU GO TO WORK AND COLLECT A PAYCHECK, THAT’S
REALLY NOT WHAT IT’S ABOUT.>>IT’S POSSIBLE THERE ARE
SOME STUDENTS JUST GETTING THEIR DEGREES, AND THEY MAY
NOT MAKE THIS THEIR CAREER CHOICE, IT’S ALSO POSSIBLE
THERE’S AN EVEN BIGGER EXPERIENCE TO BE HAD IN THE
HERE AND NOW THAN JUST GROWING, HARVESTING, PACKAGING
AND SELLING THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR.>>THIS GIVES THEM A
POSSIBILITY TO BE THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT THAT’S
HAPPENING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, EVERYBODY NEEDS TO
EAT.>>EVERYBODY NEEDS FOOD.>>WE ARE NOT JUST FOCUSING ON
ENVIRONMENTALISM HERE, WE ARE FOCUSING ON HUMAN
RELATIONSHIPS AND REBUILDING A WAY OF LIFE I THINK IS A
LITTLE BIT CLOSER TO THE WAY HUMANS HAVE EVOLVED OVER TIME
AS WELL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *