I'm lucky enough to have an opportunity to talk to the school about edible landscaping for the whole school grounds in addition to a school garden. I am a complete newbie at this but my passion is strong!
What materials could I bring forth to them that would help sway our position. What would you do if you were given this opportunity?
Lovage--a perennial herb that tastes like celery. Gets tall
parsley--not a perennial, but it self-seeds
Mint or lemonbalm for an area that is contained. It spreads! one could do a bunch of different types of mints: orange mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm. Plant them all in one area for a lovely smelling, pretty ground cover
Talk about how these plants feed wildlife as well as students and pollinators. And how they help kids get more nutrition than they might at home, as they are fresh and also they are far more nutrient dense than pizza a mac&cheese. The higher nutrients will help with brain function. The smells of the edible plants will make the campus more inviting. Talk about how plants would need to be planted--the money might as well be spent on things that are multipurpose!
Yes yes and yes to everything Nicole said! I was thinking over a response after reading your post but by the time I figured out what i wanted to say Nicole already said it all and then some. I'd try to think low maintenance, attractive and tasty also it would be cool to incorporate edibles that were native to your region to get kids thinking about what they can eat all around them. What an awesome opportunity!
I agree with all plants suggested above. I am working on a food forest at College of the Redwoods in Crescent City, CA (the SW of the NW) and will enjoy learning from your experience. I also would strongly recommend researching and experimenting with hugelkulture (soil on woody debris), and deep mulching with wood chips. These mimicks the native ecosystem and utilize an abundant wastestream of wood that often is burned one way or another in the nw. They both can inexpensively improve your soil immensely, reduce water usage and irrigation, sequester carbon and reduce fuel loads in forests. Also, combined with food waste from your cafeteria and coffee from the faculty lounge and local coffee shops, you are in a great situation at a school to compost by combining these with woody debris and leaves. All these things are great educational opportunities for science, math, social studies and even English classes as well as a way to spread knowledge of soil building and food production in the community. Well done getting this far and good luck!
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
These are really good thought-provoking ideas. I am trying to get my presentation together so I can incorporate a whole system of using up waste as a resource as well. Yes to wood chips and food waste!
In my reading it feels like the downfall of any system is having somebody to maintain the system and keep nurturing it along. I read some good ideas but does anybody have experience of something that work really well?
Thank you very much for the thoughts you all are coming up with ! Thought streams that I haven't thought to incorporate before of course I love all native plants but I didn't think about adding it in here.
With this new school addition they're going to be opening up a huge Hillside of land for science exploration and other topics. So that would be a great tie in to have the plants be closer for them to see on the school grounds.
This is so exciting! I am encouraged by your input!
Carma Nykanen wrote:In my reading it feels like the downfall of any system is having somebody to maintain the system and keep nurturing it along. I read some good ideas but does anybody have experience of something that work really well?
Thank you very much for the thoughts you all are coming up with !
In permaculture, often we discover that the solution is right there with the problem, requiting only a change in perspective. Weeds being edible and chop and drop compost being an obvious example.
I am wondering if recognizing that kids are dealing with more anxiety and depression is a problem that would be easy to turn into a solution. Scientific studies have found that putting your hands in the soil acts like an antidepressant. So this landscape will need care. deep mulch makes weeding easy and herbicides unnecessary. Have landscape work days for fun or overseen work for "behavioral correction situations" and you end up with a free, beneficial, win/win care system.