An edible forest takes root at Peckham Farm
Recent URI graduate Tyler Desmarais approached several university departments, including the Office of Sustainability and the Provost’s office, in search of funding for the design and development of an edible forest garden on campus. In his introduction to the proposal, Desmarais argues that the present system of factory farming contributes to greenhouse gas generation, uses fossil fuels “and is the number-one culprit contributing to climate change and destabilization and is also the number one catalyst to global extinction rates.” He also cites the honey bee population collapse, the decline in phytoplankton population, the shrinking ice caps, fish population declines and loss of the rain forests as all tied into the using of “industrial totalitarian agriculture to try to synthetically sustain a human population that has exceeded its planet’s carrying capacity.”
Desmarais’ solution—something called permaculture.
“The ultimate goal of the permaculturalist is to design and establish edible forest gardens. Edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting perennial plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge beneficial relationships that mimic those found in nature, creating a garden ecosystem that is greater than the sum of its parts. With permaculture, we can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms other useful plants, and animals in a way that heals and nurtures the soils and ecosystems they are a part of.”