WASHINGTON PARK PERMACULTURE LEARNING GARDEN a project of Green Collar Futures in collaboratiun with: the Washington Park Association Hudson County, NJ the Dodge Foundation NJ YouthCorps March - June 2011 before ( E side/Forest Garden) after before ( SE corner/ Rain Garden) after before ( Eroded Slope/ Terraces ) after
process ( Passive Irrigation System )after The Green Collar Futures team designed & installed a rainwater harvesting system that effectively doubles to triples the rainfall available to the garden, by diverting vast amounts of pavement-runoff into swales that feed the plants in the garden. The most energy-efficient strategy to store water & irrigate land is in the ground itself. From here, our team requires county approval & assistance to trim curb height strategically to let even more water into the system. before ( Infra- structure, Classroom & Porch ) process after ( NW corner / Shady Classroom) before
after before ( Forest Garden Understories ) before after ( Maple Understory ) after before The Green Collar Futures teamwas active in the Learning Garden of Washington Park, as well as the ‘Tri-Park’, Park 4, andunder the trees beside the gazebos. ( Tri-Park Renovation )before after
June 30th marked the end of Green Collar Futures Apprenticeship Program & Phase 1Installation of the Permaculture Learning Garden. Some of our successes include:* The Permaculture Learning Garden’s system of terraces & 5 swales & berms now effectivelycaptures stormwater runoff from the paved gazebo area. There is no longer bank erosion bythe stairs, nor a waterfall on the stairs during rain events. In terrace area, we transformed aplace of severe soil erosion into an interconnected & planted ecosystem of vernal pools.Additionally, we have created a system of passive irrigation for all plantings.* All understories (shady areas under trees) in the PLG and beside the gazebos have beenmulched this year to ‘build’ the soil ecology of a natural, native forest, for next year’s plantings.* Placemaking in the park -- the transformation of a gently trafficked lawn into a dynamicpublic space with diverse opportunities & places to gather wherein. Flowers already deepenthe viewing experience, and will only grow in splendor (as we have seen in the Tri-Park & Park4). AND, we have preserved perfectly the community’s ability to traffic gently through thespace with their dogs, children, etc. In other words, we have only added.* There are few un-fenced community gardens in the region. We have boldly created thatwhich, holding true to our Goals Articulation, ‘Reflects local ideas about shared open space.’(following, is our full Goals Articulation, revisited)* We exhibited a great showing of adaptivity, using materials that were re-used & locallyavailable.* Garden will grow to provide upwards of hundreds and possibly thousands of pounds ofhealthy, safe, nutrient dense food to a neighborhood poor in fresh food options -- medicine,too.* We planted a complex ecosystem of plants designed to interrelate & support one another aswell as the garden over all, offering free & living erosion control, soil-building, beauty,protection & more.* A community-built ‘herb spiral’ - a living masonry sculptural of found stone & aromaticlavender - has been enjoyed and respected by the community for 11 weeks in the PLG.* Play area - we have a collection of stones in the adjacent ‘classroom’ circle that the membersof the community can and do play with daily.*Washington Park now boasts the first Permaculture Learning Garden in New Jersey, located inan easily accessible public park in a populous urban neighborhood, minutes from NYC.
WASHINGTON PARK PERMACULTURE LEARNING GARDEN MISSION -- PURPOSE The Washington Park Community Learning Garden empowers its home communities to serve themselves, through food & herbal medicinal education, and by cultivating visionary local leadership, land stewardship, and by creating pathways to access the unique & essential gifts in everyone. It serves also as a grounded & replicable model for neighboring parks & communi- ties.GARDEN GOALS (create/invite a place to gather, cultivate a culture of inclusivity)- We model transparency.- We share the useful with all in need.- We practice zero waste, seeing all as food & opportunity.- We engage community at every stage of garden planning, building & maintainance.- We foster a sense of place (and of belonging to place).- We reflect local ideas about shared open space -- asking, ‘What is shared open space to you?’.- We showcase the talents of local artists.- We grow useful plants for health & wellness.- We nurture community interests, values & inclusivity.- We ensure that all in the community may access garden with ease.- We create deep edges & healthy habitat for birds, bees, butterflies & other wildlife.- We empower local community, by fostering confidence, unity, strength, & resilience.- Garden serves community-based education initiatives, on-site & off-site.- Garden offers guidance on investment & vocation -- demonstrating myriad paths to success.- We offer garden as beautiful meeting place for community groups.- We create a safe space for being, working & collaborating.- We remember to celebrate one another & togetherness.- We engage youth as full participants.- We plan for youth & community leadership.