students surrounding a garden bed

Mushroom Cultivation, Seed Propagation, and Composting Collaborations at St. Lawrence

Emma Arden ’22

“We had three hopes: to provide students with more practical skill-based professional development opportunities, provide Seed to Table professional support in permaculture and the governance of a community garden, and increase community opportunities and use of the sustainability program site,” says Sara Ashpole, associate professor of the environmental studies and faculty director of the Sustainability Program at St. Lawrence, about a unique new permaculture certification course opening to the entire community.

Permaculture is the practice of designing man-made systems that are based on natural systems. Sponsored by the Sustainability Program in partnership with Barefoot Ecological Design, a permaculture-based landscape design firm, the two-week-long permaculture design certification course included a variety of subjects including landscape design, climate change, aquaculture, and designing catastrophe-resilient environments. The inaugural course in April 2021 included 18 registrants representing St. Lawrence and Clarkson University students, members of faculty, and local community members. Participants learned skills such as pruning, planting, mushroom cultivation, water harvesting, seed propagation, composting, natural building, and more. By completing the course, students earned an internationally recognized permaculture design certification (PDC).