Permaculture Design for Maine Schools and Educators

Increase the benefits and successes of any school garden or agriculture program by being more “designful!” The Resilience Hub would love to support your school in creating a robust and inclusive plan for your campus – or even just one part of your campus.  Creating goals, including more voices or “stakeholders,” exploring possibilities and making group decisions can directly lead to a sense of your whole school community moving together toward success!

Participatory Design

Let’s face it: school garden programs have many potential benefits and “yields” ranging from food and nutritional outputs to ecological literacy and experiential links to all kinds of curriculum.  And, of course, school programs have their own challenges or design constraints (or design “parameters” as we like to think of it).  Schools often present complex “social landscapes” or perhaps even a culture of scarcity-thinking (“We don’t have enough resources!”).  How can we work together in spite of these complexities to design our way toward abundance-thinking?

Desctop screenshotAllow us to help facilitate a comfortable process of bringing teachers, administrators, students, parents and other school staff and volunteers together to design not just the tangible elements of your school garden program, but also help work through any concerns or obstacles to program success!  The more people are involved in creating the plan and the design, the more likely the entire program can meet your goals.

We use a flexible Permaculture Design process based on the ethics of earth care, people care and fair share/future care.  This is a very participatory design process that honors the wisdom of natural systems and the humans embedded in them (that’s you!).  We work with more than thirty design clients each year and are excited to work with more schools to help them meet their goals!

Design Help For Schools Can Include:
  • Goals articulation and visioning, taking many different viewpoints into account.  Why are we doing this and what are the desired outcomes?
  • Assessing and analyzing site conditions (with students and teachers as a learning opportunity, if you like!)
  • Eliciting everyone’s best vision for what the space could be and how it could function to support the school’s mission and culture.
  • Ensuring that as many primary voices as possible are involved in the design process (no matter how robust or abridged a process you choose).
  • Creating professional and inspiring drawings of the space we have all co-created together, along with supporting plant lists, vendor recommendations, phasing suggestions, and more.
  • Facilitating design labs, slide shows, movie nights, field trips (to raise awareness) as well as coaching groups through complex decision-making processes.
  • Curriculum support to link the elements of the design to educational goals and metrics.
  • Engagement support, to bring more members of the local community into your work.

MCWS Concept Maps.pdf Google DrivePlease get in touch with us to talk about how our experienced team can support your school or school garden project in Maine or southern New Hampshire.  Let’s design the world we know is possible!

Some recent multi-stakeholder clients include Maine Coast Waldorf School, Traip Academy, Falmouth Schools, Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church.

How does The Resilience Hub get compensated for working with schools?  Historically, schools have secured outside funding (grants, gifts, etc.) to help cover the costs of working with us.  However, we are looking for two or three schools to pilot a new funding model in 2016-2017 to co-apply with us to foundations in order to create a pool of funds that can be used to support permaculture in schools around Maine.  If you are involved with a school and interested in talking more about this pilot project for funding permaculture in Maine schools, please contact Julie McLeod (julie@resiliencehub.org or 207-370-7697).