On Thursday, November 2, senior Davy Brooks shared their ongoing work to redesign the Harley Micro-Farm as part of an independent study with Lisa Barker, Food and Farm Coordinator. On the heels of being part of the current and former student panel on sustainability for the October Commons Series event, Davy demonstrated their continuing investment in all things pertaining to environmental sustainability and food.
The presentation was shared with Harley faculty, administration, fellow students (Seth O’Bryan’s discrete math class), and people from outside of Harley who are involved in small scale farming as well as local food distribution and businesses. Davy began by showing how the Harley Micro-Farm has traditionally been designed (long mounded rows with a few fruit trees), explaining the limitations on growing space that approach presented, as well as the challenge of maintenance. Historically, the growing space of the garden has been around 1750 square feet. Below are photos of what the Harley Micro-Farm used to look like, and then an aerial shot of the garden fully cleared and tilled.
Davy then shared how their thinking evolved from initial designs, considering both aesthetics and productivity/efficiency, to more fully realized designs informed by research and comparative data. With the goal of utilizing more growing space and making the space more aesthetically fun, Davy’s two final designs increase the growing space to over 3600 square feet, allow for more planting variety (perennials, permaculture, “patches” vs. rows, grade-level assigned areas, etc.) and more engagement (labyrinth). The program used to render the design was Sketch Up, 3D modeling software.
After presenting their designs and the thinking behind the driving decisions, Davy fielded questions from the audience ranging from what will be planted, irrigation, maintenance, to accessibility and animal/insect considerations. The response from the audience was positive, even when asked to consider ALL of the math-based questions which could be drawn from the garden layout.