Hey Neighbour…what’s growing on?

Dr.Clinton Beckford and his garden behind the Ecohouse

As the Wildflower group has been working away in the garden the last few weeks over at the Ecohouse, so have our neighbours! Dr. Clinton Beckford, Associate Dean of the Faculy of Education, has started a vegetable garden in the backyard of the Ecohouse. We met up with him recently to get the scoop on what’s growing on. Dr. Beckford told us that he started the organic vegetable garden in hopes of other faculty of education members wanting to join in and help. His hopes and plans for the future of the garden involve creating a garden where children can learn and help with the process of where our food comes from. The maintenance of his garden involves using compost and natural manure and individual watering of the plants with the intention of conserving water. The vegetables they are growing include tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant, cucumber, a variety of sweet peppers and eventually spices and condiments. Dr. Beckford’s research area is in sustainable tropical food systems and security, so he is no stranger to the garden. He has worked with farmers in Jamaica and comes from a family of cultivators. It is so exciting to see the Windsor community getting green and healthy, especially when it is right in our own backyard!

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From Mind-Mapping to Reality

Creativity and innovation continue to flourish among greenhouse project team members. Beginning with the fundamental requirements of a greenhouse, the team developed several mind-maps branching out into regimes that would appear to have little to nothing to do with greenhouse design. From these branches a list of one hundred seemingly unrelated words was compiled, including terms such as: globalization, discovery, stereotype, fashion, rubber duck, waste, parachutes, community and non-profit. The group will take many of these terms and work to integrate the ideas into our design proposals.

Aside from turning the creative wheels, the entire team has been hard at work planning, designing and researching. By the midterm report on February 25, 2010, the team will be prepared to present five exterior design proposals along with proposed floor plans and options for sustainable systems integration. One of the proposed designs follows the theme of a lady bug as depicted. Elementary research will also be completed on recycled or renewable materials that may be used for construction as well as vegetable or herb crops with the optimum potential for output given the climate in Southwestern Ontario. An initial list of potential sources for project funding will also be identified.

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