Free food, free booze, and a shed with boobs: meet BU’s Permaculture Society

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 Britain has fallen in love with gardening again. Balconies are abloom and scraps of grass now urban oases as lockdown restrictions have forced Brits to find their own slice of paradise at home. 

 Most of the world may be going back to the office and loading the car for staycations, yet the story is very different for students. Many have found themselves trapped in rooms hardly 10 by 6 ft, their universe furnished by nothing more than a bed and a desk. Lack of access to nature has been a hot topic during the first wave of Covid-19, and one BU’s Permaculture Society is very aware of. 

 “Often as a student… you don’t have a garden. You don’t have any outside space to call your own… That was one of the key drivers for this project- to try and get a space where anyone in the uni could grow food, to just be in nature.” 

A trip to Boulderwood, New Forest, funded entirely by plant sales.

 Having now won Most Sustainable Student Project and Society, the group have turned their eyes beyond their allotment shed, painted with a bare-breasted woman (much to the disapproval of the conservative locals), and seek to begin making a self-sustainable campus. 

 Free workshops on foraging, cider making, mulching, general gardening, and terrarium making are all first steps towards a greener and fairer campus, equipping students with skills to become self-sufficient. 

Ready for scrumpy season! Another successful free cider pressing workshop.

 “It’s free food, it’s a beautiful space. It’s good for your physical health, for your mental wellbeing- and there’s great people!” -Luci, society member

Permaculture is speculated to become 2021’s hottest gardening trend as local and national councils begin to seek ways to create more self-sufficient communities. Panic buying and restricted access to shops highlighted the need for locally grown goods earlier this year. Introducing young people to gardening may be the perfect solution for societal issues the pandemic bought to light. A new generation of gardeners could also minimise reliance on foreign imports, lower CO2 emissions, and help our local economies bloom.

A foraged bounty for a free and festive wreath making workshop.

 If you’d like to help atone for the sins of our throwaway society, join Permaculture Society for the happy sum of £4.20. No experience is required, just a willingness to partake and a passion for all things green. Happy mulching! 

All photos are courtesy of society members.