The landscape at the OHIO Ecohouse is managed by the residents and a part-time Graduate Assistant in the Office of Sustainability. Past and present residents of the Ecohouse have worked diligently to invest in sustainable agricultural practices on the grounds.
Recently, in April 2012, a Permaculture Workshop was hosted at the OHIO Ecohouse where participants planned a permaculture design for the Ecohouse residence one weekend and implemented a portion of that plan the following weekend.
It is anticipated that the remaining design elements will continue to be implemented in the years to come.
The garden at the OHIO Ecohouse began as a resident project several years ago. In Fall 2011, residents worked with staff in the Office of Sustainability to transform the space into a campus community garden. A number of volunteers from across campus assisted with work days to clean up the space and build raised beds for students, faculty and staff who wished to "adopt" a plot. Plots are offered at no cost to any member of the campus community who is willing to agree to the Garden Rules.
In Fall 2012, the Ecohouse served as a living laboratory for the Food Cycle Service Learning Series. Faculty participating in the Common Experience Project on Sustainability were able to bring students to workshops where students learned how to harvest, prepare and preserve home grown produce. The canned food was then used in a free community meal in Nelsonville, Ohio made and served by Ohio University students.
In Spring 2013, garden plot adopters will be asked to work with the community by donating a tithe of their harvest to area food pantries. Office of Sustainability is currently working with various community organizations to develop a list of preferred produce for these donations and will offer plot adopters support and resources in order to arrange production and donation of these items.
The OHIO Ecohouse Community Garden is an organic garden; plot adopters are not able to use chemical fertilizers on any of the plots or surrounding area. This rule is put into place to uphold the mission of the OHIO Ecohouse as a living learning model on sustainable living. Chemical fertilizers are petroleum-based products that can have devastating impacts on local waterways. Chemical pesticides are also prohibited.
The Garden Manager Graduate Assistant from the Office of Sustainability works with garden plot adopters and volunteers to provide proper education on effective sustainable gardening practices. Any individuals or organizations affiliated with the university who are interested in adopting a plot may do so by completing the Garden Plot Application Form found in the left navigation bar. No experience necessary.
Many college students experience frustration with inefficient rental units during the winter months. Since most students rent their off-campus homes for a temporary amount of time, they are reluctant to make significant financial investments in upgrading their home's efficiencies. This causes energy bills to peak during the winter months and, in some cases, for students to be uncomfortable in their own home.
Ecohouse residents are encouraged to tackle the issue of weatherization each winter by engaging in the following activities:
Ohio University's Office of Sustainability has partnered with Sugarbush Foundation and COAD to offer OU students with workshops on energy efficiency practices in the home. These workshops are free to all OU students and will tackle many issues that renters confront in their homes, including those practices listed above. For a full listing of these workshops, check out the calendar of events available at www.ohio.edu/sustainability.