Jennie Bergeron

Hi, my name is Jennie Bergeron and I am a Francis Perkins Scholar at MHC. I am an Environmental Studies major, with a Nature, Culture, History concentration and English minor. My academic pursuits are interdisciplinary and include History, English,Cultural Anthropology, Botany/Agriculture,  Human Ecology and Environmental Philosophy. I write poetry and short story. I have always wanted to be a reenactor of past times working in gardens and have long been interested in the Renaissance. I am a certified herbalist and enjoy building and creating gardens at my home for food, as well as medicine.

I am embarking on the Renaissance cottage garden project because I believe it is important to learn from the past, as we may need to use and adapt skills from the past into our ever-changing future on planet Earth. I believe that we need to grow food as close to home as possible and am eager to learn how people of the late middle ages grew their own food in cottage/ kitchen gardens. What did they grow and how did they design/tend the land? How did the common folk sustain families, were they relatively healthy and what did there diets consisted of? I am also thinking about the later side-what they cooked with the food from these gardens. I am eager to find answers to these questions and am excited to work with everyone in this collaborative project. I would like to be a part of the garden construction, plant work, etc. in the spring.

You can view my research HERE

Madeline Devanney

Hi, I’m Madeline and I’m a Junior in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture Sustainable Food & Farming program. My hometown is in the beautiful Berkshire hills of Becket, Massachusetts. My favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night, or What You Will.

I became involved with this project because I wanted to apply my knowledge of botanicals in a real-world setting while strengthening my design prowess. I am passionate about this program because it serves our community while allowing us students to leave our (positive) mark on the land.

I am drawn to studying pre-Columbian European gardens partly because of my English/Irish/Dutch heritage. The traditional cuisine of Britain isn’t the most decadent, but I’m interested in the diet of my people before corn.

I look forward to working with you all and cracking open some ancient manuscripts!

Follow my research @ http://made1ine.wordpress.com/

For my final report, see: rosesreport

Aaron Drysdale

Hey folks. My name is Aaron Drysdale and I’m a student of Sustainable Food & Farming at UMass. I interested in learning how families and communities supported themselves (and each other) before the industrial revolution and hope that by looking backward we will find a solution to our current predicament – oil addiction, climate change, waste, ecological illiteracy, unconsciousness, isolation… I am wary of technological solutions and believe that sustainable solutions are ones that work ecologically and are more likely to be found within our past and the past of other cultures.

I am excited about digging into the Renaissance period in Europe and looking at the working family. I feel we have this image of Renaissance Europe being all about wealth and pageantry and ‘enlightenment’ but I don’t have any idea how the working class lived before they were shoved onto the assembly lines. I love reading and learning about history. This is a great opportunity to indulge myself while maintaining a focus on gardening, food, and community systems. I look forward to sharing what I find and collaborating with the group.

You can follow my research here.

For my report on growing hops, see: Hopps

Abby Hally

I am a junior and my major is Environmental Design. I have always been interested in gardening. My parents are avid flower and vegetable gardeners so my interest in this subject has developed because of them. I also worked at a garden center for two years before I left for college. I am interested in learning about the techniques people used to garden in an era where pesticides and machinery weren’t used. I am looking forward to further my knowledge in Renaissance gardening.

To follow Abby’s work go to An Exploration of Renaissance Gardens.

For her final report go to Renaissance Summary on Strawberries by Abby Hally.

Paula Mugnani

Hello! My name is Maria Paula, but most people find it easier to just call me Paula. I am a student at Mount Holyoke College majoring in Environmental Studies with a conservation concentration. My academic foci are on ecology, botany and field research, which give me plenty of excuses to be outside poking around in ecosystems, which I love to do!

Some of my greatest passions besides environmental studies are history, writing and agriculture so I am looking forward to combining these things and collaborating with everyone on this exciting project. I have had a couple of experiences combining these things, for example interning at the Old Sturbridge Village Museum as a historical interpreter and co-managing my college’s student garden. I have always been fascinated by the Middle Ages, so I am looking forward to researching the time period in an agricultural techniques context. With the way our modern agricultural system is going, it is especially important to look back to experience the evolution of food and plants. I am hoping to assist with the active application of this project in the spring. Looking forward to working with you this semester!

See my research here!

For my final report, see: Final Renaissance ReportPaula

Eliza Skakel

Hello!  My name is Eliza Skakel, and I am currently a senior at Mount Holyoke College majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Nature, History and Culture.  I am from Vermont and was raised in the outdoors.  My father was a forester and my mother kept extensive vegetable and flower gardens; an interest in the natural world was instilled in me at a young age.

After taking a botany course last year I became very interested in the local flora and fauna of the Pioneer Valley, and the common names that often inform what the plants were once used for (service berry, blooms in the spring when the ground has thawed enough to perform funeral services).  I am excited to reveal whether this naming trend is also apparent in English garden plants both pre and post Columbus.

This project perfectly mirrors my interests and compliments my major.  I am very excited to participate and will enjoy exploring our final product.

Follow my research here (http://historicalgardening.wordpress.com/)

And for a copy of my final report, see: KitchenGardenReport.

I also created this short report on wattle fencing.  See: WattleFencing