The Adrian Dominican Sisters have long been engaged, individually and communally, in efforts to protect the integrity of creation and bring about a more just, peaceful and compassionate world. The Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coordinates these efforts by bringing to light injustices and recommending ways to take action.

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"Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share"

The Adrian Dominican Sisters have implemented Permaculture on the Motherhouse campus in Adrian, Michigan. A contraction of “permanent” and “agriculture,” permaculture is an ethical design system for human habitations and land use that emphasizes sustainability, integration, and cooperation with, as opposed to domination of, natural systems. 

Started in 2012, the Permaculture Gardens are an evolving demonstration of over seven acres of mowed turf grass in restoration. Our goal is to return to an abundant, diverse, and healthy ecological system guided by the permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.

One example of our commitment to permaculture design is the construction of earthworks to slow, spread, and retain water on our site. This serves to re-hydrate the soil of our edible food forest, and naturally and passively filter storm water runoff. The earthworks include a series of berms, swales, and rain gardens. 

Building Resiliency: How Our Site Has Grown

  • There is an abundant inclusion of diverse edible perennial species, some of which include: asparagus, rhubarb, skirret, scorzonera, good king henry, ramps, sea kale, borage, comfrey, highbush cranberry, currants (red and black), service berry, northern pecan, chestnut, bladder nut, nectarine, pawpaw, peach, pear, apple, cherry, plum, and a myriad of raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry varieties.

  • Soil carbon sequestering practices such as vermicomposting, sheet mulching, hugel mounds, and windrow composting to convert all campus kitchen food scraps and leaves to rich compost.

  • Charlotte’s Web Community Garden – A 4,800 square foot, 20-plot, free community garden open to all.

  • Gaia Garden – An accessible raised bed garden with six wheelchair/walker/amigo accessible raised beds, and a permeable recycled asphalt surface.

  • Vegetable Cooperative – Eight raised beds made from repurposed wood. Vegetables here are grown by our Sisters using crop rotation and companion planting to ensure soil quality.

Looking to the Future:

  • Continue development of the edible food forest with increased accessibility and educational resources throughout the site. This includes installing permeable and recycled asphalt pathways to connect the entire site and putting educational signage throughout. 

  • Installation of rainwater harvesting structures for watering in our food forest and community garden. 

  • Development of home-scale regenerative agriculture demonstrations to inspire visitors to the Permaculture Gardens. 

  • A closer look at “Our Water Story” with a focus on water as sacred.





Click to view the September 2018 Growing Awareness enewsletter




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