AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – It can take a number of gallons of gas to mow a field but lecturers are hoping you might consider a much cuter alternative. A small flock of sheep traveled to UMass Amherst from Hadley Farms for a student-led, collaborative, reimagining of the campus land and how it is valued.
Sustainable EweMass, a demonstration of sustainable land management, was held on Friday and Saturday at the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies meadow. This isn’t just to bring about a moment of peace, lecturers at UMass Amherst hope this will open your eyes to what sustainability using sheep can look like.
“A lawn mower just cuts the grass. Sheep produce wool, they produce meat, they produce milk, they add benefit to the soil and so they work on many levels,” said UMass Amherst Lecturer Meg Vickery.
They can also be used in a variety of settings. Like golf courses, solar fields or vineyards.
“Areas that are relatively lush with grasses primarily that allow sheep to roam a bit are probably good choices,” said UMass Amherst Lecturer Kelly Klinger.
While the sheep graze, Librarian Jeff Goodhind is inside the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies explaining the many examples in which sheep have been referenced across literature, “Some agricultural manuals here… ‘What You Want to do with Sheep and How to Raise Them.'”
Doctor Liz Fox said with literature, art and well… sheep, this event explores how they’re all related, “Students, researchers, scholars and the public can come look at the materials that we have in the collection. Be inspired by and work with the landscape here to create those connections between past and present.”
The two-day public series of events will include workshops on terroir, an art exhibit called “Mapping Terroir: Memory & Myth,” by Andrea Caluori, a wool-dying demonstration, and more.
“Sustainable EweMass is meant to be a community conversation about how we use and care for our shared lands,” says UMass Amherst wildlife conservation lecturer, Kelly Klingler. “This interdisciplinary project offers us an opportunity to consider how we might employ sustainable and traditional forms of land management while also promoting inclusive access to green spaces which we know are critical to the health and well-being of our community members.”
Sustainable EweMass will take place on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies meadow in Amherst.