Grow your own: Le Rosey’s steps towards self-sufficiency

For several years, Le Rosey has been investigating ways that it can increase the school’s sustainability, reducing carbon impact and utilising local resources. With the assistance of agricultural organisation Terre & Humanisme, our landscaping team is currently transforming the field behind the school to prepare it for permaculture, which will provide in time the Rosey community with its own seasonal organic fruit and vegetables, simply steps away from the dining room.

Initial activity is being focused in one corner of the 10,000m2 plot, which has been ploughed into a Mandala formation, a series of concentric plant beds where crops are rotated season upon season. This structure encourages a self-contained ecosystem, local pollination and the most effective use of space within a contained area. The remaining land will be planted with cereal crops and manure to naturally condition and improve the soil quality, eventually enlarging the Mandala and permitting permaculture across the whole terrain. The field will also house its own water reservoir, chilled storage container, teaching garden and reflective space for use by the students.

The school intends to grow over 40 different types of fruits and vegetables, according to season and without the use of pesticides. This is particularly important due to our proximity to the lake, and will allow clean surface run-off during wetter weather, reducing lake pollution from harmful farming chemicals.

A dual environmental and pedagogical approach to agriculture, this project encapsulates Le Rosey’s holistic vision of education: students will be able to engage with the land across multiple subjects, including geology, geography and biology, whilst also learning first-hand where their food comes from and the different stages required for cultivation from seed to harvest.

Permaculture photo 1Permaculture photo 2