New Lab Member: Anna Perry

Anna Perry joined our lab group, to work on the Building-Integrated Agriculture project that is a collaborative effort between the University of Oregon School of Architecture, OSU College of Agriculture, and WSU Western Center for Metro Extension and Research. Specifically, Anna will be studying the agriculture array that is located outside of the windows on the 5th floor of the PAE Living Building. The arrays currently struggle to produce crops, in part because they go through cycles of drought and over-irrigation.

Urban agriculture arrays sit outside of the 5th floor of the PAE living building. The arrays were originally planted with nursery pots that had water trays beneath them. The nursery pots have been replaced by larger ‘containers within a container’. The building managers have stated that water should not drain out of the rectangular containers. Water draining outside of the containers results in building stains and issues with a first floor ATM.
The arrays were replanted in 2024, to provide more space for soil/growing media. We will be following how plants perform, and will be tracking the soil temperature and moisture throughout the growing season.

Hey everyone! My name is Anna Perry and I use she/her or they/them pronouns. I’m an undergraduate in my final year here at OSU, where I am pursuing double degrees in Soil Science and Sustainability, a minor in Horticulture, and a certificate in Urban Agriculture

Anna, in her Corvallis garden.

Aside from my academic pursuits I also have been involved with Ten Rivers Food Web for the past 3 years, a local organization focused on the development of a resilient and sustainable local food system. I’m passionate about food as an unalienable human right, and believe that everyone deserves access to fresh food, regardless of their socio-economic standing.

I grew up in Davis, CA, where I was fortunate to be raised by a mom who is a fervent gardener. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have this background until I started volunteering at the OSU Organic Growers Club, where I found that most of my fellow students had never gardened before. As the “Berry Manager” for the club in 2022 I found a lot of joy in being part of my peers first exposures to caring for plants, and in eating the literal fruits of our labor.

Last summer I had the privilege of getting to visit Aotearoa/New Zealand for a short faculty-led study abroad. My experiences there prompted me to reevaluate my career and graduate school plans, and as a result I realized that my true interests were more interdisciplinary than I had previously realized. In my time in Aotearoa/New Zealand I became more aware of the effect culture has on land management and design decisions, and by proxy the effect culture can have on the ecological function of landscapes. This prompted a reinvigoration of a long dormant interest in landscape architecture, an area of study which I hope to one day pursue at the PhD level.

My research interests include sustainable urban horticulture/agriculture, building-integrated agriculture, urban soils, and gardens and landscapes as socio-ecological systems. Ultimately, I’m interested in how the land management and design decisions people make impact ecosystem function, especially when food production is involved.

In my (ever-shrinking!) free time I love making and sharing food with my friends and family, knitting, crocheting, gardening, and drinking my weight in tea.

I’m so excited to be the newest member of the Garden Ecology Lab, and for the opportunity to work with such a wonderful and supportive group!

Anna in Palm Springs.

3 thoughts on “New Lab Member: Anna Perry

  1. Let me know if you’d like to chat about my 0.5 acre permaculture food forest in suburban Camas, WA. I started it in 2008 and it is pretty much mature, though I am still working on a few things. I have 153 varieties of edible perennial plants. I don’t spray or fertilize, and I only water during extreme heat events. My main tasks are harvesting and pruning, I don’t need to do much else. But even those are optional :-). I would like to figure out a way to share/trade with others in my area, without me having to do all the harvesting. I also have a pretty large mason bee population (20-30k per year). Some random photos of my food forest:

  2. Wow Dave! It sounds like you’ve cultivated quite the magical space in suburbia. I gave your photo album a perusal and it looks gorgeous; I especially appreciate the highly detailed plans you’ve shared.

    Have you considered looking into any local “gleaner” organizations? I’m not familiar with any in Camas specifically, but I know there are a few in nearby Portland. If there is one in your area it could be an excellent way to help you cope with your abundant harvests!

    • Thanks Anna. There used to be a gleaner organization in Vancouver, but they found they were doing more driving than harvesting so it disbanded. Obviously we haven’t achieved “critical mass” yet. I do wonder if there could be a role for a “roving harvester” who develops relationships with people like you and me, and with restaurants and farmers markets. i.e. they harvest my (and your, and many other “urban farms”) surplus and sell it, as a way of supporting themselves.

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