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A design for a forest garden at the Clark Art Institute creates a living demonstration of the art of nature.

Clark Art Institute Forest Garden, Williamstown MA

Set within the grounds of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, Regenerative Design Group’s plan for an Edible Forest Garden provocatively demonstrates the potential for food production using innovative, sustainable practices in low-energy, regenerative systems. The Forest Garden concept embodies a strong connection between agriculture and ecology and the art of a new land interpretation program on the campus.

The Clark Art Institute is known for its high quality art collections, distinguished center for research and education, and beautiful, pastoral 140-acre campus. As part of a campus expansion, the Clark invited Regenerative Design Group to work together with Michael Singer Studios in a landscape design collaboration that included producing plans for a productive forest garden.

The proposed Edible Forest Garden grows at the intersection of art, agriculture, and nature. Elements of the design were drawn from paintings from the Clark’s collection, like the pollarded trees painted by Vincent Van Gogh. The patterns of the plants and paths are designed for production and invite exploration, but are organized to mimic a natural woodland community. This blurring of boundaries between nature and agriculture, wilderness and city, the aesthetic and the practical embody an agriculture of an earlier time- one that is grounded in place, responds to the land, and is alive with its natural communities.

Key Features

  • Multi-layer food forest
  • Interpretive trail through woodlands and meadows
  • Productive conservation butter
  • Wetland restoration
  • Educational and historical elements
  • Silvopasture edge
  • Pollarded orchard

Services Provided

  • Site assessment
  • Visioning with institution
  • Conceptual schematics design
  • Planting plan
  • Graphic renderings
  • Visual materials
  • Management recommendations

The Clark’s mission and its geographical location define three essential aspects of its character and identity: the quality of its art, the beauty of its pastoral setting, and the depth of its commitment to the generation of ideas.

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