Michael Veracka’s teaching interests and design practice focus on sustainable design, edible landscaping and the adaptive reuse of urban spaces. From 2006 until September 2022 Michael served as an Associate Professor within the Department of Urban Horticulture & Design at Farmingdale State College. While at Farmingdale Michael created The Sustainable Garden, a one-half acre demonstration garden within the department’s Teaching Gardens focusing on contemporary strategies and practices relating to responsible resource use, conservation and innovation, product development and food production. In 2013 SUNY designated this garden as one of “Six Big Ideas, With Unlimited Potential,” highlighting the garden as an example of the Power of SUNY.
Within his work as Director of the Sustainable Garden Michael created and organized the following conferences:
Sponsored by the Sustainable Garden at Farmingdale State College
Reclaim Your Turf: Designing Sustainable Landscapes
Saturday April 14, 2018
Conference description: Demand for ecologically beneficial landscapes is increasing, but there are few built examples on Long Island one can use as models for inspiration and replication. Five separate presentations offered attendees how-to-acquire-practical design, restoration, and management techniques, and discover new ways to grow their skills and businesses, all consistent with reverence for the Earth. Talks presented included “Finding Your Niche: Establishing an Ecological Focus;” “Reclaiming the American Residential Front Yard;” “Designing the Resilient Lawn;” “Rainwater: Don’t Let it Go Down the Drain;” “Growing Mushrooms in Your Backyard”
Flower Power: Growing and Designing With Flowers for All Seasons – March 25, 2015
This daylong event, the 5th annual educational field day within the
Sustainable Garden, showcased our department’s commitment to Long Island’s influential floriculture and landscape industry. Presentations within this conference examined why locally
grown flowers historically fell out of favor; why the growth of international flower markets dominates the industry; and what opportunities exist for the local production and marketing of flowers. The conference featured an array of regional and national speakers who are experts in
their chosen fields: growers and farmers, floral and landscape designers, marketers and entrepreneurs, scientists and historians.
“Waste Not Want Not,” April 12, 2014
This 4th annual educational field day event within the Sustainable Garden incorporated an art gallery and lecture presentations featuring renowned speakers discussing sustainable landscape design and
horticultural topics and the restoration of historic campus buildings, and a fundraising plant sale.
“Products from the Garden,” April 13, 2013
This 3rd annual educational field day event within the Sustainable Garden included a lecture/workshop program incorporating 7 presentations featuring renowned speakers lecturing on a variety of sustainable
landscape design and horticultural topics focusing on product harvesting and development, and a
fundraising plant sale.
“Bamboo: Every Plant Has Its Rightful Place,” October 19,
2012, Little Theater, Roosevelt Hall, Farmingdale State College
This daylong conference brought together growers, designers, legislators and property owners to discuss the ongoing controversy of bamboo plantings within Long Island communities.
“Home Grown Food: Planning and Planting the Abundant
Landscape,” April 20, 2012
This 2nd annual educational field day within the Sustainable
Garden included a lecture/workshop program featuring renowned speakers lecturing on a variety
of sustainable edible design and horticultural topics, and a fundraising plant sale.