Tag Archives: green living

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Bringing Farms to Arizona Cities

Green living innovator Greg Peterson has an idea of bringing 10,000 urban farms into big cities of Arizona.

By creating farms closer to homes in large cities, fresh foods are more readily available to help create a healthier way of living.

Peterson, contributing writer for Phoenix Magazine and Edible Phoenix, began gardening 35 years ago when he realized the importance of growing your own food.

“Stress, environmental toxins, and lack of nutrition contribute to disease. We can control the quality of the food were eating,” Peterson said. The diagnosis of a tremor causing one of Peterson’s hands to shake “spun” him into learning more about health.

Peterson’s idea of the Urban Farm began after he transformed his backyard into an entirely edible landscape with over 70 fruit trees, three solar applications, and recycled building materials. The site is open to the public and offers tours and classes on how to garden and farm.

Most of the food bought at major grocery store chains travels an average of 1500 miles before it reaches shelves to be purchased, Peterson explains. This means that fruits and vegetables have to be picked before they are ready, leaving people with a limited amount of nutrients in their diets.

Restaurants located in bigger cities are beginning to garden and farm on site of their locations. Pizzeria Bianco and The Parlor, both located in Phoenix, have fresh menu items by growing their ingredients on the restaurant’s property.

Fruits and vegetables are more power packed with nutrients when they are grown and sold closer to homes in urban areas because they don’t have to be picked so far ahead of time for long destinations. Food is healthier for people when it doesn’t have to travel as far.

The hot, sunny weather in Arizona sometimes makes it difficult to maintain a garden or farm, let alone do this in bigger city areas of the state. Tim Blank, a man who works directly with the Department of Energy and NASA, has created a product called the “Tower Garden” to grow fresh food in any environment.

The “Tower Garden” is an environmentally friendly product that uses 90 percent less water in growing plants. Ongoing drought problems in the state of Arizona makes conserving water an important issue.

Nutrition educator and Tower Garden owner, Ellen Stecker, grows tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and cilantro with the product on her property at home.

Tower Gardens are so popular, that they have been featured on ABC news, CNN, and the New York Times. This invention is an important tool that helps bring gardening closer to homes in the city.

With his idea of creating 10,000 urban farms in Phoenix, Peterson says that the Tower Garden inspires healthy living.

Arizona Solar Center, Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

Arizona Solar Center Hosts Solar Lecture Series

Making your home energy efficient and sustainable will help the environment and your pocketbook in the long run. But, knowing how and where to begin can be a daunting task with the different types of green technology. You may ask, what is the difference between passive solar and active solar? Should I build or remodel with earthen plaster or straw bales? How much can I save by using these sustainable adaptations in my home? To help you out, the Arizona Solar Center is hosting a solar lecture series on home improvement that is free and open to the public.

These questions will be answered during the Arizona Solar Center’s Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability on October 20 and the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours October 22 & 23.

Arizona Solar Center Solar Lecture Series and Building Tour

President of the Arizona Solar Center, Dan Aiello, is excited to have Mick Dalrymple, from the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, host the Solar and Sustainability lecture on October 20. Dalrymple will discuss sustainable modifications and renovations that he implemented on his own home, such as the incorporating green building materials, equipment and lighting. Dalrymple’s goal is to attain zero energy dependency, Aiello says.

“[Dalrymple] has a bunch of examples that people can relate to because we all live in something,” Aiello says. “His presentation will be, ‘this is what I did, this is why I did this, and this worked and this didn’t work.’ [The lecture] is something people can come to and take information away on what’s appropriate for the desert, energy efficient and environmentally appropriate.”

The lecture will lead into the Solar and Sustainable Buildings Tours that weekend. The tour’s downloadable guide will be available on the Arizona Solar Center website. The sites on the tour will include:

  • An artist’s studio/residence in Mesa created from recycled materials,
  • The upper part of the loft is constructed from an old Volkswagen bus,
  • Scottsdale homes that include passive/active solar technologies,
  • Water catchment,
  • Straw bale constructions, and
  • Green architecture, as well as homes in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

“If we plan our buildings right we get enough sun [in Arizona], even in the winter, to warm our houses,” Aiello says. “We can use the sun to heat water; generate electricity or any number of things.”

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Solar Lecture Series: Solar and Sustainability – My Way – with Mick Dalrymple

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

2011 Valley of the Sun – Tour of Solar and Sustainable Buildings

Saturday & Sunday, October 22 & 23, 2011
8 a.m.

Location:
City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Facility
Granite Reef Rd., just north of the intersection of Granite Reef and McDowell roads

Free and open to the public.

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Check out the Arizona Solar Center events calendar for more information on the upcoming solar lecture series and solar tour as well as other events.