So for the past few weeks, I've been volunteering for some community projects during my free time on the weekends. They are two separate projects but both share similar qualities.
The first project is called Valley of the Sunflowers. Basically an empty, 2 acre, dirt lot in downtown Phoenix is slowly being converted into a field of beautiful sunflowers. Each Saturday morning volunteers are welcome to lend a hand in cleaning up this lot for planting.
I've shoveled dirt for hours, walked through lots of mud, installed temporary sprinkler systems, planted sunflowers, shoo-ed pigeons and met a lot of great new people.The really cool thing about this project is that it is partnered with the Phoenix Bio Science High School, which is located right next to the field. The sophomore class will be harvesting the sunflowers and producing biodiesel fuel from the oils the seeds produce. They will then use that biofuel to power a hybrid car which they are constructing.
My sweet friend Nicole shoveling dirt from the berm. (My personal word of the month is "Berm." I had no clue what a berm was until I started volunteering for these projects...now I use this word all the time. It's basically a mound of earth that acts as a path and separates areas of land. There are large berms that surround the exterior of the sunflower field.
We planted last Monday, and the seeds have already started to sprout. I'll have pictures of the sprouts soon!
The second project I've been volunteering at is the Roosevelt Growhouse, which is a local community garden. We meet Sundays from 10am-2pm, and work on an urban garden in downtown Phoenix.
The Growhouse started around 3 years ago to promote urban gardening and give the community a place to learn how to successfully build, grow, and sustain a garden in an urban environment. The garden is actually located across the street from the sunflower field, and is run by the same artist who is co-leading the sunflower project. I really LOVE this. It's a little more intimate, and I'm learning a lot, and having a blast. It's tiring work, but so rewarding to me.
The Growhouse schedule.
This is what it looked like after. Lots of little berms! We planted some chard and beets in the front beds.
Arugula sprouts after 4 weeks. You can see how close the garden is to the street.
The Growhouse resident hen, Georgie.
More pictures to come as we get further into the season!