From the Editor: Rock On

Regardless of how this World Series turns out, watching the Phillies, and the city’s transformation, has been magical. Bitter and pessimistic fans have become believers; the team itself is fearless. Anyone who doubts that people can change—or that mindsets can shift—should look no further than our beloved Fightin’ Phils.The quest for sustainability isn’t quite as concrete as the quest for greatness in sports. What many find maddening (and exciting) about sustainability is that there isn’t a single answer to our problems. It won’t be a matter of changing the chemical we use in our air conditioners or using fewer aerosols—it’s more complicated than that. While we’re eating local foods, we need to insulate our homes. We need to buy less and recycle more. We need business that respects nature and a society that values people.Grid attempts to illustrate how multifaceted and dynamic the sustainability movement is in Philadelphia. In this issue, topics include gardening, composting, transportation, energy, recycling, architecture, fashion and food. Clearly, there’s a lot going on.The question is: How do these disparate efforts relate to each other? When you throw a rock into a body of water, ripples pulse out from where it lands until they get weaker and the water returns to its original calm. But when a well-placed rock rolls down the right hill, a momentum builds, jostling all of its fellow rocks into motion, creating an undeniable force. Allow me to return to the sports metaphor for a moment. Teams with a good player or two make ripples. The Phillies are an avalanche. (For the sake of this essay, we’re going to consider avalanches a good thing.)There are those who imagine Philly as a future hub for eco-fashion. And there are those who remember when, just a few decades ago, Philadelphia was a manufacturing powerhouse. Could the launch of Sa Va Fashion, Sarah Van Aken’s locally-manufactured clothing line, be the catalyst for a renaissance of in-city apparel production?Another potential avalanche is the City Harvest program that the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, SHARE and the Philadelphia Prison System have partnered to create. What an inspired idea to give people who have stumbled meaningful work while bringing healthy food to people in need. What if the number of gardens participating in this program was 400 instead of 41? City Harvest is a model of self-reliance and, from a human perspective, a closed-loop model where there is no waste. It’s what smart businesses and communities are striving to create.Our back page this month is written by Judy Wicks, a woman who’s been rolling stones to great effect for some time. It’s difficult to imagine the sustainability scene without her. Without the model she provided with the White Dog, I wouldn’t have considered launching this magazine. There are two stories in this very issue which are directly linked to her. The Fair Food Farm Stand, which she founded, has tripled in size, and Judy’s daughter Grace, an accomplished gardener, is a sustainable entrepreneur herself. I should mention that Sa Va is a member of the Sustainable Business Network, another vital organization Judy founded. When Judy began, little did she know the impact her efforts would have. It makes you wonder: What is happening today that will one day amaze us, and our children? As I write these notes, the Phillies are up 1-0 on a very good team. What will happen next? We don’t know, but it sure feels good to be alive right now.


Alex J. Mulcahy
Publisher
alex@gridphilly.com