growing obsessions. While prominent rooftop gardens in Center City and Manayunk are already raising crops in containers and buckets, the local organization Philadelphia Rooftop Farm (PRooF) is trying another very promising approach.
While useful, the typical blue rain barrel isn’t exactly beautiful. So, when the Philadelphia Water Department donated five barrels to the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District this past April, the Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community art nonprofit, volunteered their creativity. Neighborhood artists were recruited and soon word spread, attracting more local artists—adults and kids—to be involved. The Water Department has since donated six more barrels with plans to contribute another nine. The barrels will be used to water flower baskets and tree wells on Germantown Avenue.
For more on the Mt. Airy Art Garage, visit mtairyartgarage.org.
While the city of philadelphia isn’t planning to start a composting program anytime soon (see our interview with Mayor Michael Nutter on p. 12), efforts are being made to divert food waste from landfills.
In May, Mayor Nutter and the Streets Department launched the Clean Kitchen, Green Community pilot program. The program is based on a partnership between community group Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Program and InSinkErator, a leading producer of food waste disposals.
Passed June 21, 2012
Requires commercial buildings of more than 50,000 square feet to track, measure and report energy and water use. Benchmarking is expected to save tenants and building owners money as well as encourage energy efficient practices. Takes effect in one year.
Vote postponed until Fall 2012
Revises Philadelphia’s traffic code to meet the state traffic code and provide better protection for pedestrians and cyclists. Highlights include no parking in bike lanes and $100 penalty for bikes running a red light. The bill was proposed May 31, but the hearing is postponed until Council reconvenes in the fall.
Philadelphia Land Bank
Establishes a single authority to hold and maintain land, simplifying the current process. A state bill was passed on April 3, 2012 that will allow individual cities to create land banks. Gov. Corbett has yet to sign the bill into law. Meanwhile, an additional bill (currently under discussion) is proposed in Philadelphia that would bypass the state and put a land bank bill up for a citywide ballot vote.
FACT: The International Association of Electronics Recyclers estimates that on average 400 million consumer electronic products are thrown out each year.
PROBLEM: As more people switch to DVD players and online video services, VCRs are being kicked to the curb. But when VCRs go to a landfill, they also bring heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead, which can leach into the ground and contaminate water sources. VCRs are considered e-waste; their disposal contributes to the more than three million tons of e-waste sent to the landfill each year in the U.S. You can’t recycle VCRs in your blue bin, but it’s worth taking the time to find a place that will accept them.
Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to get out of the kitchen and retreat to backyards and beaches to cook dinner (and even breakfast!).
Think slow-smoked brisket, wood-fired pizza, rotisserie chicken, sausages, kebobs, fish tacos, skillet potatoes, grilled vegetables. Even eggs and toast, grilled fruit and chocolate banana paninis can easily be cooked outside over hot coals. There is no need for a fancy grill, but I do use hardwood charcoal or wood rather than gas. Wood burns hotter, and the wood smoke adds key flavors.
After 15 years working as a bond trader for Susquehanna International Group, Dean Carlson quit the financial world to become a farmer. Now, instead of derivatives, he deals in cattle, poultry and heritage pigs on a 355-acre farm in Chester County.
While the sudden shift in lifestyle may seem like a Green Acres-style flight of fancy, Carlson came to the decision through some careful calculations.
By now there have likely been a few casualties in your garden. But like the Boss says: “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact.” It would be a shame to let those containers gather dust until next spring, though, so clean them out, find some fresh, fertile, nitrogen-rich dirt, and get your brassica veggies growing.
Thanks to climate change, Philadelphia was recently promoted to a new zone on the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Chart. The chart is the standard gardeners and growers follow to decide which plants are most likely to thrive in their geographic area. One of the benefits (if you can call it that) of this climate-change-spurred promotion is that Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage and other members of the brassica family aren’t restricted to early spring plantings anymore. In fact, they’re good candidates for fall replacement plantings, if you don’t mind a little gambling.
Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia
Since 2009, Katherine Gajewski has been the face of sustainability for the City. When she took the job, Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s sustainability plan, had just launched. Gajewski was faced with the formidable task of implementing the framework as well as overseeing a spectrum of projects that routinely cross departmental lines.