Best Use of an Empty Dirt Lot (2011)

Valley of the Sunflowers

One thing downtown Phoenix has in abundance is empty dirt lots. Not for long, if one energetic group of civic-minded garderners has anything to do with it. We love simple ideas — those knock-yourself-on-the-side-of-the-head and say, "Why didn't I think of that?!" ideas that make a big splash. In this case, a big splash of color. A highfalutin-sounding partnership of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation and Phoenix Union Bioscience High School (translation: a bunch of artists and some high school kids) have leased empty lots with plans to plant two acres of sunflowers in the Evans Churchill neighborhood between Fifth and Sixth streets and Garfield and McKinley streets. Eventually the sunflowers will be pressed for oil and used for biodiesel fuel, and seeds/flowers will be sold at the Phoenix Public Market, but to be honest, the part we're most excited is about the a big field of yellow flowers that will take over an empty dirt lot early next year. Consider it a bouquet to the city. And a really great — if simple — idea.


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