Dear Oooobyites:

My name is Jennifer and I live in Phoenix, AZ, USA. I am a founding member of a group called “Arizona Homegrown Solutions”. We work to bring sustainability to all people but particularly those often left out of the sustainability equation: those who are low income/working poor, who have physical or mental challenges, who struggle with addictions or who have been incarcerated. To be effective, we partner with other local non-profits to help them make their existing programming more sustainable and offer assistance with green job training opportunities, horticulture therapy and fresh food programs.

In 18 months AZHS completed over 45 community projects. A video of one of our projects, a neighborhood greening initiative in Nuestro Barrio is posted on your site. There was an excellent question about water issues that followed the post. During our recent Water Harvesting Certification program, Nicholas (the gentleman in the video) received a greywater installation that diverted greywater from his washing machine to a mulched basin that acts as a giant sponge to hold water to feed a newly planted citrus tree.

We are asking for your help and your VOTE to find good homes for 4 water harvesting cisterns to help Phoenix become more sustainable!

We need your vote once each day until Sept 10th.

Arizona Homegrown Solutions is one of 41 USA finalists for a $20,000 Tom’s of Maine sponsorship for a project we are doing on water harvesting.

Phoenix receives only 8″ of rain a year, making it the driest metro area in North America. Our project involves placing four rainwater harvesting cisterns at three local non-profits: Horses Help Therapeutic Riding Center, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center and the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (farmer’s market). Placing cisterns at each of these sites supports the non-profit’s mission in some way.

  • At Horses Help – the water harvested would water the gardens that are used for horticultural therapy and to provide food for some of the special needs youth and veterans that use the facility.
  • At SW Autism, harvested water would be used to water the outdoor classroom AZ Homegrown Solutions designed for their GardenWorks program – a program designed to help adults with autism learn how to install and maintain landscapes and gardens and work towards job placement and self-sufficiency.
  • At the market, two cisterns would be placed prominently along Central Ave and thus would be exposed to over 30,000 commuters every day. The harvested water would be used to water their landscaping. The market is fast becoming a gathering spot for urban sustainability and we are working with them to provide classes and hands-on opportunities to help people understand how they can implement sustainable solutions at home.
  • The sponsorship also includes green job training for our Water Harvesting Practitioners and free classes and workshops for the public.
If you could help spread the word to vote for us ONCE EACH DAY until Sept 10th that would be great. The voting URL is:

Please note that we are up against some heavy hitters. One of the other finalists was in another voting competition with us and garnered over 80,000 votes. We need as many votes as possible! The top 5 vote-getters will each win $20,000.

Thank you all for being wonderful, community-minded people. Truly we are not “sustainable” as a culture until EVERYONE is sustained.

I also wanted to give a shout out to AZ Homegrown Solutions members who are currently in NZ – “Hi" to my dear friends Lomeina and Diane who have emigrated to Auckland (and who have visited your Ooooby market booth!) and to my former housemate, Lisa, an entomologist currently studying in Christchurch. I miss you guys! Enjoy that cool, cloudy weather – it’s going to be 112 F/44 C here this week!

There's Lomeina at your booth ---->

Many thanks, Ooooby members!

Jennifer Wadsworth – Arizona Homegrown Solutions

More pictures of the greywater harvesting class installing earthworks at Nicholas's house. Note that the instructor is water harvesting guru and author, Brad Lancaster.

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Comment by Jennifer on August 18, 2010 at 6:45am
Thanks to everyone who is voting! We've had another disappointing "non"soon season here in Phoenix. When it does rain, it comes down hard and we get flash flooding because our soil is so poor and can't absorb the water fast enough. Then we don't see rain for a few months again. The cisterns and a whole lotta mulch will help us through the dry times.

One of our members is busting up his driveway this weekend and will replace the cement with wood chips. This will allow him to hold more water in the soil on his property - rain won't run off this surface and into the street - and also help mitigate his properties heat absorption (concrete heats up all day then releases the heat at night so the property doesn't really cool down).
Comment by Angie Gibbons on August 15, 2010 at 2:54pm
Voted again today!
Comment by Angie Gibbons on August 14, 2010 at 8:58am
Great work you are doing!

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