. . . Fall is an important time of year for employing organic and sustainable gardening methods.
Preparing for next year– Be Pesticide Free!
The fall is a key part of the gardening cycle because it allows us to prepare our garden for the winter and sets us up for a productive spring and summer.
Most pesticides and fertilizers used today are produced with harmful chemicals that even when applied correctly can have adverse effects on the environment, pollinators, and human health.
But don’t worry– there are plenty of ways to have a healthy garden and lawn without using noxious chemicals.
Leave the Leaves
Not all leaves need to be raked up and disposed of immediately:
Consider that your leaves are a free fertilizer and weed suppressant! This makes them perfect for organic gardening.
Leaves also provide important winter habitat for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial bugs.
Finally, “leaving your leaves” reduces emissions associated with polluting leaf blowers. Keeping leaves out of the landfill also prevents the generation of potent methane emissions.
So how can you use leaves?
Use whole leaves around perennials, trees and bushes, or lightly layered on lawn (they may need to be shredded first). You can also create a leaf pile that will decompose into “leaf mold“– a rich, valuable compost amendment to be used in warmer months. Or– if you’re like me– simply pile your leaves on your vegetable garden bed and turn them into the soil in the spring before planting.
And if you still have too many leaves, use your curbside compost can to dispose of them (please keep them out of the gutters and storm drains). If you have a lot of leaves, give us a shout and we’ll help you get an extra container or two.
Use organic amendments to improve the health of your soil
Materials like the aforementioned leaves, as well as other compost, manure, bone meal, etc. can be used to balance the pH of your soil and will release nutrients into the soil to create a vibrant ecosystem and help your garden grow. Mulches can also be great for keeping weeds down, retaining moisture, and feeding the soil. Other organic soil enhancers, like coffee grounds, tea bags, and even newspaper can be an important tool in keeping your garden thriving. Learn more about amending your soil. Read more
Summer is here and with it a nearly endless offering of entertainment options! From grilling in the park and attending concerts and festivals, to hiking, running, and biking on local trails, there are many ways to get outside.
But while you’re out there, remember to take care of our natural spaces– both in and outside of our city!
The Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for going in the backcountry. They should be applied everywhere— including our local parks, gardens, and canyons.
Using these principles helps keep human impacts to a minimum and ensures access to these places and activities will be around for many years to come.
Leave No Trace is more than just packing out trash
Leave No Trace has developed a simple platform that has helped millions of people learn how to protect and respect the outdoors. The Principles are based on respect for nature and other visitors — and they are supported by scientific research.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing the friend and family food fest with it! While we prepare the feast and give thanks for the plentiful food we have, it is important to consider the amount of food that goes to waste this holiday season.
Food is one of the most important areas of sustainability in our daily lives and it is often overlooked! Reducing food waste is important for everyone because it saves both money and resources.
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 35 percent of turkey meat cooked at Thanksgiving gets wasted?
That’s a lot of wasted resources!
When we reduce food waste we save:
The resources and water used to grow crops and raise animals
Manufacturing and energy resources
Transportation resources and greenhouse gas emissions
Money by buying less and throwing away less
Disposal costs and emissions
That last one is significant– food sent to landfills is a powerful source of methane. A whopping 40 percent of food meant for eating is thrown away.
All of this rotting food produces a lot of greenhouse gases. In fact if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.
There is no such thing as away when it comes to waste. It is out of sight out of mind, but it is never truly gone. When things are thrown away, they go to a landfill to pile up in a heap. Some of the items will eventually break down, while many others will not. The reality of the trash heap can be summed up in a word: hopelessness. It is the end of the road, and the possibilities of re-creation and re-purposing are gone. However, recycling brings back possibility.
Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
Kate Whitbeck Principal of Momentum gives SLCgreen a tour. Photo credit: Kyle Strayer
Brown glass before processing.Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin
Kate Whitbeck Principal of Momentum gives SLCgreen a tour. Photo credit: Kyle Strayer
Drop off of glass before processing. Photo credit: Kyle Strayer
As the newest intern at SLC Green, my first official order of business was to tour some of the recycling facilities for Salt Lake City. This tour was a front row seat to possibility. One of the stops for the SLCgreen crew was Momentum Recycling. Momentum was founded in 2008, and in 2012 became the exclusive glass recycler for Salt Lake City.
In 2012, Momentum was bringing in about 200 tons of recycled glass. In the past four years, since expanding their curbside services, they now bring in approximately 1,000 tons per month! I will be honest, it was overwhelming to see how many glass bottles were waiting to be sorted and recycled, but the beauty of possibilities also struck me. Instead of hopelessly ending in a landfill, these items could become something new and useful.
University of Utah President David Pershing, Mayor J. Biskupski, and Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright
Mayor Biskupski trying out new 2016 EV models.
Mayor J. Biskupski launches U Drive Electric Program
In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.
This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front. Read more
Mayor Jackie Biskupski commemorated the first season of the new Liberty Wells Community Garden on 1700 South and 700 East in a press conference with Wasatch Community Gardens and local gardeners on Tuesday, August 30th.
As the latest addition to Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers program, the Liberty Wells Garden is run by the non-profit Wasatch Community Gardens on city-owned land and provides plots for 44 gardeners to grow vegetables.
“Liberty Wells neighbors, including some of our newest resident refugee families, have come together to share knowledge and friendship, which produced this beautiful and sustainable garden,” Mayor Biskupski said. “We have put vacant land to good use while improving the community and good will at the same time.”
The Liberty Wells Garden broke ground in April, after site selection and approval from the city. The plot now has 44 gardeners, with a wait list of 29.
“We’ve been amazed to see the enthusiasm and positive energy put forth by the gardeners who make up our new Liberty Wells Community Garden,” said Ashley Patterson, Executive Director of Wasatch Community Gardens.
Britt Vanderhoof spends hours at the Liberty Wells garden each week. “As an avid gardener, I’ve enjoyed the health benefits of eating fresh, organic, locally grown food. But as much as I love the taste of food fresh from the garden, I have enjoyed even more seeing the community around the Liberty Wells Community Garden come together to help grow this amazing garden into what it is today.”
Salt Lake City Green recently launched Empower SLC, an in-house sustainability training platform available for all City employees. The twelve-month program will cover a variety of sustainability-related topics, including energy use at home, water conservation, renewable energy, and food. Empower SLC is designed to motivate behavior change at the individual level in order to reduce pollution, save resources, and enhance Salt Lake City.
Every week, short lessons are released under a larger monthly theme topic. Users can earn points by completing lessons, taking quizzes, and committing to actions each week. To encourage participation amongst all users, employees will earn a sustainability certification based on their level of participation. The Empower SLC certificate will be endorsed by the Mayor and the Sustainability Director at three levels: Basic, Gold, and Platinum.
To date, over 400 employees have registered with Empower SLC! The first month’s theme, Water Free SLC, covers waste management, recyclable materials, and hazardous and electronic waste, with simple tips on how to green your lifestyle at home and in the office. For a closer look into how each department is participating, check out the chart below.