Green gadget of the year. No paper, printing, shipping, or warehousing of books!
The Eastside Trail construction is well underway. As depicted below, this 2 1/2 mile first phase has it's end points at Monroe Drive on the north end and Dekalb Avenue to the south.
The trail being constructed will hug the east side of the corridor to make room for the future transit. The future concept of the underpass at Highland Avenue [below] illustrates this well. This node will also feature ADA-compliant access to Highland Avenue.
Pictured below is the same view as construction of the trail begins in early June of 2011.
All grocery stores have a percentage of their product that ends up as spoils due to expiration dates, damaged packaging, freshness, etc. Best-case scenario is the spoils are donated. Worst-case they go in the dumpster and then end up in a landfill. If bagged in plastic they may take an inordinant amount of time to decompose. Decomposed organic material can serve a much better purpose than rotting in ever expanding landfills.
Trader Joe's is known for each store's neighborhood involvement. Midtown Atlanta is no exception as they have always donated their spoils to local charities and non-profits. Even so, a portion of the organic and vegetable spoils were still dumpster-bound due to advanced deterioration. But, because of Trader Joe's commitment to Kaizen [the Japanese concept of continuous incremental improvement], the Midtown store will now donate even the un-donatable. Wheat Street Gardens, a new urban garden located two miles away in the Old Fourth Ward, will take the spoils and compost it.
Compost is decomposed organic matter that is given new life as a fertilizer and soil amendment. It's the secret sauce of organic farming. All but forgotten in modern America, Wheat Street Gardens is reviving the ancient practice [dating back to the early Roman era] in their organic farming efforts. They employ vermicomposting, a specialized form of composting leveraging the seemingly lowly earthworm. By using Red Wigglers, they convert rotting vegetable matter into nutrient-rich humus in record time.
This obviously requires more effort than bagging "garbage" and sending it on it's way along the typical waste stream. Trader Joe's and Wheat Street Gardens are to be commended for their community leadership towards a more sustainable intown Atlanta.
The Old Fourth Ward continues to evolve into a truly sustainable community. Truly Living Well recently broke ground on a four-acre organic garden in the Wheat Street community, just East of Downtown Atlanta.
Wheat Street Gardens retains the name but repurposes a lot where some of the nation's first Section 8 housing was built. That lifecycle ended in 2008 when the buildings were demolished leaving behind a barren landscape of building foundations. These foundations now have raised beds that will flourish with organic produce in the spring.
View Wheat Street Gardens Organic Urban Farm in a larger map
We plan to partner with the farm at several points:
- I will work with SustainATL and the garden on the Sankofa Hen Ark Initiative. It's a teach-a-man-to-fish thing, except with chickens. We will supply chicken tractors that will fit perfectly within the raised beds. Chickens are grazers that will gladly consume the leavings and weeds at the end of each growing season. The birds scratch and "till" the soil, contributing their fertilizer and fresh organic eggs in the process.
- Soup Mama plans to source as much fresh vegetables from the farm as she can for her soup business. It fits beautifully with her model of delivering fresh soup made from organic locally grown ingredients within a two mile radius of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District.
- I also hope to convince a local neighborhood grocery store to donate all their vegetable and organic spoils to the garden to be composted into high-quality soil.
My wife Liana, aka Soup Mama, gets interviewed at Scoutmob HQ.
Liana bike-delivers homemade, organic, locally sourced soup to homes and offices within a 2 mile radius of the MLK Center. Soupscribers receive their soup once a week in 1 quart mason jars left in a cooler they place on their porch. Next week, she picks up the old mason jar when she delivers the new batch, just like the milk men of old [except with soup]. It's a lot more labor intensive, but Liana is committed to the greenest business practices. Of course you know that makes EcoHome Guy proud.
Visit Soup Mama online here. Maybe you're in her delivery area...
Better building performance continues to be key to combating climate change. Meantime, the denial machine is revved to full throttle with elections around the corner. And a new Yale study reveals that 52% of Americans would flunk "Climate 101." Another study shows global warming not so hot with Americans.
All the noise and confusion can bring on fatigue for those who do have a grasp of the issue. It's a message we can't afford to stay uninformed or become lukewarm to.
Can you hear?
I've been geeked-out on the BeltLine since I first heard of it back in 1999. A couple of years later, I moved to Hampton, Georgia as a freshly-licensed real estate agent. My brother was developing some lofts in the downtown area of this small south Atlanta town in close proximity to what was to be a commuter rail stop on the coming Atlanta-to-Macon line. We viewed the commuter rail line as the BeltLine Unbuckled, a linear expression of, and connection to, the intown loop and ultimately a seamless 125 mile alternative transportation venue. The plan was to help develop the area within the pedestrian shed of the Hampton train stop following best practices in new urbanism and transit-oriented development. Alas, it is late 2010 and the commuter train has yet to leave the station. Meantime the BeltLine continues to gain momentum. So last year the family and I moved to historic Old Fourth Ward to embed ourselves in the BeltLine community at it's earliest stages.
My first attempt at a blog, ATL Trail + Rail, was inspired by the quantum leap in quality of life that Atlanta's "Emerald Necklace" promised. I also started authoring a community portal @ OurHampton.com. This inspired me to start thinking about something similar for the BeltLine when the time was right. It was 2003, so I was surprised to find the URL beltline.net was still available. So I acquired it. And waited.
Now we are planning to launch BELTLINE.net soon. Here's how the concept has evolved in this era of social media:
We like to think of the BeltLine as Atlanta 2.0. This upgrade transforms our city into a world-class trail and transit metropolis with scores of Atlantans living, working, praying, playing, and shopping in a 22+ mile loop of connected communities. One of the things we think resonates so powerfully with people is the notion that the BeltLine is essentially social networking in the third dimension. Social networking often gives the illusion of connection, while remaining confined to cyberspace. But imagine an online counterpart to the BeltLine that facilitates and strengthens connections being made in the real world. Call it social networking 3.0. Now add hyper-local blog content featuring news, personalities, business, real estate, restaurants, photos, jobs, coupons and just about everything else associated with the community the BeltLine is becoming. That’s BELTLINE.net. Be sure to visit often, support a localized economy, and stay in the loop™!
Of course, we need a logo to go with a social media portal so gravid with promise, right? This is what we came up with:
Here's a little glimpse into the thought process that lead to the design:
Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery said "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." That's especially true when designing a logo. What's the simplist way to convey the idea?
The logo composition is based on The Golden Mean. No arbitrary placement of Mr. Orange Head, no sir. That avatar is strategically placed in accordance with the principles of the sacred geometry of the Golden Spiral.
The speech bubble, or call out, and avatar are iconic elements of the social media lexicon.
The call out also emulates a loop of greenway.
We gave a nod to The High Line, BeltLine's older NYC cousin, with part of the font selection.
While we're obviously fond of the marriage of green and orange at ecohomeguy.com, we found affirmation for BELTLINE.net colors in the fascia of a building on the BeltLine close to the Someset stage area, with it's wabi sabi surface of rusted green paint.
Joe Taylor of himynameisJoe.com did the design work.
What say you? Did we nail it?