Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Portland, Or - A Model of Sustainable Living

We spent several days in Portland. I am amazed each time i visit there at how much progress they are making towards sustainable urban living. We visited Zenger Urban Agricultural Park which is a farm purchased by the city to protect a wetland behind an industrial development. They turned the rest of the farm over to a non- profit organization to be an education center for urban farming. A farmer grows vegetables and chickens on 3 of the acres that are sold at a CSA.
They have a community garden that is used by immigrant families to grow their own food. They have a solar power system and collect 6000 gallons of rainwater for use during the dry summer season.
There are lots and lots of restaurants that serve local organic food and they promote it heavily. We had breakfast at a restaurant/yoga studio that served their food on real plates and used cloth napkins. Imagine that!
We went to a farmers market that was started 15 years ago. It is held in the parking lot of an awesome food coop called the Peoples Market. We were able to buy salmon, fresh mushrooms and lots of vegetables for our dinner all in one place.
We visited The Rebuilding Center which is a Non-profit that recycles building materials. It was started in a down and out neighborhood a few years ago to provide jobs for local residents. Now it is thriving and so the the surrounding neighborhood. Businesses have moved in, houses have been restored and new construction is under way.
There are rain gardens all around the city that capture rain water and allow it to soak into the ground replenishing the groundwater instead of allowing polluted water to wash into the rivers.
We need to look to Portland as a shining example of what Atlanta can become through our collective efforts.

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