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Garden for Tomorrow in South Phoenix. Photos courtesy of Valley Permaculture Alliance.

After receiving a grant in the amount of $100,000 from Cities of Service, The City of Phoenix is partnering with the Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA) and HandsOn Greater Phoenix in implementing two beneficial volunteering projects involving painting roofs of city-owned buildings with reflective paint and creating community gardens in three public housing communities.

The Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA), already an educational resource for valley residents on community and school gardens, will partner with the city in support of three separate locations in the establishment of the new community gardens, as well as the support in the monthly series of “cooking matters” educational sessions that will be provided to interested participants.

Doreen Pollack, VPA’s Executive Director, states, “This kind of work fits closely with our mission, ‘Inspiring sustainable urban living in the desert southwest’.  Last year we provided 123 classes to over 2,200 people on topics like gardening, composting and how to start a community garden. We led over 20 new community garden managers through classes that address the creation and management of gardens, leadership skills, and volunteer recruitment and management.”

The City of Phoenix will choose the three community garden areas based on where the garden can support the most people with a focus on multi-unit housing facilities.  The goal will be to focus on reaching a minimum of 200 families.

Pollack adds “We have seen dozens of community gardens transform neighborhoods and provide fresh, healthy food to families over the past few years through our Community and School Garden Programs.  We are excited to work with the City of Phoenix and HandsOn Greater Phoenix to bring three more gardens to communities where fresh food is not readily accessible due to the location of grocery stores.  The classes on gardening, provided by the VPA, will help ensure these gardens are around for years to come.”

The city grant will begin in January 2013 and run through December of the same year.

To learn more on how The Valley Permaculture Alliance is inspiring people toward self-reliance through more than 100 different classes, workshops, home demonstrations, and events on multiple sustainable topics including community gardens, please visit the VPA classes and events website page.

About the Valley Permaculture Alliance:  The Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA) is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Phoenix, AZ.  The VPA mission is to inspire sustainable urban living in the desert southwest by offering over a hundred different classes and several major events each year. Events include, but are not limited to: Tour de Coops (the only local tour of backyard chicken coops), fruit tree education and sales, Mesquite Bean Milling and Milling Pancake Breakfast, as well as a 72 hour intensive Permaculture Design Course. Thousands of members participate in the interactive website at www.valleypermaculturealliance.org.    VPA is the proud recipient of Valley Forwards’ 2011 Crescordia Award in Environmental Education, as well as the Phoenix NewTimes 2012 “Best of Award” For the Best Place to Learn About the Science of Composting.