Update on the NW Green Home Tour 2014

Update on the NW Green Home Tour 2014

The NW Green Home Tour 2014 sign up deadline has passed. The good news for you as a tour attendee, is now you can choose between 35 Site Hosts for living spaces and 12 Sustainability Stops or retail spaces–who are notable for pushing forward the green conversation. Want to get a hint of what this is all about. Check our the brochure on line, or pick up the April issue of Seattle’s Natural Awakenings magazine at a coffee shop near you.

The guiding principle of the tour is education. Think you know all about green building? Not many people can really say that, in fact the more the know they realize actually they know less than they thought they did. Many of the participates of the NW Green Home Tour 2014 are torn between being a host on the tour or spending the day learning new principles and concepts from their peers.

Ultimately all of us who have been involved with the planning process, want to show everyone that “Green Homes” aren’t outside of the box. Indeed they are familiar, cost effective, neccessary, and above all smart. OK , granted sometimes they are forward thinking or “hip” while drawing upon sometimes new technogies and systems taken for granted or even developed by previous civilizations. Other times they are the most ordinary looking, and yet high performance home on the block.

As a renter, home owner, home builder, cook or gardener, there is something for everyone here. When looking at the NW Green Home Tour Guide be sure to note the icons, they give you a hint of the site’s most prominate features. Each one of these categories contains a myriad of other concepts. for more information keep check back at the tour web site for more details about the different sites.

 

Green Home Features
Map Key of site features for planning out your tour day route

 

As the Map Key states this tour is for all shades of green. Think you don’t care? How about savings on 1/2 of your utility bill. How do you get green? Learn the “Low Hanging Fruit” on some easy to acquire upgrades. Think you are already green enough? You might be able to learn how to bump it up a notch. If you are thinking of buying, remodeling or retrofitting a home this day is a must. So mark your calendar, Saturday April 26th as your tour day. Get the maps and descriptions, plan your route, wear slip on/off shoes, make your game plan in advance–there is way too much to see in one day. Then after the tour join us for our wrap party immediatly after. Just ask any greeter/volunteer of the day of the tour for the details.

NW Home Tour Committee Chair
For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future

City Fruit Seattle

City Fruit Seattle

City Fruit arrived on my radar about 3 years ago at a Sustainable Ballard meeting.   The Coalition actually started to organize earlier in 2008. It seemed like a logical idea to redirect what is often waste to some people to those who can use it. What a great way to increase are local supply stream for food while removing what is sometimes a nuisance to others.

Protected Apple
Apple protected by stockings provided by Seattle City Fruit

Unfortunately during my dealings with SDOT this year I learned it is against city code to plant fruit trees in parking strips. This is often a logical place where a tree might have extra room to grow, while having ample room for a root zone and drip line.  The reason the city doesn’t want these trees in parking strips is they are afraid they will attract the urban wildlife and people might slip on the dropped fruit.  Let’s hope some of the over-protective policies of the past are updated to a more modern and holistic mindset. Truth of the matter is fruit trees have been one of the first things planted for any homesteader, they are here to stay. People have survived just fine with them in their backyards, let’s allow them back on the street! It seems the trees grandfathered in are doing just fine.

From City Fruit’s beautiful and informative website:

Our Goals

Conservation: Preserve fruit trees on public and private properties; document historical orchards.

Preservation of the urban tree canopy: Increase fruit trees planted on public and private properties; map fruit trees.

Stewardship: Improve the care of fruit trees and reduce the impact of fruit pests and diseases using non-toxic methods.

Harvest: Increase the amount of fruit harvested by supporting harvesting groups, developing the capacity of neighborhoods to harvest, and promoting harvesting by tree owners.

Using and sharing fruit: Develop the capacity of people and groups to preserve fruit; explore the income-generating potential of urban fruit; effectively link those who have fruit with those who need it.

Community building: Build and strengthen connections within community groups through the planting, stewardship, harvest and/or preservation of fruit.

 

City Fruit is a great resource to learn about the lost art of canning and a surprisingly common sense approach. Our urban orchards shouldn’t be forgotten but treasured for how wonderful they really are.

 

Harvesting in Seattle
Happened upon this in West Seattle last week

So be like the steward above and get involved in this great idea. Galettes, pies, preserves, cobblers, crumbles, apple sauces and freezer jam don’t need to be a thing of your childhood or your past. Celebrate the urban orchards!

Edible Plant Sale

Edible Plant Sale

Saturday and Sunday May 7th and 8th will be the weekend for the much-awaited Seattle Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale in the Wallingford neighborhood. If you haven’t been to this before, things you should know – expect long lines, bring more money than you planned on, wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.

This very popular event is one of the few times when you can meet the growers, expect organically grown plants, find rare heirloom varieties and gain a wealth of information. This is a great time to glean answers for any of your edible plant questions from the multitude of plant experts. The person behind you in line (and yes there will be plenty of queues), might be the very person with the knowledge and experience you have been wanting to meet.

For more information see Seattle Tilth's website

The concept of Urban Farming, or Permaculture, or the re-emerging of so-called Victory Gardens has stimulated a resurgence in people wanting to grow their own food. There is no need to be intimidated by your lack of knowledge or the overwhelming choices you are likely to find. If you are new to the subject of gardening, you might want to get one of their “Gardens to Go” – a prepacked suggestion of combinations based on a certain theme. You can find both warm and cool season crops and perennials as well.

Warning – the lines will probably be long.  You will be tempted to purchase some amazing things you may have never seen before, and there will be much more to see than you might expect.  All the reason for the extra money, time, patience and comfy shoes.

If you aren’t one of those people who planned their weekend around this event you can have a second chance on May 14 in Issaquah. See Seattle Tilth for more information.