Ron Finley is a Gardening Gangsta!

As we are stuck in our winter “wonderland”, I find myself daydreaming of spring, summer, and my renovation plans for my home. The 1st goal for spring will be to build a fence for my backyard and create a private oasis where I can enjoy the sun and relax in the great outdoors.  The push for the fence is also due to my desire to add a fury friend to our family!

Ron Finlay Post 1

As I think about the layout which will include a small grassed area, a garden, and a patio, I’m reminded of a fantastic speaker I had the pleasure of listening to at Greenbuild this past November, Ron Finley.

In his own words, is a Gardening Gangsta! He describes gardening as sexy and has dreams of community rejuvenation through developing edible gardens. Ron’s first project was driven by the lack of fresh produce in his neighborhood. What was the next best thing (or perhaps just the BEST thing? He set forth to build his first garden on the curbside of his home.  This action got him into trouble with his local authorities, but through perseverance and collaboration with other environmentalists he was able to continue his efforts to create edible gardens in the desert spaces of his community.

Ron Finlay Post 2

More important than his efforts is the impact he has made on his community. He has become a leader and educator of guerilla gardening by teaching the youth of the community about ways to cultivate, harvest, and maintain a healthy & nutritious garden.

Now that IS sexy!

So what am I going to take from his lessons?

1)      Find enjoyment in cultivating an edible landscape

2)     Share my success with my neighbors, friends & family

3)     Create a space that inspires others to do the same

I also have a very small space to achieve my entire plan so here are a couple of ideas that I’m going to implement to achieve my backyard oasis.

Ron Finlay Post 3

Hanging Herb Garden

Reusing tin cans & planting a variety of herbs. I like how this idea let’s you use vertical space to gain more garden space.

Re-purposing the existing fence

We have a very small fence that exists right now. My plan is to reuse the boards to build my new outdoor sectional.  I love the image below which uses old palettes to achieve the same goal. My biggest hurdle will be learning how to manage the skill saw.

Create Seclusion & Wayfinding

Use tall trees & scrubs around the perimeter of the yard so I feel completely enclosed in my green space. Use different floor materials to create transitions between each section of the backyard

Now I just have to wait for the snow to melt!

Carrie

Carrie Signature Photo

S3 at Greenbuild 2013

Well friends, I have to say, Greenbuild 2013 was so amazing! The four of us spent 3 days learning about sustainable design and we’re beyond inspired!

Greenbuild Girls

In my opinion (and I’m sure the other girls here would agree), the education sessions were by far the most interesting & thought-provoking part of this conference. So many sessions were offered in so many different sectors of sustainability. For some, we paired up & enjoyed together, and for others we went off on our own where the topics peaked our interest.

What Did We Learn:

  • Biophilia: Moving from Theory to Reality
  • After the Storm: Recovering (Materials) from a Natural Disaster
  • Motivating Green Building Around the World
  • The Light Stuff: Energy-efficient Lighting for a Healing Environment
  • Power & Responsibility: Visual Stories as Agents of Change
  • Introducing Passive House Standard– A Valuable LEED Partner
  • Dematerializing the Built Environment: In Theory & Practice
  • Sustainable Design: Can Performance and Beauty Co-Exist?
  • Marketing Green Building: A Competitive Advantage Without Greenwash
  • Net-Zero-Energy Affordable Housing, Philly Style!

Stayed tuned for upcoming blog posts that will feature some of these topics in details. 

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Expo Hall

The Expo Hall was also pretty great! A huge room filled with all the industry-leading products and technologies in sustainable building just begging to be explored.

Some of our favourites include (but are definitely not limited to):

Expo Products (1)Eco-Walls  |  Shaw Carpet  |  FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

Expo Products (3)Interface Flooring  |  Finium (Repurposed Wood Panels)  |  Hemcrete

Expo Products (2)Green Roofs  |  Davies Office (Furniture Renewal)  |  Boomerang (Recycled) Paint

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Apart from the sessions and the expo hall, we were lucky enough to attend an evening at the Liacouras Centre, at Temple University to hear Hilary Clinton speak on her thoughts on Greenbuild and sustainability around the world. She was great and presented a very inspirational speech.

This really is a powerful movement and I think I speak for all of us here at S3 when I say that we are truly honoured to be a part of it.

As an added bonus to the night, we got to hear a special concert by Bon Jovi, who in their own right, are great philanthropists and advocates of sustainability as well.

Liacouras Centre

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And lastly, as part of Greenbuild, we had the pleasure of taking a couple of tours around Philadelphia to see what they have to offer in terms of sustainable design.

I, myself, took the Lighting & Garden Design Tour along the World-Class Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I visited many of the art galleries that line this famous strip, including The Barnes Foundation, The Rodin Museum as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art (you know the steps from the Rocky movies…ya, that one!). I also got to see the Fairmount Water Works as well as get a first-hand tour of Philadelphia’s noted Boathouse Row.

TF 02photo courtesy: greenbuild 2013 half-day tours

Annie and Tracy took a tour called, Sustainable Urban Living at Any Age and were lucky enough to visit 4 of Philadelphia’s LEED certified homes from 4 different neighbourhoods. Hazel House, a LEED Platinum residence, the McBee-Sheeks Residence in Powelton Village, a LEED Platinum Pine Street Residence near Fitler Square, and lastly the Todd Residence in Queen Village (where, incidentally, is the neighbourhood in which we stayed while in Philadelphia).

TF 01photo courtesy: greenbuild 2013 half-day tours

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Again, stay tuned for some detailed blog posts on these tours & topics.

For now, I think I’ve chatted enough about our wonderful experience at Greenbuild Philadelphia 2013. Already looking forward to next year’s conference at Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana!

Have any questions or thoughts on our trip, we’d love to hear from you! As you can tell, we love chatting sustainability!

Elaina

Non cropped thumbnail Elaina