Sunday, July 18, 2010


Arco by night
lighting show photos by Kim

Arco by day
I have spent the past 5 months (Mar 7-July 27) at a community called Arcosanti in AZ.
Arcosanti is an amazingly diverse and fascinating place to live with many artists and architects making it an ideal place for me to stay and learn about sustainable living while taking time to get creative with my art and crafts.

My first visit to Arcosanti was Sept 3rd, 6months before I knew I would have an internship here for 5 months working with the construction and agriculture department.Arcosanti is a testing ground to develop more self-reliant and sustainable cities that are condensed to preserve land, use renewable energy, and localized agriculture. Conceived by Italian architect Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti is a proposed vision for a better city born 40 years ago.

Located an hour north of Phoenix, Arcosanti sits on 4,000 acres of natural preserve with beautiful landscape, frequent lighting shows and stargazing from atop the buildings.

Arcosanti is famous for their bronze and ceramic bells that are sold worldwide and help to fund the project.
Here is a view of the Agua Fria River from a few miles awayThe surrounding area is rich in Native American history and artifacts. Below are some petroglyphs of The Indians and perhaps pronghorn or tethered goats. Not sure why that dude is upside down?A white peacock that lives down in camp checks me out as I feed the chickens and gather eggs.

The Greenhouse

I spent most of my time here working on Phase I of the Energy Apron/ greenhouse project. I worked under the construction department and helped to tend this greenhouse and harvest and organize a CSA to sell the produce to residents. I also carefully documented harvest pounds, temperature, water usage, natural pest control and compiled a report assessing our success as compared to various studies in natural and organic farming such as John Jeavons and New Alchemy. We did pretty darn good outproducing New Alchemy and matching John Jeavons (who claims you can grow enough food for a person for a year (300lbs) on 100sq ft.)

Our pretty greenhouse lots of tomatoes, basil, Dill and red leaf lettuce!
Squash and watermelon grew up these neat upcycled bicycle wheel racks

The goal of the Energy Apron/Greenhouse project is to eventually have 5-7 acres of greenhouse that will provide food year-round for the city and trap heat. This heat will be siphoned through heat duct tunnels that already exist under the building and help heat it during winter months. Nothing like this has been done on such a large scale and if it is successful will be a great experiment in energy usage for large buildings.

I hope to take all I have learned here in sustainable building and agriculture and add to this knowledge in my next journey to South America looking for more sustainable communities.


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