“People freaking love sunflowers,” says Kenny Barrett, a downtown Phoenix artist. And that is why an empty 2 acre lot in the heart of downtown will be filled with sunflowers. The Valley of the Sunflowers is a collaborative project between downtown artists, activists, community members, educators, big business, and city officials. The vacant lot is the future home of the Arizona Cancer Center but, meanwhile, the sunflower seeds will be planted and engineering students at a high school next to the field will press the sunflowers for oil and produce biodiesel fuel for a hybrid car they are developing. Some of the sunflower oil may also be sold at the Phoenix Public Market, a farmer’s market held a couple of blocks away.
Volunteers are working in the lot and have the sprinklers ready and the soil tilled. Seed planting will begin next week. The first harvest will be in November or December followed by another spring harvest. Intel provided grants totaling $22,000 for the project.
Apparently the sunflowers are going to be the big huge ones. Can you imagine two acres of giant sunflowers? I can’t wait because I do freaking love sunflowers. This is such an interesting, creative, and ambitious project for beautifying the downtown area and creating excitement and tangible benefits. The bees should be happy, too.