Many thanks to the City of Phoenix and author Alexis Yaple for the following story:
I had once only known The Farm at South Mountain as a wedding venue, but I was quickly proven incorrect after my recent visit during a Green Business site survey. Not only does The Farm boast three magnificent eateries, one for each time of the day, but it also specializes in creating dishes from on-site grown produce. Even more fascinating than the delicious artisan food is the process by which this food was grown. The Farm only invests in organically home-grown produce, most of which was fertilized from on-site produced compost or by mulch from its landscaper neighbors. The compost method that The Farm chose, with the help of ASU students, expedites the breakdown of food scraps to about a month’s time. Further, The Farm has its own chicken coop of modern-day Arizona native chickens to supply all the eggs for the restaurants. Thus, The Farm is fostering sustainability by bringing people together through its own sustainable local economy.
Even more, The Farm challenges itself to compost or recycle everything possible to minimize waste, which makes them the perfect candidate for the Phoenix Green Business Leader Program. In the dining areas, the landfill, recycle and compost bins stand together, but clearly identified to reduce confusion. In observing customers approaching the bins, they would stop, read the signs, and then begin sorting materials as appropriate. Where most businesses would shy away and only provide a landfill bin to avoid any complexities to the customer, The Farm at South Mountain stands out. Their method proves that people will recycle and compost and do it right with the proper signage. They even cleverly state on their bins, “Confused? Throw it in the landfill bin.” The purpose of such a sign is to eliminate materials ending up in the wrong bin. Recyclables in the compost bin, or vice versa, can cause many complications, which The Farm cleverly avoids by posting this sign.
The Farm at South Mountain is a leader and model for recycling and composting. Not every business will have the opportunity to compost on-site, but The Farm’s forward-thinking is an homage to best sustainable practices that every business should pursue. With all their practices in mind, the Farm was a no-brainer for the Phoenix Green Business program.
About the author:
Once a California native, Alexis Yaple now calls Phoenix her home. She moved here almost a decade ago for college with the intention to study meteorology, but inevitably found her true calling in the sustainability field. After graduating in Sustainability at Arizona State University, Alexis worked in the energy efficiency and home performance field until recent when she was hired as a Zero Waste Specialist with the City of Phoenix. Zero Waste is not an unfamiliar topic as her knowledge of the subject extends back to her internship days at Arizona State University where she worked as a Zero Waste Coordinator for the University Sustainability Practices office. In her spare time, she spends quality time with her family; her fiancé and their two dogs, Flash and Maddie.