In Phoenix, living sustainably is not just something we do on April 22 or during Earth Week; there are opportunities to celebrate and protect our planet all year long. From plans for developing electric vehicle infrastructure, to preserving urban farmland, the City of Phoenix is taking action to conserve resources, fight climate change, and improve the environmental quality of life for future generations.
Join Phoenix in honoring Earth Day by learning more about many of the City services, events, and programs below. Learn more at Phoenix.gov/Sustainability .
Electric Vehicle Road Map and Input Opportunity
Approximately one year ago, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego created an ad hoc committee dedicated to advancing the adoption of electric vehicles in Phoenix. Since then, the committee has been hard at work developing the first draft of an Electric Vehicle Road Map . The plan is now ready for public review and comment!
Review the draft roadmap, and provide input by taking this short survey.
Sustainability Officers at Local Schools
The City of Phoenix City Manager’s Office of Sustainability is expanding its Student Council Sustainability Officer (SCSO) Initiative . The program invites local high schools to add a Sustainability Officer (SO) position to their existing student councils so they can help embed sustainbility into the school campus by promoting practices that reduce environmental impacts.
Phoenix Union High School District first adopted the SCSO model in 2014, and now has 12 schools participating. In the upcoming 2022-’23 school year, high schools in both Tempe and Tolleson Union High School Districts will adopt the program, bringing lasting environmental progress (and increased scholarship and award opportunities) to 23,000 additional valley students.
Urban Agriculture Fellowship Program
Through its Phoenix Resilient Food System Initiative, the Office of Environmental Programs (OEP) selected Urban Agriculture Fellows to be trained as the next generation of growers in Phoenix. The fellows, all aged 18-24, get to work part-time with a local grower throughout 2022 to learn the future of farm entrepreneurship, innovation, and business ownership in Phoenix.
“These young adults are going to have an opportunity to study under some of the most talented growers in the state,” said Food Systems Program Manager Joe Rossell. “This program is a direct result of us asking those farmers what their needs are. Our goal is to get these young agriculture folks imbedded; they’re going to get exposed to all aspects of the farm — growing, distributing and selling food, and dealing with food waste.”
Farmland Preservation Program
A South Phoenix farm is now permanently protected from development thanks to the City of Phoenix’s Farmland Preservation Program . The city recently invested $1,000,000 into the program as part of the Phoenix Resilient Food System Program.
The farm sits on land owned by Bridget Bellavigna. By funding the purchase of the development rights from Bellavigna (with Central AZ Land Trust (CALT) as the administrator), Maya’s Farm now has a conservation easement on it, which ensures it will never be paved over or developed.
Governed by A.R.S. 33-271, et seq., conservation easements are a voluntary contractual relationship between a land trust and a landowner whereby the landowner sells or donates their development rights while still owning the land. A landowner can get paid 60-80% of the full sale value of the property (based on a qualified appraisal), and the farm will remain in agricultural production and open space in perpetuity.
“Maya’s Farm is a gem in District 8, and I am relieved to see them permanently protected through the City’s Farmland Preservation Program,” Councilmember Carlos Garcia said. “Farmland within Phoenix is dramatically decreasing, and I am proud to serve on a Council committed to leading the efforts to conserve it for this generation, and generations to come.”
Sustainable Agriculture Grants
The Office of Environmental Programs has $645,000 set aside for grants to help farmers and food system workers protect the earth. The Resilient & Sustainable Agriculture Grants are meant to help private and non-profit farms that are interested in transitioning toward a more sustainable, resilient, equitable, and thriving food system. The Agri-Food Tech Innovation Grant can help develop product prototypes, advance food equity, and lessen the food system’s footprint on the environment.
These grants are perfect for things like:
- Food waste mitigation
- Water efficiency measures
- Shade structures/cloth
- Vertical farming
- Farm management software, sensing & Internet of Things (IoT)
- Agricultural robotics, machinery, and equipment
- Supply chain technologies
- Innovative food (cultured meat, novel ingredients)
“By offering these grants to farmers, Phoenix is not only helping to strengthen the local food system but we’re also encouraging growers to think of newer, better ways to take climate action that preserves and improves our land, air, and water for generations to come,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said.
Heat Response & Mitigation
Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation (OHRM) is leading the efforts of the hottest large city in the United States to find, deploy, and evaluate solutions to the growing hazard of urban heat. Though Phoenix has operated a portfolio of globally recognized urban heat programs for decades, the city took a more coordinated and aggressive response with the creation of OHRM.
With the creation of OHRM in October 2021 , Phoenix became the first city in the world with a publicly funded, municipal government office focusing on heat. The office’s creation was part of a $2.8 million climate and heat readiness investment which included a total of 14 new positions spread across 5 city departments, and allocations for the planting, watering, maintenance, and inventorying of trees,
The office is charged with a dual and equal focus on heat response (helping people cope with hot weather) and heat mitigation (cooling the city and making it more comfortable). The creation of the office was motivated by increasing recognition of the significant impacts of urban and extreme heat on public health, infrastructure performance, water resources, livability, and economic vitality.
Public Transit Service Changes
Good news — just in time for Earth Day! Valley Metro service changes, including for the MARY circulator, go into effect Monday, April 25, 2022. The Phoenix MARY Circulator – a free neighborhood mini-bus – will have a route extension along 59th Avenue via Fillmore Street and Roosevelt Street. The extension makes it possible for area community members such as Casa Pedro Ruiz senior residents to access Desert Sky Mall, health centers, the Maryvale Community Center and many other places. Additional details at valleymetro.org/ servicechanges .