GLENDALE, Ariz. –The city of Glendale’s Water Services Department has been
honored with a 2018 Crescordia award for its one-of-a-kind Desert Food Forest program.
The innovative garden was recognized in the category of Environmental Education and
Communication. The award was announced at Arizona Forward’s 38th Annual
Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony on Oct. 6.
The Desert Food Forest, located at Glendale’s Main Library, is part regenerative
landscape and part outdoor classroom. It introduces residents and visitors to the
Sonoran Desert’s array of over 100 water-wise edible plants and shows them how those
plants, with their alternating fruiting seasons, can produce year-round food for both
people and wildlife.
“This prestigious award shows that Glendale is a leader in Arizona when it comes to
instilling environmental excellence, conservation and sustainability into everything we
do,” said Glendale’s Director of Water Services Craig Johnson. “I’m very proud of our
conservation and sustainable-living team for their dedication and professional expertise
and it’s their outstanding work that has resulted in this esteemed recognition.”
“The Desert Food Forest is an ideal setting for ongoing public education and outreach
activities, such as our free classes about sustainable landscaping and growing desert
edibles,” said Joanne Toms, Glendale’s administrator of the conservation and
sustainable living division programs. “The classes are fun and encourage people to
sample desert foods, such as agave syrup, prickly pear candy and pomegranate juice.”
The Desert Food Forest is part of a public-private partnership, funded through an
Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management grant and involved several
partners, including the Glendale Public Library, Linking Edible Arizona Forests
Network, Maricopa County Master Gardener program, and Trees Matter.
The Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards program is considered the
benchmark for promoting sustainability and inspiring civic and business leaders to
preserve Arizona’s future.


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