Talk about multitasking -- sunflowers planted on previously blighted vacant lots are providing not just beauty, but it's hoped that they will also be able to remove contaminants from the soil and provide green jobs, plus – as a bonus – the seeds can be harvested and turned into environmentally friendly biofuel.
So far, the nonprofit group that's behind all this, GTECH, has partnered with a number of organizations – including Carnegie Mellon University. Their goals: reclaim vacant land, empower communities, and translate ideas into action.
Will Bradshaw of Green Coast Enterprise, a partner with GTECH in New Orleans' Project Sprout, told Living on Earth that sunflowers were chosen specifically for the project becauset they "create hope. People have a direction connection to them," he said. They remember their grandmothers or other relatives growing sunflowers. And they signal a brighter future.