If you haven’t heard, the place we call home has been getting attention as one of the best places to live in the whole country. Madison has recently been recognized for having the best quality of life and being one of the best college towns. Back in 2014, NerdWallet named Madison as one of the greenest cities in the US, and for good reasons! Here are some of the ones we thought of in our office.Read More >>
Bicycles, Bicycles, Everywhere
Approximately 6.2 percent of Madison residents commute to work everyday on bikes. No wonder why we are considered “the bike capital of the Midwest.” The Bike Madison program allows for bicycles to become registered, and provides residents a place to give feedback if there is an issue with a street not being bicycle-friendly. They also run various events like the Car Free Challenge.
For those who do not have their own bikes, our B-cycle bike-sharing program has over 40 stations and 360 bikes, ranging from Shorewood Hills to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, with many stations in Downtown. Day passes and commuter passes are available, with special discounts for UW-Madison students and employees.
Locally sourced food is not tough to find here! The Dane County Farmers Market is the largest producer-only farmers market in the entire country and offers a variety of plants, meats, cheese, and other high quality products grown in our area. Approximately 300 vendors descend on “the square” every Saturday from mid-April to mid-November. Don’t forget to bring your own bags to help save plastic. If you’re looking for organic, locally sourced groceries during the week, Willy Street Co-Op has been in Madison for over 35 years and now has two locations (one East of Downtown and one in Middleton.)
There are approximately 60 community gardens within the Dane County area. Urban gardening and community farming help provide local fruits and vegetables to many area markets, schools, restaurants, and hospitals.
Just north of Madison, Troy Community Farm contains five acres for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. There are FairShare CSA Coalition members who pick organic produce every Thursday from June through late October. There is also produce available at their stand on the 500 block of Troy Drive every Thursday Evening from 4 to 6:30 p.m. through summer and most of fall.
Rain Gardens & Water Conservation
There are currently around 567 rain gardens throughout Madison. These help soak up around 30 percent more water than regular lawns, according to the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission. Rain gardens can range from a couple of inches to two feet and prevent pollutants like snow salt, oil, and fertilizer from entering our local lakes and streams. The plants used in rain gardens depend on the amount of sunlight in that particular location.
You can also plant a rain garden at your home. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides a free guide on how to set up your own. If you are not able to create your own rain garden at your home, you can volunteer at one of the city’s seven gardens.
Plenty of Places to Enjoy the Greenery
Grab a bike and see why you should love spring in Madison, too. Take a hike at Owen Conservation Park, or grab a kayak and enjoy the various lakes that surround us. Whether it’s a quick trip to the farmers market, or going to and from work, stop and enjoy the scenery. We’re proud to serve one of the greenest communities in the entire nation.
See how EZ it was for us to go green by learning about the EZOP Eco-Culture.