You saw them popping up on your instagram feed: the brilliant yellows and greens of the sunflower field at Dorothea Dix Park. They were planted for more than just a pretty backdrop with downtown Raleigh in the horizon; they were planted for fuel.
Acres of sunflowers were first planted by the City of Raleigh’s public utilities department in 2010 along the Neuse River Greenway Trail. This July, they found their home at Dorothea Dix Park. The City harvests the sunflowers to create thousands of gallons of biodiesel, which is processed into fuel to run tractors, trailers, and farm equipment.
In the future, the City of Raleigh has big plans for a transformative public space. But for now, massive open fields, tree-lines streets and skyline views make this park a place to roam and explore the outdoors in the middle of the city.
This video was originally featured in HomeFront: Fall 2018 Edition. Sign up for the newsletter here!