Local food resources

The Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons have continued each month.  The second Sustainability Salon (as well as the 14th15th, 26th, and 27th!) focused on food -- growing it, and sourcing it locally.  Afterwards, Maren put together a list of many such local sources:  CSA farms, farmers' markets, grassfed and humanely raised meats and dairy, natural foods suppliers, bakeries, and advocacy organizations.  This list now resides on a growing Resources section of the Putting Down Roots Blogger site.

Oct 28: Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability

Survival of the Wisest:  a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Jonas Salk's birth, showcasing his commitment to a sustainable human future. The program will be a look forward, addressing sustainability from a number of different perspectives with a focus on the environment, global health, and the human dimension of what will be required to bring about constructive change.

Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health and Office of the Provost, and the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, this event brings together academic and business leaders for a day-long program. Looking at the relationship between sustainability and public health, session topics will include population health, the nexus between sustainability and a green economy, and sustainable businesses in sustainable communities.  More information here.

CONFIRMED PRESENTERS

  • Peter L. Salk, Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation
  • Jeffrey Sachs (keynote), The Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Donald S. Burke, Pitt Public Health
  • John Dernbach, Environmental Law Center, Widener Law School
  • Bernard Goldstein, Pitt Public Health
  • Neil C. Hawkins, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Van Jones, Crossfire, CNN
  • Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
  • Jane Madden, Mission Measurement
  • Joylette Portlock, Communitopia
  • Allison Robinson, UPMC

Oct 18: Sustainability Salon

The 33rd Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon will take place in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Solar Tour.  More details will come along later, but in the meantime you can take a look at the program from last year's Solar Tour as well as the general Salon info below.

For Salons in general:
3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm.  We'll aim to introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  


Note once again that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
----------------------------
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included climate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, and more food.
Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  
And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 

Oct 18: Pittsburgh Solar Tour

PennFuture's annual regional solar tour gives you a chance to visit lots of homes, businesses, farms powered by the sun.  There'll be self-guided tours, featured sites with additional people on hand to show you around and talk about options, and also a bike tour of some of the sites.  More information at PghSolarTour.org (the PennFuture site currently describes last year's tour but will have info on 2014 soon).

11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  A map of tour locations can be seen here.

Our house is a stop on the tour, of course, and afterwards we'll seguĂ© right into a Sustainability Salon.

Sep 21: People's Climate March in NYC

On September 21 in New York City a quarter million citizens are expected to demand that the world's leaders take immediate action on climate change. 

The Peoples Climate March will be held just before President Obama and his Chinese counterpart  attend the UN Climate Summit,  http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/.

Locally, the Sierra Club Allegheny Group and the Thomas Merton Center will be coordinating buses for a one-day trip from Pittsburgh.  If you are interested in reserving a seat on the bus, please contact Peter Wray with CLIMATE on the Subject line … pjwray@verizon.net.


Can’t make it to New York? Check out the global mobilization page

Sep 20: ALCOSAN Open House



It's time for ALCOSAN's annual award-winning Open House event! Join the Allegheny Sanitary Authority for the region's largest watershed and environmental festival, featuring hands-on environmental exhibits, treatment plant and laboratory tours, microbiology and watershed life demonstrations, and educational activities for all ages!

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at ALCOSAN's water treatment facility on the North Shore (3300 Preble Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233) -- here are directions.   Free and open to the public.

For more information, use the following links:
For a printable event flyer, click here.
For a current list of Open House exhibitors and activities, click here.
For more information about our 2014 Open House Educators' Workshop, click here.

Sep 14: House Concert with Sparky & Rhonda Rucker

It's about time for another house concert at our place!  This time we welcome Sparky & Rhonda Rucker as they swing around the Midwest singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition.  Sparky is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author.  He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons.  Rhonda is a musician, children's author, storyteller, and songwriter.  Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances.  The Ruckers also weave American history, traditional storytelling, and humor into their concerts, and they have been featured tellers at the International Storytelling Center and Festival.

Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting evening of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Br'er Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, Appalachian music, slave songs, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions.

Over forty years of performing, Sparky and Rhonda have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as well as NPR's On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition.  Their recording Treasures & Tears was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology Singing Through the Hard Times.


Doors open at 4 p.m., and the concert will start at 4:30 at our home in Squirrel Hill;  potluck dinner afterwards (please bring snacks, entrees, side dishes, desserts, and/or beverages to share).  Be sure to RSVP by email with "concert" in the Subject: line (or by phone at 412-251-5814) -- then I'll send you directions and other information.  Suggested donation $15 (goes to the performers).  Photos courtesy of the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, Florida (top, with stones) and Jack Goodwin (with plates).

Sep 12-14: Allegheny Defense Project fall gathering

Please join the Allegheny Defense Project at the 21st Annual Fall Gathering, to celebrate the important work of defending the Allegheny. Take part in the camaraderie with fellow activists and friends while camping, hiking, participating in discussions, listening to music, eating great food, and just having fun!
Please RSVP so they can plan for food.  

The Fall Gathering is a family oriented event providing time for Allegheny Defense Project members, supporters and environmentally conscious individuals to come together in the fall to camp, hike, eat, and learn about issues impacting the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania’s only national forest.


You can come out and spend whatever time you have whether it’s for one event, a meal, any day, the whole weekend, or just stop by for the campfire in the evening.

If you can provide a dish, or can help with kitchen duties please let us know :) Please also bring all of your own camping equipment including cup, plate, and spoon.

If you would like to join us, but do not have equipment, we may be able to hook you up with some...let us know!

From Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, at the homestead of of Bill and Mary Belitskus in Kane, PA, near the Allegheny National Forest.  For more information contact Mary by email or at (814) 778-5173.  RSVP by email to mbproact@penn.com.  Donations will be requested for each meal, or a donation of $30 for the weekend.  Meals / desserts are vegetarian, some vegan, but feel free to bring your own supplies to supplement.


Note: The Allegheny Defense Project is an organization founded on principles of non-violence. We request that participants do not bring any illegal substances. Your well-behaved pets are always welcome.

Sep 10: Preserving the Season



Susanna Meyer, author of Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything, and Danielle Marvit of the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange will introduce you to simple and fun ways to preserve seasonal specialties.  Learn how to freeze and dry herbs, prepare a quick batch of refrigerator pickles, and make a fail-proof water bath processed jam.  The presenters will share samples of easy and delicious recipes that you can use at home to help you enjoy local foods all year long!  There will also be plenty of time for questions. 
6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Homewood.  Free and open to the public, though a suggested $10 donation will be accepted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA);  please call 412-242-3598 to reserve your spot.

Sep 8: Local organizing meeting for People's Climate March

From Pittsburgh to New York City, let's make climate change history!

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.  With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history.  On September 21, hundreds of Pittsburghers will join thousands of people from around the world on the streets of New York City to demand the world we know is within our reach:  a world with an economy that works for people and the planet;  a world safe from the ravages of climate change;  a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

Join the Pittsburgh mobilization for the People’s Climate March.  Learn about this historic mobilization and find out how to get involved — here in Pittsburgh, or in New York City!  Find out how to take part in this mobilization and hear from local environmental, labor and faith leaders who are mobilizing for the People’s Climate March as well as organizers who are working on the ground in New York City to make this historic event possible.

7pm at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh (605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA).  Light refreshments will be served.  For more information, contact randy.francisco@sierraclub.org

Sep 6: Sustainability Salon on Climate Change

With the NYC climate rally coming up on September 21st, we're going to talk about climate happenings here in Pittsburgh, across the country, and around the world.  The 32nd Sustainability Salon will take place on Saturday, September 6th (3-10 p.m.).  We'll cover science, local and national policy, and individual action.  The next Salon will be on October 18th, in conjunction with the annual Pittsburgh Solar Tour.

What's going on with climate change deniers, and how can they be convinced?  Recent news articles have reported on a "warming hiatus," claiming that there has been little or no warming of the planet for the past 15 years, contradicting predictions of the climate models.  Dr. Neil Donahue examines the details of climate models, how they construct predictions about global warming, and whether the warming hiatus is real or imagined.  The link between climate and our energy choices becomes clear as each piece of the climate model is examined for its effects on global temperature trends.  This understanding is especially timely as Iceland experiences the eruption of the massive Bardarbunga volcano.  Neil (your Salon co-host) teaches in the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.  He was founding director of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, and now directs the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research and serves as a National Academies Science & Engineering Ambassador.

What is Pittsburgh doing?  We'll hear from Dr. Aurora Sharrard, the Vice President of Innovation for the Green Building Alliance.  In 2008, she became the original convener of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, which works collaboratively in the Pittsburgh region to reduce greenhouse gases through measurable actions.  Following the adoption of two Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and a the adoption and an update of the Pittsburgh Greenhouse Gas Inventory, GBA transitioned the PCI convener role to the City of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  GBA remains a strong PCI Partner through its Pittsburgh 2030 District program, which Aurora co-founded.  (Photo:  Mark Dixon)

What can individual citizens do?  
Ray Roberts leads the new Pittsburgh chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, a nationwide network engaging and empowering people in efforts to make real, effective change in public policy to mitigate climate change.  Their main aim has been to pass a revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend program -- which will naturally incentivize reductions in fossil fuel consumption while encouraging development of renewable sources and energy efficiency -- and putting money in most people's pockets.

We'll also have Barb Grover, president of the Sierra Club's Allegheny Group, to talk about the upcoming People's Climate March and rally in New York City, and gather more participants for the Pittsburgh contingent, and fill us in on what will be happening here at home that day.  Jonathan Gray, Pittsburgh Climate Defender organizer for PennEnvironment and an activist in the labor, economic justice, and social justice movements. will talk about ongoing local volunteer opportunities.

For Salons in general:
3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm.  We'll aim to introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

Note once again that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
----------------------------
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included environmental artenvironmental education (Part I & Part II)community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, and more food.

Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 

Sep 6: Tree Tender class

Become a Tree Tender in 2014!

"Tree Tenders are the national guard of the arborist world: a civilian group taking care of what the pros can't quite get to." -Pittsburgh City Paper, Best Way to Get Your Hands Dirty, 2011
Join over 1,300 Pittsburghers, Greening the City One Tree at a Time!  Tree Tenders are making a difference in Pittsburgh, planting trees and caring for existing ones--ensuring a healthy urban forest for generations to come.  Tree Tenders take an 8 hour course and learn about urban forestry practices, tree biology and health, proper planting, pruning, and maintenance, and lead their communities in organizing tree plantings and tree care there.

Tree Tender courses will be offered in two formats. You can choose an all day Saturday course, or an evening series; breaking down the content into 3 blocks of time. The cost is $40, which includes registration, materials, light food, and instruction. Scholarships are available, contact Joe@treepittsburgh.org or call 412-362-6360 for more information. 

Due to the nature of this course, we prefer Tree Tenders be at least 16 years of age. If you have any special needs, please inquire and we can provide for them.  Pre-Registration is required.

Upcoming classes:

Class 4: September 6, 9am-4pm, Pittsburgh Public Market (strip district) Register HERE.

Class 5:** Must Attend all 3 evening sessions.October 1, 8,  and 15 5:30pm-8:30pm, Lawrenceville (location TBD) Registration will open soon!

Aug 27: Going vegan

It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan!  Vegan Pittsburgh and the East End Food Co-op present Rebecca Gilbert, founder of Yummy Plants vegan lifestyle website and author of It’s Easy to Start Eating Vegan! YUMMY PLANTS 101, a step-by-step plan to help you start eating vegan today. In this presentation, Rebecca suggests vegan protein sources, easy egg and dairy substitutions, how to stock a vegan pantry, and how to stay vegan in social situations. ​ She’ll demo and sample her recipe for “No Chicken Salad” and share tips on how to turn traditional recipes into vegan delights. Attendees will have the opportunity to buy her book.

6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Homewood.  Free and open to the public;  please call 412-242-3598 to reserve your spot.

Aug 26: Methane and Climate in Pennsylvania

The National Academies’ Science & Engineering Ambassadors presents 

The Methane Martini:  Pennsylvania’s Next Popular Cocktail

Burning natural gas for energy results in less carbon dioxide emissions than coal, but methane (the primary component of natural gas) is a potent greenhouse gas with 30 times more warming power than CO2. In other words, a little bit of methane goes a long way in terms of warming the planet.

Daniel Tkacik and team of scientists from Carnegie Mellon University spent much of the past year measuring natural gas leaks around the country. He’ll share stories about this project, explain the innovative methods devised for this work, and discuss the implications of how these leaks will complicate the ongoing debate about natural gas and its impact on climate.

Daniel is communications manager for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his doctorate in mechanical engineering at CMU as a student in Neil Donahue’s lab.

This is the second in a three-part series called “Climate Change Here and Now.”  The third, and final, presentation will feature Ellis Robinson, who will illuminate yet another piece of the climate puzzle with his research on the chemistry of particulate air pollution:  Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Lungs Too).
  
6 p.m. at Bar Marco's Union Hall (2216 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222).   Complimentary hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and the event is free but please be sure to RSVP here.


The Science & Engineering Ambassadors program is an activity of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). We connect opinion leaders with local experts, building relationships at the community level on the topic of energy.  The NAS and NAE are private, non-profit societies of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the public good.

Aug 24: Red, Ripe, and Roasted

Summer Crops Steal the Show at Phipps’ Red, Ripe and Roasted Celebration
10th annual tomato and garlic festival to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Come out to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to celebrate two of summer’s most bountiful crops at its 10th annual Red, Ripe and Roasted tomato and garlic festival. Held on the public garden’s sustainably managed front lawn and in the Outdoor Garden, this family-friendly event features cooking demonstrations, a tomato contest, a farmers’ market and activities for kids — all to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
   Always a seasonal highlight, Red, Ripe and Roasted is a foodie’s dream-come-true with a focus on fresh, local produce and its many culinary possibilities. CafĂ© Phipps — a 3-star Green Restaurant Certified® eatery — will prepare and share a variety of delicious dishes to sample, there will be cooking demonstrations and a Phipps-grown garlic roast, and a farmers’ market featuring organic and Certified Naturally Grown produce will give guests an opportunity to buy plenty of tomatoes and garlic to experiment with at home. Beloved garden writer and television/radio host Doug Oster — author of Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil — and food writer Miriam Rubin, author of Tomatoes, will also be in attendance to present some of their favorite recipes and sign copies of their books.
   Another popular festival activity is a tomato contest for which home gardeners are invited to enter their ugliest, smallest or largest ripe tomatoes for a chance to win special prizes— among them a membership to Phipps. And, as always, a variety of discovery activities, including a fun food matching game and opportunities to pot garlic cloves to take home, will delight children of all ages. Let’s Move Pittsburgh and several other local organizations will also be in attendance to engage event-goers.
   While highlighting western Pennsylvania’s quintessential crops, the festival also encourages guests to share the season’s harvest with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. By donating a bag of fresh produce to help community members in need, festival participants will be admitted for free to both Red, Ripe and Roasted and to Summer Flower Show, featuring bright blooms and whimsical model train displays, during event hours. In 2013, the festival resulted in the collection of 2,174 pounds of food.

11 a.m. –  4 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 


About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org.

Aug 23: Permaculture Design workshop

Darrell Fry, regional permaculture leader and owner of Three Sisters Farm in Sandy Lake, will teach a three-hour "Introduction to Permaculture Design" workshop at Slippery Rock University's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research.  The Center, begun in 1987, will serve as a model for the program.

Frey has been a permaculture design professional since 1986 and is the author of "Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm."
The center's sustainable systems include gardens, an edible landscape, natural building methods, LED-certified building design and renewable energy systems. The center has used permaculture practices is its guide in the design and development of it facilities as a holistic and organic system.

Participants will learn the principles and practices of permaculture and see firsthand how they have been applied at the center.

9 a.m. to noon at the Macoskey Center (247 Harmony Road, Slippery Rock, PA 16057).  Cost of the workshop is $25 and pre-registration is required.  For details and registration information call 724.738.4050.  Fran Bires is the center's director.

Aug 22: Benefit poetry & music concert

House concert of poetry and music in support of the Thomas Merton Center's local "Stop Sexual Assault in the Military" project  Jan Beatty, Tracy Drach, Celeste Gainey, Eve Goodman , Leslie McIlroy and Ginny Hildebrand.

7:30 p.m. at a home near Penn Ave. & Dallas Admission is only $10! What better way to spend a summer evening than with friends working to make a positive impact in the world?

Seats are filling up fast so RSVP ASAP!  


To reserve call Jan (412) 241-8154

Aug 20: Homemade green cleaning products

Learn how to make your home sparkle with eco-friendly solutions! Green cleaning products are easily made at home with common ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and most of all water. There are many reasons to try these child and pet friendly products – improved air quality, reduced amounts of toxic chemicals in our waterways, and hundreds of dollars saved on store-bought products! Naturally Clean professional Rachel Breit will demonstrate how to make all-purpose cleaner, stain remover, bathroom cleaner, and air freshener, and attendees will take home recipes and a sample!
6:30 at Gemini Children's Theater in The Factory in Point Breeze (enter parking lot from Penn Ave. or from Meade Street).  Free and open to the public;  please call 412-242-3598 to reserve your spot.

Aug 16: Sustainability Salon on Environmental Art

The 31st Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Saturday, August 16th (2-10 p.m).  The topic will be Environmental Art. And mark your calendar:  the 32nd Sustainability Salon on Climate Change will be on September 6th, and we'll be hosting a house concert on September 14th.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come...  and read on for important information:  


The 31st Sustainability Salon will focus on environmental art:  art that teaches us about the natural environment, art that makes us think about our relationship to it, and art that is in direct service to the environment -- and thus to humanity, for we are part of it.  We'll hear from three very different Pittsburgh collaboratives.

The passenger pigeon returns -- to Sustainability Salons:  Artist, educator, and writer Ann Rosenthal addresses the local manifestation of global concerns, including climate change, food safety, and nuclear waste. Her work has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh;  Exit Art and the Hudson River Museum in New York;  the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia;  and Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren in Germany.  She also directs LOCUS – a creative commons where art, community and ecology meet.
For 2014, Ann and collaborator Steffi Domike are developing Moving Targets, an art installation that links the artists’ shared cultural heritage and family migrations to the story of the American passenger pigeon.  For the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon this year, the artists are working with a coalition of environmental and arts institutions in Pittsburgh to promote a series of regional events.  In case the reference in the title of this section is obscure to you, I'll note that in May, CMNH's Pat McShea brought an actual passenger pigeon to share this century-old cautionary tale of species extinction with salongoers.

Local ecoartists with a global reach:  The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) gathers ideas that seek to create substantive models for change by addressing renewable energy infrastructure within the genre of public art.  The goal of the founders, Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian, is to design and construct a series of large-scale site-specific installations that uniquely combine art with utility-scale clean energy generation.  The artworks utilize the latest in renewable energy science as media for their construction, and help to innovate the application of new technologies. Each land art generator sculpture has the potential to provide power to hundreds or even thousands of homes, while fulfilling its traditional role—public art as conceptually engaging amenity to our common space.
Elizabeth and Rob will discuss the LAGI competitions held for Dubai/Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Copenhagen and the portfolio of ideas that have come from the project. But we will begin the talk by providing a context for LAGI within the history of art and architecture, eco art, sustainable urban planning, and the net positive movement. 

Artists, educators, and activists Tom & Connie Merriman have been working on projects in academia and in the community for decades.  
Constance Merriman creates art works that are made in response to formal issues of art and to the social and environmental impact caused by the worldwide extraction of fuel for energy.  She uses a wide variety of media to create works that have been exhibited in galleries, museums and other public settings.  Connie is an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University and an instructor at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  She also engages in residencies with communities and schools through the Mattress Factory Museum and The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Thomas Merriman is a teaching professor in the School of Design and teaches courses in furniture design, form generation, and prototyping.  His primary interest is in the process of reconciling design intent with the constraints of materials and process in the generation of form.  As a fellow at the STUDIO, Merriman, he and Connie studied the role of the natural world in urban environments and the role of humans in the natural world.  Merriman also collaborated with faculty from the School of Psychology at New York University to develop methods and instrumentation for studying motor skill development in infants.  Merriman holds a BFA in Sculpture from Carnegie Mellon University and previously worked for the U.S. Steel Corporation and was a partner of The Transit Shop, a co-operative furniture making shop.  He continues to design and build furniture for private clients.

If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other interesting things around our place.  That'll mainly be happening between 2 & 4 p.m. 

2-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 2pm.  We'll aim to introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.  With the earlier start time (tested during our recent Sunday salon, when we also ended early) we're going to try really hard to get the talks started in a timely manner while still having enough mingling-time!  Please email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

Note once again that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
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For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, and more food.

Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 



And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 


Aug 16: 8th annual DRYerson Festival

Join the Center for Coalfield Justice, Sierra Club, and the Izaak Walton League Harry Enstrom Chapter for a festive celebration of the fight to restore Duke Lake in Ryerson Station State Park.  There will be free food, live music, and entertainment for the whole family. Join us in the fight to protect the park from more mining.

1 to 4 pm at Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County.  For more information contact Veronica at veronica@coalfieldjustice.org.

Aug 14: PRC Composting workshop

You can attend PRC's Backyard Composting Workshop, receive an 80-gal compost bin, and tour Chatham's Eden Hall campus, all in the same evening! 

6:30-8:30 at the Field Labs of Chatham University's Eden Hall Campus.  Fee : $25;  $30 for a couple (receiving one composter).

Register online or contact Ann Payne for more info by email or at (412) 365-1375).

Aug 13: GMO OMG film screening

How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? Is it possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? These questions take film director Jeremy Seifert on a journey from his family’s table in California to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and ultimately to the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insights into a question of growing concern to citizens around the world: what’s on your plate? After the film, Sara Heald of GMO FREE PA will be on hand to discuss the film and answer your questions.
6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Homewood.  Free and open to the public;  please call 412-242-3598 to reserve your spot.

Aug 9: H20 In the Know workshop

​​Ever wonder why a street or basement floods?  Or how to build a rain garden?   Join the Larimer Green Team​ for their Annual Community Cookout and explore how water affects Larimer, and how to create easy and helpful water elements for your home, streets, and neighborhood.  

1 p.m. at the Larimer Village Green and Community Garden (Larimer Avenue + Mayflower Street).  Free, and open to all ages!!  Please register online at http://bit.ly/1s873qr

*U R Here workshops are offered as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s 
 Architecture Explorations k-12 outreach program.  You can a
ttend this workshop and enroll in CMU's Saturday Architecture Camps for only $25!  For more information please contact Outreach Coordinator:  Samantha Carter, 412-268-5551 or email scarter@andrew.cmu.edu

Aug 7: Climate volunteer meetup

PennEnvironment Climate Defenders -- come to PennEnvironment's volunteer meetup to learn about how you can help beat the coal industry and cut global warming pollution from power plants.

7 p.m. at 1831 Murray Ave, 15217 (suite 219);  please call Jonathan at 412-593-7208 to RSVP.

Aug 7: Film screening on restoring buildings as green building


The Greenest Building: The Role of Historic Buildings in Creating a Sustainable Culture”

Restoring old and historic houses is "green building" because repurposing our built environment helps reduce our impact on the natural environment.

Join the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation for a screening of “The Greenest Building,” by Jane Turville, a preservationist, writer, and producer of this important documentary that examines the cost of tearing down our historic built environment.

Following the film, Ms. Turville will discuss the connection between built heritage and natural heritage, and their important role in creating sustainable societies.

Jane Turville, writer, producer and director of "The Greenest Building," received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon and interned with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in London, England.  She has worked for several architectural firms in the Portland area and more recently as non-profit development director/program manager for the Northwest Earth Institute. With over 12 years experience in historic preservation, architectural design and construction administration, Ms. Turville has given presentations on Portland, Oregon's Old Town historic district and has organized and presented various sustainability conference workshops for teenagers and adults.

Film screening and filmmaker discussion 6-8 p.m.  at the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center (744 Rebecca Ave. in Wilkinsburg).  Free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated!  Contact Mary Lu Denny: 412-471-5808 ext. 527.  

Jul 31 & Aug 1: EPA hearing on climate pollution

The EPA is taking public comment on its proposed rules to control carbon pollution from power plants in order to mitigate climate change.  They will accept written comments and oral comment at four locations (Atlanta, Denver, Washington, and Pittsburgh) -- but all the speaking slots have been filled, despite expanding each hearing to two days.  If you're not already registered to speak, you can still attend as long as space permits, and you can also submit written comments online or by mail.


Jul 31: Peoples Rally for Climate Action

You are invited to join hundreds of citizens from around the tri-state area at a rally and march outside the public hearing on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce climate change emissions.  We need to send a strong message to the EPA and Big Coal that there is overwhelming public support for national climate action.
11:00 am to Noon at the August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh 15222)
Big Coal and their climate-denying allies are already trying to weaken the EPA’s historic climate protection efforts. 
We need a massive turnout for this rally to demonstrate tremendous public support for EPA’s historic effort to reduce our nation's greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

For more information contact Rachel Martin at rachel.martin@sierraclub.org.