Mar 31: Worm composting workshop

Worm Composting Workshop:
Learn about the benefits and how to's of composting with worms. It’s easy, fun, odorless and produces a great soil additive! You'll roll up your sleeves to make your own bin, and will go home with a complete vermiculture system!
11am – 12:30 pm at Construction Junction in Point Breeze.  Cost is $45 single/ $55 couple and includes one compost bin and worms.  Register here or call Donna at 412-488-7490 ext. 246;  more information on this and other workshops here.

For more information, email or call the composting hotline at: (412) 488-7490 ext. 226
Vermicomposting Workshops are scheduled based on public interest. Please join our mailing list so we know to schedule another workshop!

Mar 31: Furnish for Free collection

Getting rid of something usable?
Instead of putting it out on the curb, we will take it off your hands and offer it to someone who needs it!  We collect gently used items, including furniture, housewares, electronics, clothing, or pretty much anything that furnishes people and their homes.

Want to Donate?
We will collect donations on March 24th and March 31st from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our warehouse is located across from the East End Food Coop at 201 N Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 (signs will lead you to the Thomas Blvd entrance/parking lot and loading dock).

Have a need?  Connect with the community, and receive furnishings to meet your needs!  Come to our warehouse on Saturday April 7th from 9am-2pm.

Questions, more information or special pick up:  contact Susan at or 412-736-7295

Furnish For Free is a project of Who's Your Brother? (

Mar 28: Nuclear power talk at CMU

William D. Magwood IV (S 1982, HS 1983), Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will present: A Regulator’s Perspective on Nuclear Power in a Post–Fukushima World.  Mr. Magwood has a distinguished career in the nuclear field and in public service. He was the longest-serving head of theUnited States' civilian nuclear technology program, serving two Presidents and five Secretaries of Energy from 1998 until 2005.  His talk will review the current status of operating and newly-licensed reactors in the U.S. and discuss the pertinentissues before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Commissioner Magwood will speak at 4:30 p.m. in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall 103, Breed Hall Auditorium.

Mar 24: PRC composting workshop

Backyard Composting Workshop:
This workshop thoroughly covers the importance of composting, setting up a compost pile, proper maintenance, and ways of using finished compost.
10- 11:30 a.m. at the Boyd Community Center (1220 Powers Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238).  Cost is $50 single/ $55 couple and includes one compost bin.  Register here or call Donna at 412-488-7490 ext. 246;  more information on this and other workshops here.

Mar 24: Furnish for Free collection

Getting rid of something usable?
Instead of putting it out on the curb, we will take it off your hands and offer it to someone who needs it!  We collect gently used items, including furniture, housewares, electronics, clothing, or pretty much anything that furnishes people and their homes.

Want to Donate?
We will collect donations on March 24th and March 31st from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our warehouse is located across from the East End Food Coop at 201 N Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 (signs will lead you to the Thomas Blvd entrance/parking lot and loading dock).

Have a need?  Connect with the community, and receive furnishings to meet your needs!  Come to our warehouse on Saturday April 7th from 9am-2pm.

Questions, more information or special pick up:  contact Susan at or 412-736-7295

Furnish For Free is a project of Who's Your Brother? (

Mar 23-24: Farm to Table conference

Farm to Table Logo

The sixth annual Farm to Table conference is two fabulous days oflive cooking demonstrations,  local and organic food sampling, educational programs on health, nutrition, and gardening, kids' activities, and networking opportunities.  Learn where your food comes from, and where to find businesses and organizations that can provide you with healthy food and healthy lifestyle choices.   Last year there were 1500 attendees (500 at the Local Food Tasting).  

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days at the David Lawrence Convention Center downtown.  Friday from 5 to 8 is a grand Local Food Tasting event with live music and even more exhibitors;  Saturday morning there's a Networking Breakfast.  Cost: $15/one day, $25/both days, $25 for the tasting event and $10 for the breakfast.  Lots more information and online registration are at .

Pennsylvania teachers can attend for free, and can obtain Act 48 credits (email Erin for details).

Mar 21: Energy Conservation Session for Homeowners

8-13-10 Insulation: Walls and Attic 12, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Best Practices Research Alliance’s photostream
How can you improve your home, reduce your energy usage and save money? Come to the Squirrel Hill Energy Conservation Session for Homeowners and find out!  ACTION-Housing Green and GTECH (with support from the Heinz Endowments Breathe Project) will present a free energy conservation session for Squirrel Hill residents. Energy efficient homes not only benefit the environment, they also benefit homeowners by providing healthier homes and lower utility bills.
Spring is the perfect time to weatherize your home for energy savings. At this session, you’ll learn about energy efficiency while connecting with local programs and contractors who can help you to save energy and lower your bills. The event will include food and refreshments and families are welcome to attend. Join your neighbors and attend this informative session!
Registration is required for this event. Please call 412-361-2099, ext. #7 by March 14th to register.
Energy Conservation Session for Homeowners
 Wednesday, March 21st, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Where: The Jewish Community Center, 5738 Forbes Ave, Levinson Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15217(map)
Cost: Free
The 2010 Hunger Report, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from
Bread for the World’s photostream

Mar 20: Marcellus Protest/Counter Summit

Marcellus Infrastructure Counter Summit: Stop the Pipelines, Stop Fracking!
On March 20, at 4pm at Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield Street join Marcellus Protest for an inspiring evening of action, education and organizing to build the movement against shale gas development.

We are already witnessing the devastating impacts of fracking throughout our region: poisoned water, polluted air, dead animals, and many sick people. But the impacts don't stop at the well site.  The infrastructure needed to transport and process the gas - pipelines, compressor stations, and gas processing facilities - comes with its own set of hazards including heavy air pollution, explosions and other accidents, and the fragmentation of farms and forests.  Many pipeline companies are gaining public utility status to acquire right-of-ways through private property using eminent domain.  Meanwhile, much of the pipeline development is completely exempt from regulation by federal and state agencies.

From March 19 – 21,  oil and gas industry executives and their wall street investors will convene at the Marcellus Midstream conference in downtown Pittsburgh to make plans for these infrastructure developments.  Marcellus Protest is planning a summit of our own for residents and organizations across the region concerned about or impacted by this growing aspect of the industry.

On March 20th we will gather at Smithfield United Church of Christ (620 Smithfield St, downtown Pittsburgh), march on the convention center, then reconvene at Smithfield Church for dinner, a panel discussion about pipelines and infrastructure, and an organizing strategy session.  We are calling on all of our friends and allies to join us and build our movement against all aspects of shale gas development.  

Mar 20: Local Food Showcase

Western Pennsylvania is fortunate to have an abundance of family farms, entrepreneurial farmers, market gardeners and value added producers who work to fill the increasing demand for locally produced food. These individuals bring a delicious diversity of products to our restaurant and home tables. Even in the doldrums of winter, daydreams about the first tender shoots of asparagus, fresh eggs with saffron-colored yolks and tasty spring greens are beginning to crowd your imagination. Don’t ignore these yearnings, celebrate the next growing season at the 2012 Local Food Showcase (LFS).

The third annual “Local Food Showcase", this event will again unite Western PA food producers with consumers and food industry professionals. Our agricultural community yields an amazing variety of food, and the full spectrum of locally produced foods will be represented including fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods, sauces and salsas.

If you grow, cook, or eat food, this afternoon is for you! You will enjoy a dynamic, expo-style networking session. Local farmers and value added producers will be on hand representing their products and businesses. Pittsburgh chefs will partner with expo participants to create mouth-watering dishes and share recipe ideas, all utilizing local ingredients.This is a great opportunity to source locally grown, made and distributed products for retail, restaurant, CSA (community supported agriculture), wholesale and home use.

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shady Side Academy Senior School, 423 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.  Two fee options:  $50 for the full day, including a continental breakfast, your choice of a morning workshop, and either one admission to the Expo or an exhibit table -- or only $10 for admission to the afternoon Expo (1-4 p.m.).  For more information and to register, contact: Heather Mikulas (412) 473-2540 Email: at the Penn State Extension of Allegheny County.
 “Local Food Showcase: a Grower / Buyer Event” strives to foster economic development through business relationships. We wish to bring together farmers and chefs, retailers, wholesalers, institutions and home owners for the upcoming 2012 growing season and beyond.

Mar 17-18: Greenhouse workshop

Greenhouse Design and Management workshop at Three Sisters Farm

Tour Three Sisters’ Bioshelter and learn about energy efficient greenhouse design. Explore bioshelter crops through the seasons, fertility, and plant care techniques. Get an in-depth look at greenhouse pests and discover strategies and techniques to manage them organically and provide beneficial insect habitat. Lunch is included both days.

9 am – 4 pm both days at Three Sisters Farm in Sandy Lake;  $250.   For more information about courses, workshops, or summer internships, visit our website at, or contact us at or (724) 376-2797

Mar 17: Sustainability Salon Series: Sustenance Edition! (and Sing)

Our Solar Sustainability Salon last month was a rousing success, with over sixty people attending and a lot of interest generated in solar photovoltaics.  Our next one (on March 17th -- I doubt we'll have green beer, but we'll certainly be thinking green) will focus on food -- finding local sources, growing it ourselves, and eating more sustainably.  In addition to casual conversation and making new, we'll have an opportunity to see a roof garden, a small organic seedling operation, and shiitake cultivation, connect with local farmers, find out about farmers' markets and community gardens, explore permaculture concepts, think about humane and healthy livestock practices, source seedlings and gardening supplies... What we talk about will depend in part upon who comes;  that's the beauty of an open-ended gathering like this!   (check back here for event updates.)

2-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.   Please email me to RSVP (important!) and I'll send directions if you need 'em.  Bring food or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play. 

Thanks very much to those who RSVP'd (for a language stickler like me this is a terrible verbification to perpetrate, but it works) for this Saturday's "Sustenance" Sustainability Salon and Sing (even if you know right where we live, or are a maybe, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways).  If you might come but haven't explicitly emailed me an RSVP, please do so (even if we've spoken);  be sure to include "salon" in the Subject line as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.

It looks like we'll have quite a diverse group -- farmers including at least one CSA, folks from Grow Pittsburgh, the East End Food Co-op, the local Transition Town movement, and various garden projects around town (community gardens, herbs at the Library, who knows what else) -- and maybe even a leprechaun!  I'll also have information on hand about additional CSA and pasture-based farms, farmers' markets, and other ways to source local, organic, and humane food as well as several other upcoming events connecting people with local food.  We'll even have some sort of door prize or raffle, including a few tickets for the Farm to Table Conference.

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.  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten;  especially so this time around when we'll be highlighting local food sources around the region.  Dishes containing meat 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 -- last time we ran the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs, and a fun time was had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours!  Conversations will continue through the evening as well, particularly with a topic so near and dear to all our hearts (very near, as our stomachs are just below our hearts). 

Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons are an ongoing series of conversational salons in the French Enlightenment tradition: informal gatherings aimed at lively discussion around the notion of sustainability.  Some will feature one or more guests to lead a discussion or provide key insights on a particular topic, others will be open to whatever comes up.  Themes will likely include things like growing food (permaculture, local and urban agriculture, roof gardening, beekeeping, mushroom culture, etc.);  green building and green living;  urban trees, park exploration and stewardship;  regional air quality and watershed issues;  Marcellus shale, climate change, or alternative energy.  The afternoon discussions begin around 2pm at our home in Squirrel Hill, and are followed by a potluck dinner and a folksing.  Folks are welcome to attend for all or part of the afternoon and evening, and are encouraged to bring musical instruments as well as food or drink to share.
salon |səˈlän; saˈlô n |:  (historical) a regular social gathering of eminent people (esp. writers and artists) at the house of a woman prominent in high society;  a meeting of intellectuals or other eminent people at the invitation of a celebrity or socialite.
Regular, that's the plan.  Eminent and intellectual people, to be sure -- that's yinz.  House, check.  Woman, c'est moi.  High society, celebrity, socialite?  Not so much.  Salons occurred in 17th-century France, purportedly powering the Enlightenment, and were more recently repopularized by the Utne Reader.  I've long contemplated hosting an ongoing series of conversational salons in this tradition: informal gatherings around the notion of sustainability.  Some will have a featured guest to lead a discussion on a particular topic, others will be open to whatever comes up. 

Mar 16: Progressive Visions video contest

2012 Progressive Visions Short Video Contest:  So you're making a short film...  Is it about civil liberties under siege? Checking the power of corporations? LGBT rights? Global climate change? Marcellus Shale gas drilling? An over-the-top parody of certain "news" hosts? Opportunities for minorities (race, ethnicity, ways of thinking, etc.)? Your vision for the future? Or how about women in politics?  We think it would be exciting to see whatever YOU care about and want other people to care about, too.  Until we make this one really hot annual film festival, the message trumps production value for now.  Go for it!
Once again we have prize money to award! There's no fee to enter. Entries are due by 16, 2012.  Visit the 14th Ward Democratic Club web site for more details!

Mar 16: Green Drinks with Jim Ferlo

5-8 p.m. at the new EECO Center, corner of Larimer Ave and East Liberty Blvd.

Green Drinks is returning to the third Fridays of each month;  here are dates for the rest of 2012:
March 16 EECO Center 
April 20 Elements 
May 18
June 15 (TBA)
July 20 Elements 
August 17
September 21
October 19
November 16 Elements
December 21 
What is Green Drinks? Every month, people who work in the environmental field or have in interest in a greener planet meet up for drinks at places all around the world at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. We have a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you'll be made welcome. Just say, "are you green?" and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It's a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there's always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network.

These events are simple and unstructured. Make friends, develop new ideas, do deals and forge a new organic future. It's a force for the good and we'd like to help its spreading to other cities. Green Drinks meets on the last Thursday of the month (except in November).  Put it in your calendar and count on it: Green Drinks is happening every month.
email us at with questions, comments.

Mar 15: Film screening: "The Pipe"

"The Pipe" is the story of five farmers in a small fishing village in Ireland who, with support from many of their neighbors, chose to defy Shell Oil's and the Irish state's plans to lay a new gas pipeline. This film has been widely hailed at many film festivals, and their struggles mirror the struggles we all have fighting to stop the gas industry from ruining our state with fracking wells and thousands of miles of new pipelines. 

This showing of The Pipe will be followed on Tuesday March 20 by a Marcellus Infrastructure Counter-Summit sponsored by Marcellus Protest in opposition to the industry's Marcellus Mainstream conference focusing on pipelines.  The Counter-Summit will take place at Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield St., downtown Pittsburgh.  Doors open for sign-making at 4PM, a rally and march to the Convention Center at 5PM, dinner and counter-summit back at the Church beginning at 6PM.
7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 5401 Centre Avenue, Shadyside.

Mar 14: Marcellus forum

Marcellus Shale and the Challenges of Intergovernmental Coordination:  a free informational forum.

Marcellus shale is transforming Pennsylvania communities, bringing both opportunities for growth and challenges for local government. Pennsylvania is grappling with issues of local control and state oversight. Our expert panelists will address the following questions and more: 
• With recently enacted state legislation, as well as emerging federal rules, what is the next stage for local governments and state agencies with regard to Marcellus shale? How will local government, state and federal agencies coordinate shale production regulation, environmental oversight and revenue collection? 
• What is the historical context of oil and gas regulation in Pennsylvania? How will state oversight be balanced with local control and land use rights? What legal arguments are likely to be made? 
• What is the capacity of state and local government to ensure public safety?
Come with questions. 
Leave with answers. 

7-9 p.m. at the Heinz History Center (5th floor).  Register at or by calling 1-800-61-SHALE (1-800-617-4253).   A program of the League of Women Voters in collaboration with the Local Government Academy and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s award-winning Pipeline shale news website.

Mar 11: Empty Bowls dinner

The 17th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner is a simple meal of soup and bread which reminds us that many of our neighbors are struggling to feed their families, and directly supports the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest.

Celebrity Bowls Auction Update: The auction started early this year because we have so many great autographed bowls. You can check out the auction, make your bids, and be notified when other people bid. The auction ends on Sunday March 11 at the event. You can bid on your favorites even it you don't attend the Empty Bowls Dinner - read all about it at the celebrity-autographed online auction website.

Larry Berger from Saturday Light Brigade Radio  will host this family-friendly event with a strolling magician and children’s activities. We're expecting personality soup-servers and guests from local media. Empty Bowls draws over 1,200 people, and over 15 years has raised more than $438,000 to fight hunger in our communities.
Each ticket holder chooses a ceramic bowl from among over 1,200 on display, hand made by potters, professional and amateur, from all over the area. There is also a silent auction of the "bowls of the ball," and the Celebrity Bowls Auction!

The Food Bank and Just Harvest thank all the many local high schools, community classes, elementary schools, and professional ceramic studios and individuals who contribute to Empty Bowls!  If you would like to donate bowls to Empty Bowls, please call Ken Regal at Just Harvest: 412-431-8960. 

2-6 p.m. at Rodef Shalom, 4905 5th Avenue in Oakland. Tickets for the Empty Bowls Dinner are $20, and are available   online or by calling 412-431-8960.  View a list of Empty Bowl sponsors


Mar 10: Clean Water Fundraiser

Clean Water, Music and Fun - Join Clean Water Advocates to Raise Awareness About Safe Drinking Water
Saturday night - be there! Join Clean Water Fund supporters and local activists for a night of fun and education about the importance of protecting our drinking water in western Pennsylvania.  The evening features live music, an auction, and an open bar. Get to know your fellow Clean Water Fund supporters and learn how you can help protect our most precious resource - our three rivers.
Support Clean Water Fund!
Saturday March 10, 2012
6:30 to 10:30
Moon Township Golf Club
505 McCormick Road
Moon Township 15108 
Proceeds benefit Clean Water Fund and Surfrider Foundation.

For more information contact Christina Handley.

Mar 10: Food in our Neighborhoods

Food in Our Neighborhoods --  Bridging, Growing, & Nourishing:

A networking and educational event to foster sustainable communities around food.

- How can we meet the food needs of our communities?
- How can we support agricultural development in local settings?
- Discover new ways to foster local food enterprises.
- Develop & strengthen community partnerships.

Food in Our Neighborhoods includes a morning workshop, breakout sessions, locally sourced lunch, and an afternoon exhibit—Community Foodscapes.  Hosted by Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Studies program and School of Sustainability and the Environment.

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  at the athletic center on Chatham University's Shadyside campus.  $10 to cover the cost of a locally-sourced lunch.  A Chatham University Food Studies Program Event.  More information and online registration are available online at:; you can also email for more information.

Mar 10: Tree Tender course at Carlow

Become a Tree Tender in 2012!
tree tender logo
Not a Tree Tender yet?  Join Tree Pittsburgh at one of our popular coursesand learn about urban forestry, tree biology, pruning, planting, and tree maintenance basics.  We expect to train our 1000th Tree Tender in our March course!  Could you be him or her?  We plan to celebrate!

Register for one of these Tree Tender Courses here, and join nearly 1000 Pittsburghers greening the City, one tree at a time: 

  • Saturday March 10th, Carlow University, Oakland
  • Saturday June 16th, Rothschild-Doyno Collaborative, Strip District
  • Saturday September 15th, Western PA Conservancy, Washington's Landing
Tree Tenders was chosen as the "Best Way to Get Your Hands Dirty" by the City Paper in 2011! 

Mar 5: Composting and soil food webs with Sustainable Monroeville

Join Sustainable Monroeville for an informative class on the basics of your garden soil.  This 1.5 hour class will include a lecture by Jeff Newman of Steel City Soils LLC and some interactive group work.

This free class will focus on getting to know the site and soil at the Monroeville Public Library Food Garden.  We'll start by talking about soil fertility and plant interactions, then participate in a small group exercise we'll get you thinking about the underground city that is your garden soil.  You will leave the class with some new facts and some practical things you can do to increase your long-term fertility.

7 p.m. in the downstairs program room of the Monroeville Public Library.  Free and open to the public.

Mar 3-4: Peaceburgh Artist Showcase

Peaceburgh Artist Showcase: Creating Community Consciousness
Like excited neurons in the collective mind of Peaceburgh, our community is quickly becoming stronger and more sustainable, and our connections are deepening. The next step in this process is creating a local economy where community members support each other, while adding their unique gifts of expression to this beautiful city of ours.

So, please join us in bringing the ideal into the real, at the Peaceburgh Artist Showcase, March 3-4 at First United Methodist Church in Shadyside. This open-market style event is meant to showcase local artists, craftspeople, and vendors in the area, while helping them get their name and gifts out there (and sell some of their work!). You can expect to see everything from installation art and paintings, to crafts, jewlery, and clothing, and even vegetarian food.

On Saturday night, there will also be presentations from and a chance to get involved with the Peaceburgh Online Community, Occupy Pitttsburgh, Transition Pittsburgh, and Transformation Alliance Peaceburgh. Plus, you will have a chance to explore healing modalities such as reiki and massage, divination readings, dance to local music, and even make some music of your own. Or, just come to the market on Sunday afternoon and enjoy the unique gifts offered by your fellow yinzers!

Spread the word! Support the local flow! It's up to us to create the more beautiful city our hearts know is possible.
Hope to see yinz soon,
Peace n'at 

Peaceburgh Artist Showcase
Featuring: local artists, crafts, jewelry, and food; healing and massage; psychic readings and divinations; live and collaborative music; plus presentations from the Peaceburgh Online Community, Transition Pittsburgh, Occupy Pittsburgh, and Transformational Alliance Peaceburgh

  • Saturday, March 3rd; 6:00 - 11:00 PM and Sunday March 4th; 12:00 - 3:00 PM$5 - 10 Suggested Contribution (No one will be turned away for lack of funds)
  • At First United Methodist Church in Shadyside5401 Centre Avenue (Corner of Centre and Aiken); Click Here for a map and directions

Mar 3: PASA poultry workshop

PASA Master Class
Intermediate Backyard and Small Flock Poultry Care:  Ensuring the Health and Happiness of Your Feathered Flock
An intermediate-level workshop for more experienced keepers of small poultry flocks. PASA Agricultural Science Advisor, holistic veterinarian, Susan Beal and Fertrell Animal Nutrition Team Leader, Jeff Mattocks, will team up to present this informative program.  Discuss the essentials of feeding and nutrition - as well as coop and yard design - to ensure the maintenance of the good health of your flock. Also gain skills and knowledge for troubleshooting health and nutrition issues in your flock.  Learn how to identify, treat, and prevent common illnesses and health issues. Participants will leave with practical knowledge to help their backyard chickens to thrive!

9:30am-12:30pm at the James Simon Sculpture Studio, 305 Gist Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  $10 PASA Members $15 Non-Members  Space is limited.  Pre-registration Required.  Please register online or call 412-365-2985.