May 25 & 26: Plant sale in Forest Glen


Putting Down Roots, a.k.a. Maren, will be at home and welcoming folks interested in seedlings and transplants of myriad vegetables, herbs, flowers, berries, and perennials. I'll also have the CobraHead garden tool available, as well as amazing soil-enriching worm castings made locally, and can repackage seeds for your own plantings.

Get a head start on tomatoes -- some are as big as two feet tall and flowering. Strawberry plants already setting fruit for this year will expand in your garden as they send out runners to create daughter plants. Brassicas, cucurbits, annual and perennial herbs, native perennials for sun and shade (including sweet woodruff and jack-in-the-pulpit)...

Times set so far are noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th.

If you don't know where we are located, or if these times don't work out for you, just touch base (email me with "plant sale" in the Subject line). Or give a call.. in the 'Burgh, 251 and then 5814 (evading info-harvesters). 

Sep 25: East End Share Faire

East End Mutual Aid's Share Fair is an event at which neighbors, friends, and everyone can come together to freely give away unwanted or unneeded items which they have accumulated, and to freely take whatever useful items they find. It is a space to help meet the concrete material needs of residents, to share skills and services, and to strengthen community ties by using common space in a way that
benefits everyone. To participate is simply to attend! Come bask in the generosity of your neighbors! Stop by and enjoy some free treats! Don’t know what to bring? In the past, people have shared clothes, toys, food, smaller working appliances, chairs, seeds, comics, computers, books, and tons of other miscellaneous items.

The event is part of our wider efforts to talk about the social and economic organization of society. Who has access to common space and how is it used? How do we organize ourselves and our communities to best meet individual and collective needs? How do we promote cooperation and community when many structures of society promote and produce greed, competition, and fear of one another as necessities for survival? One aspect of the Share Faire, through its creation of a temporary gift economy, is to encourage more discussion about how society values items and what realistic alternatives might look like. In a world with so many problems, help create an abundance of solutions!

1 p.m. in Friendship Park (Mathilda & Friendship in Bloomfield)

May 25: March against Monsanto


March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 30 countries
SEATTLE, Wash. (May 1, 2013) - March Against Monsanto has announced that on May 25, tens of thousands of activists around the world will “March Against Monsanto.” Currently, marches are being planned on six continents, in 36 countries, totaling events in over 250 cities, and in the US, events are slated to occur simultaneously in 47 states.

Here in Pittsburgh, it'll begin at 2pm -- Starting at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church (57 21st Street) in the Strip District we will walk southwest on 21st Street, turn right onto Liberty Ave and left onto Grant St.  On Facebook.  

Tami Monroe Canal, lead organizer and creator of the now-viral Facebook page, says she was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “I feel Monsanto threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. I couldn't sit by idly, waiting for someone else to do something.” [The full March Against Monsanto mission statement can be read here.]

An organizer for the march in Athens, Greece, Roberta Gogos, spoke about the importance of the events in austerity-impacted South Europe. “Monsanto is working very hard to overturn EU regulation on obligatory labeling (questionable whether it's really enforced in any case), and no doubt they will have their way in the end. Greece is in a precarious position right now, and Greece's farmers falling prey to the petrochemical giant is a very real possibility.”

Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, says he wants to protect Ecuador against Monsanto’s influence, too. “Ecuador is such a beautiful place, with the richest biodiversity in the world. We will not allow this Garden of Eden to be compromised by evil multinational corporations like Monsanto. Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger. Agroecology is.”

Partners facilitating the organizing of March Against Monsanto include The Anti-Media, Activists’ Free Press and A Revolt - Digital Anarchy. Major sponsors include GMO Free USA, NationofChange and Films for Action. Official website: www.march-against-monsanto.com.

May 21: Fragrance-free Day in Market Square


I (Maren) have spent quite a few theatre and concert outings breathing through a bandana, or when I don't have a loose piece of cloth, my own braid.  I don't have asthma, but am very sensitive to most fragrances -- so I appreciate the attention being paid this month to the issue, both for the health of the user and that of nearby breathers.  In recognition of Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, Women for a Healthy Environment is hosting the second annual Fragrance-free Day in Downtown Pittsburgh!

"Fragrance"...It's listed on hundreds, likely thousands of consumer and personal care products. Ever wonder what that mystery ingredient really is? Visit WHE in Market Square on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm to learn more, receive fragrance-free giveaway items, take the "Don't Spray for a Day" pledge, and enjoy live music provided by singer-songwriter Joy Ike. Featuring doTERRA Essential Oils and Third Day Luxury Soaps, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about essential oils, including how they are incorporated into natural product development. You will also have the opportunity to purchase personal care product items!


Thanks to generous event sponsors Highmark FoundationThe Heinz Endowments, and Pipitone Group.

test post tomato


May 19: Plant sale in Forest Glen

Putting Down Roots, a.k.a. Maren, will be at home and welcoming folks interested in seedlings and transplants of myriad vegetables, herbs, flowers, berries, and perennials. I'll also have the CobraHead garden tool available, as well as amazing soil-enriching worm castings made locally, and can repackage seeds for your own plantings.

Get a head start on tomatoes -- some are as big as two feet tall and flowering. Strawberry plants already setting fruit for this year will expand in your garden as they send out runners to create daughter plants. Brassicas, cucurbits, annual and perennial herbs, native perennials for sun and shade...

Times set so far are noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday May 12th and Sunday May 19th. I'll also be at the annual book and plant sale at the Wilkins School Community Center on Saturday the 18th, but I can provide a much greater selection here at home.

If you don't know where we are located, or if these times don't work out for you, just touch base (email me with "plant sale" in the Subject line). Or give a call.. in the 'Burgh, 251 and then 5814 (evading info-harvesters). 

May 18: Pittsburgh Gathering of Hands


It's the 3rd Annual Peaceful Gathering of Hands. We will form a large circle every hour on the hour from Noon - 5pm. 

It's a celebration, it's an expo, it's a Peaceful Gathering of Hands!
This is a free collaborative and participatory event with the intention to gather and connect diverse groups and individuals. This space will offer the opportunity to blaze new paths in an infinite web of possibilities ! ∞


The location is the same as the past  P G H  events - Schenley Oval Meadow (the big swale next to the Ice Rink).   For a sense of the event, check out this video from our 2011 event.   Please bring whatever gifts you feel called to share ~ Food for potluck, instruments, art, information about your business  or project (please bring your own tent, table and chair) 


May 10-11: May Market at Phipps


77th Annual May Market at Phipps Kicks Off Spring for Pittsburgh’s Greenest Thumbs
Premier plant sale features season’s best selections from some of the region’s finest vendors.

Pittsburgh, Pa.  On May 10 and 11, 2013, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ perennially popular May Market will bring together staff horticulturists, local garden clubs, nurseries and farms, and other vendors on its historic and sustainably managed front lawn for a plant and garden accessory sale of ultra-green proportions. In honor of National Public Gardens Day, attendees will also receive half off admission to Summer Flower Show, featuring bright blooms and dazzling glass art, during event hours.
   Organic herbs and vegetable seedlings; tropical plants and succulents; low-maintenance perennials and shrubs on Phipps’ Top 10 Sustainable Plant Lists; native and rain garden plants; and many other seasonal favorites are among the offerings green thumbs can expect to find at May Market. Also available for sale will be everything from organic soil and landscaping materials to botanical art and natural body care products. As always, Phipps’ staff and Master Gardeners will be on hand to share advice, and delicious hand-dipped fondant strawberries — a traditional offering — will be served.
   During May Market, guests can enjoy a 50-percent discount on tickets to the Summer Flower Show, showcasing the glass creations of artists working in and around Pittsburgh.  CafĂ© Phipps— a Green Restaurant Certified® eatery offering fresh, seasonal foods — will be open both days as well to make for the perfect Mother’s Day weekend outing. May Market, held from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 10 and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 11, is free and open to the public. Learn more at phipps.conservatory.org.
Great Plant Auction
   On May 3, the weekend before May Market, Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park will be transformed into an auction house where plant lovers can bid on many sought-after trees, shrubs and perennials, as well as unique garden accessories for the home. Benefiting Phipps’ dynamic education programs, this lively annual sale is supported by local garden centers, businesses and specialty mail-order nurseries. Required reservations can be made by calling 412/441-4442, ext. 3925. The cost is $20 for Phipps members and $25 for nonmembers, and includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. Doors open at 6 p.m.
About Phipps: Built 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.

May 9: David Orr at Phipps


iss logo
The Green Building Alliance's INSPIRE speaker series with David Orr on Defying Boundaries: Integrating Sustainability Practices.

5:30-8:30 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  For more information and to register online, go here.  Cost:  GBA or partner organization member: $25;  non-member $45.  For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.  

David Orr
David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award, a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision, and energy.” He has been a scholar in residence at Ball State University, the University of Washington, and other universities. He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has served as a Trustee for many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institutethe Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the Bioneers. He has been a Trustee and/or advisor to ten foundations.
His career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change. He is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His first book, Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), was described as a “true classic” by Garrett Hardin. A second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both are widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. The Essential David Orr (Island Press, 2010) is a collection of his writings from 1985 to 2010.
He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times as "the most remarkable" of a new generation of college buildings and selected as one of 30 "milestone buildings" in the 20th century by the U.S. Department of Energy.
In an influential article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2000, Orr proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities and subsequently organized and funded an effort to define a carbon neutral plan for his own campus at Oberlin College. Seven years later, hundreds of colleges and universities, including Oberlin, have made that pledge. 
David now leads the efforts for this carbon neutral plan, now called the Oberlin Project, which formed out of his vision of full-spectrum sustainability: an all-encompassing joint venture by the town and College to create a thriving, sustainable and environmentally friendly community in Oberlin. The Project also has a goal of carbon neutrality as part of the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Positive Development Project.  Learn more aboutOberlin’s goal to become one of the first climate positive cities in America.
David spent his childhood and college years in Western Pennsylvania, growing up in New Wilmington and attending Westminster College.  He holds a B.A. from Westminster College (1965), a M.A. from Michigan State University (1966), and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania (1973). He and his wife have two sons and two grandchildren. 

May 6: Sustainable Monroeville


The next Sustainable Monroeville meeting will feature 17 year old, Jake Cothern, teaching about native wild edibles and supplying some delectables made of the soon sprouting exotic invasive Japanese Knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum (that's the technical genus and species name for knotweed!). We will have a pot luck dinner prior to this meeting at 6:00 PM. What is the challenge for this pot luck? See if you can make a vegetarian or vegan dish that has at least one ingredient that is a wildly collected edible from a non-sprayed area in this region! 

The other speakers for our May meeting on Monday evening, May 6, will be Jeff Newman of Steel City Soilsand The Pittsburgh Garden Experiment and Jeff Jaeger of Octopus Organics. Their topic is TBA!

May 4: Sustainability Salon on three green buildings

The 16th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Saturday, May 4th.  While our house demonstrates many different green building techniques and materials, it's kind of a mishmosh -- this month we'll take a look at three very distinct visions of green buildings. 

First, Mark Dixon (of YERT fame) will talk about the Earthship, a rammed-earth, passive-solar "house made of garbage" pioneered by Michael Reynolds in New Mexico.  Mark and Christine plan to build an Earthship here in Pittsburgh, and would love to share the process with us. 

Richard Piacentini, Executive Director of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, will talk about the brand-new Center for Sustainable Landscapes, designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the world's most stringent environmental standards.  We'll also hear from Elisa Beck, who has been working to meet the Living Building Challenge with the Schwartz Living Market on the South Side, and Marijke Hecht of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy -- the soon-to-be-rebuilt Frick Environmental Center just up the hill will also be a Living Building.

Finally, bringing us back to a more accessible residential scale, Salon regulars Ayres Freitas and Lucyna de Barbaro will talk about the Passivhaus they plan to build in Squirrel Hill, which will be so energy-efficient that they'll be able to skip the furnace altogether.  

And if you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden as well as the many other interesting things around our place, from the shiitake logs to the seedling nursery.  That'll mainly be happening between 3 & 4 p.m.

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm; we plan on introducing 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 to RSVP (important for yesses and maybes, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and it helps to have a handle on numbers in advance (we may need to begin limiting attendance);  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.  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.  If you'd like to start making your own kombucha, please bring a pint jar along.

Note that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by Sunday morning if not before.  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome), but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  
----------------------------
For the uninitiated, A Sustainability Salon is basically a house party with an environmental theme -- usually with featured speakers on a particular topic -- accompanied by stimulating conversation, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included air qualityhealth care, solar powertrees & park stewardshipalternative energy & climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings & discussions (led by the filmmakers) over the winter with both YERT and Gas Rush Stories, and foodfood, 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 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. 

May 3: Great Plant Auction


Great Plant Auction
   On May 3, a week before May Market, Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park will be transformed into an auction house where plant lovers can bid on many sought-after trees, shrubs and perennials, as well as unique garden accessories for the home. Benefiting Phipps’ dynamic education programs, this lively annual sale is supported by local garden centers, businesses and specialty mail-order nurseries. Required reservations can be made by calling 412/441-4442, ext. 3925. The cost is $20 for Phipps members and $25 for nonmembers, and includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. Doors open at 6 p.m.
About Phipps: Built 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.