Spring has sprung! (and gone into hiding, and peeked out again, and then retracted once more.) For the 75th Sustainability Salon, we will continue our annual Focus on Food. This month, Sarah Buranskas will bring us up to date on the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. Jonathan Burgess of the Allegheny County Conservation District will talk about urban soils, heavy-metal contamination, and their new soil testing program -- and will do some XRF testing right here at the event -- see below! I'll also be talking a little about my work with this method years ago.
Community herbalist and health educator Leah Wolfe of Trillium Center in nearby Ohio (postponed from March due to a devastating barn fire) will explore herbs as medicine for our changing times. And Mark Smith, owner of Pittsburgher Highland Farm will share his insights on sustainable farming, grassfed production, and Highland cattle.
1. If you'd like to bring a sample (or two or three) of soil from your own garden (or potential garden), we'll be able to test it right here, starting around 3:30. Samples should be in ziploc bags, a half-cup or so, and fairly dry. There's a diagram and instructions in a MarensList Resources posting, in case you're unsure how to go about digging your sample(s).
2. The next salon will be on May 12th, bringing us up to date on the Shell petrochemical facility, the pipelines necessary for its operation, and the whole petrochemical buildout planned for our region. You may have heard about the DEP hearings on the Falcon pipeline earlier this month; there is still time to send in written comments to voice your concerns. You can find out how, and view videos of the testimony at those three hearings, on Mark Dixon's informative web site, NoPetroPA .
3. Many salongoers will recall Yen-Chia Hsu's presentation last fall on Smell Pittsburgh, the pollution reporting app he and colleagues developed at CMU's CREATE Lab. He's collecting feedback on the app now for a research study; if you've used the app, please consider participating at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/smellPghSurvey . Please respond by Saturday, April 21st to be included in the study.
4. As always, please be sure to RSVP, so that I can get a head-count, and also send you important information!
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill. Please don't arrive before 3 p.m. We will start the program right around 4pm, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site. Please email me (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) 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 with salon in the subject line to be added!).
Bring food and/or drink to share if you can (see below), 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.
Sustainability Salon is an educational forum, it's a mini-conference, it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues, it's a house party with an environmental theme. We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included climate/nature/people, fracking, health, & action, globalization, ecological ethics, community inclusion, air quality monitoring, informal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakers, getting STEM into Congress, keeping Pittsburgh's water public, Shell's planned petrochemical plant, visualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiatives, fossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politics, community solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (before, during, and after), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalization, solar power, climate change, environmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projects, environmental journalism, grassroots action, Marcellus shale development and community rights, green building, air quality, health care, more solar power, trees and park stewardship, alternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food Systems, Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, Plastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One Voice, Triple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous Game, A Fierce Green Fire, Sustainability Pioneers, films on consumption, Living Downstream, Bidder 70, YERT, Gas Rush Stories, and food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, and more food (a recurrent theme; with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).
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: wine, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever. The more the merrier! Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homemade or boughten. Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it. We refill a bunch of growlers at East End and provide a big batch of mostly-homegrown pesto (cheesy and vegan), and other things as needed. More details will come after you RSVP (hint, hint!).
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 green and interesting things around our place.