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Local food resources

The Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons have continued each month.  The second Sustainability Salon (as well as the 14th15th, 26th27th, 38th39th, 51st, and 52nd) focused on food -- growing it, sourcing it locally, and eating more humanely.  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.

Aug 14: Climate Crisis Town Hall with Mike Doyle

Congressional Representative Mike Doyle (state ep 14) is convening an event to raise awareness and inspire action on the climate crisis.  Through presentations, panel discussions, and audience questions, we'll consider challenges and solutions for addressing climate change.  The conversation will cover the options that are currently available and the innovation that is needed for the future, and will bring together the coalitions that are on the front lines of this issue.  We all know that climate change is real, so how do we solve it and get people engaged in this current political climate?  

6:30-8:30 p.m. at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.  Free and open to the public;  registration info TBA.

Jul 13: Sustainability Salon on Elections (Part II, People)


The 90th Sustainability Salon will complete our two-salon feature on Elections.  Part I, on June 29th, focused on election law -- gerrymandering, voting machines, election integrity, and voter access.  Part II, on July 13th, will look at grassroots activism and ways that individuals can get involved.

Speakers will include Marie Norman, founder of the Order of the Phoenix, an online network of more than 7,000 members rallying activists to knock on doors and write cards to undecided voters (as well as write and lobby officials to influence policy);  Lisa Middleman, Independent candidate for Allegheny County District Attorney;  and attorney Paul O'Hanlon, founder and director of the innovative Ballots for Patients program -- through which volunteers enable hospital patients, unexpectedly unable to vote in their home districts, to be re-enfranchised.  

Following the talks and discussion, and returning to our recurrent theme of plastics -- a major health and environmental issue as the petrochemical hub invades our region, and a persistent pollutant killing marine life all around the world -- we’ve initiated a monthly dinner-table conversation for those interested in how to avoid pervasive single-use plastics (SUPs), and how advocacy may be able to limit regional impacts.  Quite a few local initiatives have been working on this issue (No Plastics Please, What's SUP, SUPless Mondays, No Straws 'n'At), and this is a great place to connect with them!

The next salon will (in theory) be our annual No-Topic Salon ("in theory" because topics and speakers often pop up!  But, in theory at least, I won't plan to interrupt the Conversations for the Presentations).  Date TBA, mid- to late-August.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We generally start the program not long after 4pm, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.  After the talks and discussion (hopefully by around 7:30), we break for a potluck supper.  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 3 (if you're not already on my list, please email me with salon in the subject line to be added!).  

Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and we may need to limit 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 a trail map 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 (see below), along with musical instruments if you play.  If you drive down our street, please park only on the uphill-facing side, and take care not to block driveways on either side of the street.  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.  
As always, 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 (usually Friday night).  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;  it's a mini-conference;  it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  fit'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 election law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, 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 revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.  Please try to minimize single-use plastic -- if you're thinking of a deli tray of vegetables, just get some whole veggies and we can cut 'em up here!  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 (again, no single-use packaging) and provide a big batch of homemade/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.  

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. 

Jun 29: Sustainability Salon on Elections (Part I, Law)




This month, we'll begin a two-salon feature on Elections.  Part I, on June 29th, will focus on election law -- gerrymandering, election integrity, and voter access.  Part II, coming soon after on July 13th, will look at grassroots activism and ways that individuals can get involved.

State Representative Sara Innamorato will talk about legislation that she and colleagues have been working on, from automatic voter registration to extending voting times and no-excuse absentee ballots (PA's rules are pretty limiting).  Doug Webster of Fair Districts PA will bring clarity to redistricting, reapportionment, gerrymandering, and their implications for democracy -- and physicist John Nagle will share maps and analysis of different approaches to redistricting.   And do you trust our voting machines?  Ron Bandes, president of Vote Allegheny, will bring us up to date on the pros and cons of different polling systems under consideration.  Also, David Tessitor will share a new vision for an independent Election Commission in Allegheny County (and the bill to implement it).

Following the talks and discussion, and returning to our recurrent theme of plastics -- a major health and environmental issue as the petrochemical hub invades our region, and a persistent pollutant killing marine life all around the world -- we’ve initiated a monthly dinner-table conversation for those interested in how to avoid pervasive single-use plastics (SUPs), and how advocacy may be able to limit regional impacts.  Quite a few local initiatives have been working on this issue (No Plastics Please, What's SUP, SUPless Mondays, No Straws 'n'At), and this is a great place to connect with them!

The next salon will take place on July 13th;  speakers will include Marie Norman, founder of the Order of the Phoenix!  

In the meantime, also on the topic of Elections, I'll be hosting a fundraiser for Food & Water Action on June 24th -- they're doing great work protecting municipalities in southwestern Pennsylvania from fracking and related activities, and are gathering support for candidates who put a high priority on public health and safety.
And if you work with kids, learn how to unleash the power of young people to make the world a better place!  Join us for an educator workshop on June 26th at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.  Lynne Cherry, who was with us for April's salon, is the force behind the Young Voices for the Planet project.  YVFP is a series of short films about young environmental activists -- inspiring to kids and adults alike, and also demonstrating the power of youth in public discourse.  Lynne is leading a series of educator workshops on civic engagement and democracy that will enable teachers and informal educators in our region to foster a new generation of activists using these amazing films.   As always, you can browse around MarensList for more events!

Also apropos of the last salon, Grow Ohio Valley, the great food-policy organization just over in Wheeling, WV that we heard from in May, is doing some hiring (with the Americorps program)!  Several positions are open;  there's more info on the MarensList Resources page.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We generally start the program not long after 4pm, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.  After the talks and discussion (hopefully by around 7:30), we break for a potluck supper.  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 3 (if you're not already on my list, please email me with salon in the subject line to be added!).  

Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and we may need to limit 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 a trail map 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 (see below), along with musical instruments if you play.  If you drive down our street, please park only on the uphill-facing side, and take care not to block driveways on either side of the street.  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.  
As always, 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 (usually Friday night).  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;  it's a mini-conference;  it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  fit'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 whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, 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 revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.  Please try to minimize single-use plastic -- if you're thinking of a deli tray of vegetables, just get some whole veggies and we can cut 'em up here!  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 (again, no single-use packaging) and provide a big batch of homemade/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.  

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. 

Jun 27: Wilkinsburg water meeting

Have you tested your water for lead? Have you received inaccurate water bills or poor customer service? Are you concerned about water and sewer rate increases?

Join Pittsburgh United's Our Water, Our Rivers Campaign at this kickoff community meeting for all Wilkinsburg Penn Joint Water customers because everyone deserves safe, affordable, publicly controlled drinking water.

7-8:30 p.m. at the St. James R C Church (718 Franklin Ave., 15221). Free and open to the public. Dinner will be served. Free water filters available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Facebook event here.


Jun 26: Air Quality Listening Session

Pittsburgh City Council member Erika Strassburger (District 8) will host a Community Listening Session on Air Quality.  Come and share your personal experiences and input about air quality in the Pittsburgh region.

6 p.m. at Repair the World (6022 Broad St. in East Liberty, 15206).  To sign up to speak, visit http://bit.ly/airqualityspeakers . 

Jun 26: Young Voices for the Planet educator workshop

Young Voices for the Planet is a series of short films about activist kids, making a difference in their communities and in the world.  Topics range from solar panels to sea level rise, plastic straws to planting trees, oil spills to environmental racism.  YVFP welcomes educators of all backgrounds to learn how to empower the next generation of environmental stewards. Using these amazing films and the Civic Engagement and Democracy curriculum as resources, this inspiring workshop addresses climate change education through real-life youth success stories tackling local environmental issues. We will show you how to bring our A.C.T.I.O.N Plan to life in your own classroom and community!
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden (799 Pinkerton Run Road, Oakdale, PA 15071). Registration $15 (& $5 for Act 48 credits); please register online here.  For any questions, please contact Kimberly Gutzler (YVPF) by email or at (202) 476-9141.   Facilitation and Act 48 credits provided by Allegheny Land Trust. Hosted by the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden in collaboration with Fern Hollow Nature Center.
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Teaching Kids to Protect Their Future & Save the Planet!

Young people are concerned about many issues and want to make a difference.  Teachers are asking what they can do to help empower students.  

When young people DO speak out, their voices have power!  At the COP24 climate talks, the voice most covered by the media was that of Swedish 15-year-old Greta Thunberg addressing the UN“Our political leaders have failed us… We are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue on this road of madness.” 

This spring and summer, Pittsburgh area institutions, partnering with Young Voices for the Planet and NY Times best-selling children’s book author and filmmaker Lynne Cherry, are hosting a series of workshops to help teachers help students to be heard.  The workshops provide ACT 48 CREDITS while teaching educators how to help students overcome doom and gloom and be energized by hope, and help students create an ACTION PLAN to address local Pittsburgh issues.  Consider joining us for the last workshop, on June 26th!

The workshops center around the true stories in the Young Voices for the Planet short documentaries featuring youth taking the lead, creating solutions, changing laws, changing minds and changing society.  These stories reach hearts and inspire action.

Featured speakers include filmmaker Lynne Cherry, Jessica Kester (Allegheny Land Trust), Heather Harr (League of Women’s Voters), Michael Bagdes-Canning (Marcellus Outreach Butler), and local youth speaking out for their environment. 

Pittsburgh is the ideal place to launch this Civic Engagement and Democracy pilot workshop because the city’s sustainability goals serve as a guiding light for the rest of the country, and we are a nexus of  environmental issues warranting action.  
The Allegheny Front, our own local environmental radio show, did a great segment on the first workshop.

The workshops are sponsored by The Heinz Endowments and the Garden Club of Allegheny County.

To learn more about workshops and registration, please click here. 
https://www.youngvoicesfortheplanet.com/workshops/