Mar 3: Sustainability Salon on Food

The 14th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Sunday, March 3rd.  The topic will be FOOD -- growing it ourselves, and sourcing it locally.  This will be our second annual Food edition;  this is a good time of year for would-be gardeners to get started, and for urban folks to find their favorite farmers and markets.  More details will be forthcoming, but c'mon out if you want to find out about how to start seedlings, make compost, get a garden going, grow mushrooms, keep bees and chickens, or ferment food and drink;  learn about food foraging or where to purchase wild edibles;  explore organic gardening and permaculture concepts;  meet farmers and join a CSA;  connect with PASA, our regional sustainable agriculture organization;  find local farmers' markets, community gardens, school gardens, and volunteer opportunities;  see how grocery stores work with local producers;  think about humane and healthy livestock practices;  hear about other upcoming local food events like Farm to Table;  find out what's going on up at Eden Hall Farm;  source seeds, seedlings, and gardening supplies;  talk about preserving food at home, or learn about a great local restaurant, bakery, or wholesale supplier…  the list will depend in part on who can come!   

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.  That'll mainly be happening between 3 & 4 p.m.

Update on speakers:  So far we'll be featuring CSA farmer and PASA board member Don Kretschmann;  local PASA staffer Leah Smith;  farmers Ron Stidmon of  Enon Valley Garlic and Oliver Griswold of North Woods Ranch;  Tom Patterson of Wild Purveyors;  Erin Hart of Farm to Table fame;  Rayden Sorock, who coordinates community gardens for Grow Pittsburgh);  Nicole Muise-Kielkucki of the Lawrenceville Farmer's Market;  Emily Schmidlapp of the Farmers@Firehouse farmer's market, Lydia Vanderhill of Penn's Corner Farm Alliance;  Isaac Hill of the People's Garden of Pittsburgh on the philosophical and ethical grounding of permaculture;  fellow permaculturist and author Darrell Frey on native greens in the diet;  East End Food Co-op manager Justin Pizzella with an update on their new Ends Statement and what it means for all of us...  and that's just a taste (so to speak) of the folks we'll feature leading discussions during the afternoon.  Stay tuned for more additions to the roster!

Mark your calendar:  There are so many great foodfolk in and around Pittsburgh that we will continue in this realm at the April salon (tentatively on April 6th).  People from Frankferd Farms (solar-powered grain mill and regional organic & natural food supplier), Ron Gargasz Organic Farms, the Pittsburgh Public Market, Legume Bistro, ApoIdeaWhole Foods MarketEast End Food Co-op, Eat 'n' Park, the Pennsylvania Resources Council, and the Carnegie Libraries garden project will be here for one or the other Food salon.  At both events, you'll be able to pick up seed catalogs containing valuable cultural information as well as excellent seeds and supplies, as well as one for Frankferd;  I also have seeds, tools, and plants available, and can even get you started brewing your own kombucha.)  The following month, we'll focus on green building and highlight three different visions of what that means (Earthship, Passivhaus, and the Living Building Challenge), will take place on May 4th.

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 from 25 to 75, and it helps to have a handle on numbers in advance;  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.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  Bring food 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.  

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 powerfoodtrees & park stewardshipalternative energy & climate policy, regional watershed issues, and fantastic film screenings & discussions (led by the filmmakers) over the winter with both YERT and Gas Rush Stories.

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. 

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