Mar 15: Sustainability Salon on Food

The 26th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Saturday, March 15th.  The topic will be FOOD -- growing it ourselves, and sourcing it locally.  This will be our third 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.  

The March 15th Salon will feature environmental educator Joylette Portlock with great news about a new Farmers’ Market in Swissvale;  American Healthcare’s Erin Hart on the upcoming Farm to Table Conference;  Trevett Hooper, chef/owner of Legume Bistro, on navigating the balance between the most serious focus on local ingredients you’ll find in our area and the fantastic dining experience Pittsburghers are looking for;  Hannah Reiff of Garden Dreams with a virtual walk through the seasons in the operations of an organic urban farm;  Eryn Hughes on the role of the East End Food Co-op in the cycle of farm to table;  organic farmer Maggie Henry on the challenges of growing food in the face of the ongoing gas rush -- the latest twists in the path being earthquakes and forced pooling (there's a sign-on letter for those who can't make it to the hearings;  Gabe Tilove to talk about the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange, and Cameron Hassanzadeh with an introduction to Social Dish, a new program to connect Pittsburghers with local restaurants while supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.   

Seed sharing!  Prior to the Salon, from 1-3 p.m., we'll be hosting a Seed Sharing session, organized by Mary Beth Thakar.  She has already purchased a wide variety of vegetable seeds in quantity, and folks will sit down and chat while while divvying them up.  Should be a blast!  Space for that is quite limited, so be sure to email for more information and to sign up!  

A peek ahead at April 5th reveals Greg Boulos on the Blackberry Meadows Farm garden share  CSA and a produce-to-people program with food banks;  East End Food Co-op manager Justin Pizzella on their local grower/producer program and how it relates to expansion and to ethical and resilient food infrastructure;  Emily Schmidlapp of Just Harvest on EBT (food stamps) at area farmers’ markets;  local chef Jacob Mains on his innovative traveling Farm Dinner program;  Ian Johnson with a gentle path toward a more plant-based diet called Fooganism;  and organizer Margaret Kran-Annexstein of Food & Water Watch about the new Healthy Farms, Healthy Families initiative to rein in the abuse of antibiotics on factory farms (and the resultant drug-resistant pathogens) here in Pittsburgh and beyond.  More speakers may be added in the meantime;  check back on MarensList for updates!

More details about the salon speakers 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 healthier eating, 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!   Last year, we even had a cameo by Bill Peduto:

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.

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm (unless you're participating in the seed-sharing session).  We usually introduce 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 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 to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting 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/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.  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.  

Note once again that 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.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome -- thanks to Beth for her help with the transition to EventBrite), 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 an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas 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 or dairy 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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