Apr 11: Sustainability Salon on building neighborhood-scale food systems

The 39th Sustainability Salon will focus once again on FOOD, and also revisit the green, healthy revitalization of Pittsburgh communities -- this time, by creating functioning local (neighborhood-scale) food systems.  Join us on April 11th (from 3-10 p.m., with potluck food and drink).  And now's the time to mark your calendar for next month's event, which will almost certainly take place on May 2nd -- we'll be talking about turning waste into resources.
Chatham Food Studies grad and Dylamoto's Market founder Dianne Shenk will give us the framework for integrated neighborhood food systems and ongoing work in Hazelwood.  Community members will be on hand for an informal panel discussion:  Jim McCue, a mainstay of community gardens;  Kyle Pattison, who is starting up Hazelwood Farms; Matt Peters, magical worm whisperer of the Hazelwood Hills (you see his worm castings for sale around town at places like the Co-op and my own occasional plant sales).  

HUFMapArrowsLooking to the other side of the Mon, the neighborhood of St. Clair is another "food desert," lacking any stores at all -- but that may be about to change:  the Hilltop Alliance (along with Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust) is looking to create a CSA farm, farmer incubator, and community garden (which when completed will be the largest of its kind in the nation), coupled with an urban Eco village and restoration project on the site of the old Hilltop Village housing development.  The idea was recently presented to the White House by Mayor Bill Peduto.  Sarai Baxendell, the project manager for this new enterprise, will fill us in on the plans.

We'll also have Shelly Danko+Day, the City Planning Department's Open Space Specialist, who will be able to update us on the new Urban Agriculture zoning codes as well as her work with Hazelwood, St. Clair, and other areas around the city.  
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We'll aim to start the program sometime around 4, 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.  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, 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.  

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.  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;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfood, 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 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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