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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, 51st52nd, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 74th, 75th, 87th, and 88th) 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.

MarensList is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

 Due to a change in how this platform works, it has become very difficult to make new postings for future events.  I hope to find a solution soon, but in the meantime my apologies for a rather thin slate of events!  There really is a lot going on... note that I also share events on Facebook, so look me up there if you're at loose ends.  

Apr 28: Food Waste and Our Environment

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) makes the connection between food waste and the environment.  

Consider this: About 40 percent of food grown and produced in the United States goes uneaten – that’s $165 billion worth of wasted dairy, meat, produce, and more. In fact, the average American family throws out about 25 percent of the food they buy each week.

All that waste takes an environmental toll. For one thing, that uneaten food is all too often relegated to local landfills where it rots, emitting potent greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. 

Experts say that we could cut out food waste by just 15 percent nationally, it would not only stave off these emissions, but also save enough to feed 26 million people.

Join GASP for a panel discussion with two Pittsburghers who are helping to lead the charge against food waste locally – Dylan Lew, of Ecotone Renewables, and Sara Swaney of 412 Food Rescue.

Learn more about the problem and how YOU can be part of the solution.

6 p.m., on Zoom.  Free & open to the public -- register here.

Apr 19: Labor and the plastics crisis (A-Z Impacts of Plastic)

Join the A-Z team as we explore the intersections of labor and our plastics crisis.  Learn how workers involved in plastics production AND environmental nonprofit workers fighting plastic industry pollution can stand in solidarity for workers rights and healthy communities.  

You’ll also learn more about 

  • The role of whistleblowers in exposing workplace injustice
  • The community health impacts of workplace endangerment in the petrochemical and plastic industries
  • How you can help secure better protections for all workers, regardless of industry

Apr 17: Sustainability Salon on Food (Part II)


The 111th Sustainability Salon will continue our annual focus on Food.  This month's speakers will include:
•  Dina "free " Blackwell, Farm Manager for the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op (BUGs) will share doings at the Homewood Historical Community Farm.   
•  Ellie Gordon, co-founder of the Pittsburgh Vegan Society:  advocating for veganism in Pittsburgh for the benefit of animals, health, community, and the environment.
•  Simon Huntley, founder and CEO of Harvie, a Pittsburgh-based startup delivering customizable boxes of farm-fresh, local food to 1,200 customers in the Pittsburgh area.
•  Tentative additions:  Grow Pittsburgh;  Steel City Food Not Bombs.

More speakers might join the roster -- check back here for updates!  In the meantime, a few other items of note:  Apropos of our spring topic, the monthly (now-virtual) Environmental Film Series at Phipps on the 16th will be all about growing food, and GASP's next Making the Connections event (Apr 28) will be on food waste.  On April 19th, the A-Z Impacts of Plastics team will hold a session on workers' rights and the plastics industry.  The Driving PA Forward campaign, which we talked about last month, is still ongoing;  there’s a petition and info to call your legislators here.  And a mask update:  I still have a few (very few) from my second bulk order (read: substantial discount!) of the Breathe99 masks that we featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), as well as a supply of the new foam liners that address the condensation issue associated with a well-sealed mask.  Please email me with mask in the Subject line if you're interested.  These masks were selected as one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020!

Talks and discussion will run from 4 p.m. to 7:30 or so on Zoom (sadly, no potluck supper these days).  You're welcome to join the call for informal conversation after 3 p.m., and we aim to start the main program right around 4.  If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful.  If you RSVP via Eventbrite, you'll receive the Zoom registration link right away.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!
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;  it's a house party with an environmental theme.  Each month we 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 (though the potluck and the music are on hiatus during the pandemic).  
Past topics have included the legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection 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 food, food, 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!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

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.  If interested folks are online and everything is working smoothly by around 3:30, perhaps I can conduct a virtual tour.

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, think back to our evening sings -- we typically ran the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time was had by all.  Folks would bring instruments, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations would continue through the evening, as well.  With a virtual event this is less likely to happen, but we can share music by turns, reminisce, chat online, and look forward to the post-COVID era!