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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.

Mar 20: Fracking talk and discussion

FRACK GAS: A Bridge Too Far…  Larry J. Schweiger (President Emeritus and past CEO of PennFuture, Chair of the newly-formed regional chapter of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps) will discuss the impacts of fracking, ethane cracker plants and petrochemical development on our air quality and potential hazards; our water and food supply and safety; community seismic activity; occupational hazards, noise levels and the psychosocial tolls of boom and bust cycles.

Allegheny County's air quality is still ranked among the most unhealthy of all counties in the United States.  While those at the northern edge of the county have been somewhat spared from the industrial portion of these air quality problems, things are about to change.  Soon, the Shell ethane cracker plant in Potter Township will go into service.  This is 13 miles, as the crow flies, from Bradfordwoods.


7 p.m. at Bradfordwoods Community Church (4836 Wexford Run Road, Bradfordwoods, Pa 15015)  Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Bradfordwoods Conservancy.

Mar 4: March Forth for Air Quality

Wake up from your winter hibernation and thaw out on a hike with folks from the Group Against Smog & Pollution and Frick Environmental Center.  With a view of one of our nearest major sources of air pollution, we’ll talk about regulations on such facilities, as well as how to protect yourself from air pollution while being active outdoors.

1-3 p.m., stepping off from the Frick Environmental Center (2005 Beechwood Blvd, 15213).  Please register online.  There's also a Facebook event.  

  

Feb 27: Fracking in Fox Chapel area

Fracking in Fox Chapel Area:  What to Expect -- A free educational event

Fracking is planned in the Fox Chapel area (summer 2018) – less than 2 miles from Dorseyville Middle School and Hartwood Elementary (1300 students).

6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:10) at Indiana Township Town Hall (3710 Saxonburg Blvd.)  Free and open to all residents of the Indiana Twp & Fox Chapel area.  Space is limited to 120 people.  
Follow the Facebook page!   

Speakers:

Fracking 101 -- Patricia DeMarco, PhD 
     Senior Scholar, Chatham University

Zoning & Leasing -- Ryan E. Hamilton, Esq. 
     Environment, Energy, and Land Use Attorney at Hamilton Law, LLC

Air Quality -- James Fabisiak, PhD
     Director, Center for Healthy Environments & Communities, Univ. of Pittsburgh

Water Quality -- John Stolz, PhD
     Director, Center for Environmental Research & Education, Duquesne University

Health -- Ned Ketyer, MD
     Retired Pediatrician; Consultant, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project

Living with fracking: A Personal Story -- Lois Bower-Bjornson
     Impacted citizen

Feb 26: Climate and renewables lecture

"Mitigating Climate Change by Transitioning to a Renewable Resource-Based Economy" 
Steven CohenExecutive Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Climate change is the first widely recognized global crisis of environmental sustainability. Its solution requires the implementation of a transition from a fossil-fuel based energy economy to one built on renewable resources. This transition requires the development and diffusion of new technologies. The technological challenges of this transition will require significant political, organizational and financial resources and capacities. This talk will discuss the challenges of this transition and outline a path for meeting these challenges by the middle of the 21st century.

2 p.m. in William Pitt Union's Assembly Room (3959 Fifth Ave. 15213).  Free and open to the public, but space is limited;  please register online.  Part of the Pitt Honors College lecture series on climate change;  sponsored by the Honors College, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory, and the National Aviary.



Feb 24: Sustainability Salon on Climate

Do you love winter?  Wonder why it's hitting 78°F in February?  To complete our annual Wintertime Film Series, the 73rd Sustainability Salon will premiere a new climate film, Saving Snow, in collaboration with Citizens Climate Lobby.  Saving Snow takes a look at the cascading impacts of climate change on snow, and what people who depend upon winter are trying to do about it.  L. Ray Roberts and Hilary Schenker will bring us up to date on CCL's achievements with the Congressional Climate Caucus (and how you can get involved), and we'll talk about the new regional chapter of the Climate Reality Leadership Project.  For another cinematic perspective on how climate change is altering human lives and livelihoods, David Randolph will bring his winning entry in the recent Carnegie Mellon/Point Park multimedia contest.  Focusing on the natural world, we'll hear from Christina Neumann of Apoidea Apiary about Project BudBurst, a citizen science initiative to quantify the ongoing modification of the seasons (and an upcoming training for participants).  And as always, resident climate scientist Neil Donahue will be here to weigh in.  More is in the works;  check back here for more details closer to the date! 

Keep an eye out for updates here in case wintry weather does return -- and please be sure to RSVP, in case I need to send word about changing conditions!  

The March salon will be on the topic of Food;  date is still TBA.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We will start the program not long after 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   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 EventBrite invitation (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 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 (see below), 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, 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.  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 fracking, 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.  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 and provide a big batch of mostly-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. 


Feb 13: Urban agriculture funding info

Please join the Food Policy Council’s Urban Ag Working Group and a number of organizations for an informational event focused on where to find funding (grants, cost-share, credits, fundraising and loans) for urban/small farms, community gardens and other projects.

6-8 p.m. at Spirit Lounge (242 51st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201).  Please RSVP here!

Jan 30: PWSA Blue Ribbon Panel forum

The Blue Ribbon Panel for the PWSA restructuring process is holding a Community Forum.  During this meeting, the panel will provide an overview of its restructuring and improvement recommendations for the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, and take questions from the audience.

You can review the Blue Ribbon Panel's recommendations at https://pwsablueribbon.org/ .

6-8 p.m. at City Council Chambers on 5th floor of the City-County Building (414 Grant Street, 15219).  Registration is not required.

Jan 30: Toxic Neighbor press conference

Join PennFuture, the Breathe Project, and other local activists outside of Governor Tom Wolf’s Pittsburgh office at 301 Fifth Ave. for a press conference as we deliver a petition demanding that state leaders stop the petrochemical industry’s expansion in our region.

Speakers include Larry J. Schweiger (President Emeritus, PennFuture), Matthew Mehalik, PhD (Executive Director, Breathe Collaborative), Peggy Fried (Allegheny County citizen, member of Clean Air Council, and organizer of a recent environmental event on fossil energy), and Joanne Martin (Beaver County citizen, member of the Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community, and one of the founders of ReImagine Beaver, an organization that has worked to promote renewable energy and healthy alternative industries in Beaver County).


11 a.m. to noon at 301 Fifth Avenue, 15222.

Let folks know you're coming on the Facebook event page!  There will also be a pizza-fueled community sign-making event the night before (6 p.m. on January 29 at PennFuture's offices at 200 First Avenue, 15222).  

Jan 25: Fracking and Air Quality

Clean Air Council invites residents of Braddock and the surrounding communities to learn more about the hazardous emissions from the Edgar Thomson Steel Works and to discuss the potential impacts of the proposed unconventional natural gas drilling in the area. Join your neighbors to learn more about the facts, to discover how you can help your community, and to sign a petition to the Allegheny County Health Department. There will be presentations on the Edgar Thomson facility and fracking followed by Q&A.

Unconventional natural gas drilling (more commonly known as fracking) is moving into Western Pennsylvania at an alarming rate. One of the newest sites for drilling may be the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, which is an area that already experiences significant pollution from the Steel Mill. If you are interested in finding out more about the potential impacts of fracking or learning about how the Edgar Thomson Works has been emitting more into the air than it is legally allowed by its Title V permit, you should check out this event. Invite your friends in the area. Get involved, and make your voices heard. Change begins with you. 

**Note that while there will be presentations on fracking and Edgar Thomson, the main focus of the event is to bring together concerned citizens and give them an opportunity to brainstorm ideas and learn about what they can do to make a difference in their community.

6-8 p.m. at the Braddock Carnegie Library (419 Library St. Braddock, PA 15104).  Contact Kelly Yagatich if you have any further questions. 

Jan 20: Summit Against Racism

The 20th annual Summit Against Racism is a one-day conference dedicated to examining the state of race relations in the U.S. and to building pathways to deeper understanding, healing, and social action. 

The theme of this year’s conference, chosen by volunteer organizers, is “The Struggle Continues: Healing Trauma, Building Community, and Inspiring Action”.

Donate food or a gift card to help feed our attendees. Contact summitagainstracism@gmail.com

This event is a multicultural initiative of The Black & White Reunion and is hosted by Metro-Urban Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

The Summit is a day for open dialogue and generating ideas to move the Pittsburgh region forward into a place we can be proud to call home. The workshops address current and emerging challenges facing our region and nation.

This gathering is an effort to build Pittsburgh’s most important bridges, the bridges that span our relationships and strengthen the justice movement in our steel city.

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (616 N. Highland Avenue, 15206).  More information and online registration at summitagainstracism.org .

Jan 13: 72nd Sustainability Salon on Fracking, Health, and Action

Marking six years of Sustainability Salons, the 72nd salon will continue our annual Wintertime Film Series.   Groundswell Rising explores the impact of fracking on water, air, and public health, and community activism rising up in opposition in Colorado, New York, and Pennsylvania.  It looks like the weather will allow for safe travel, so we'll have a program of speakers to lead a discussion on our regional concerns and what we can do about them.  

I think the wintry weather should be done by morning (other than a return to the January chill), but please be sure to RSVP -- just in case I need to send word about changing conditions!  Also note that we will be starting fairly promptly this time (see below).

Bernard Goldstein, MD is the former dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health, and professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.  He's been looking at unconventional gas development for years, both in terms of property rights and the Precautionary Principle (comparing rules and attitudes in Europe and the US, and looking at the influence of our activism on their choices) and at the web of relationships among environmental regulations, toxic exposures, and public health.  

Mark Dixon, local environmental filmmaker and activist on air quality and climate, will as always bring everything into clear focus -- especially in light of the planned petrochemical buildout in our region, attracted by the shale gas boom and sure to intensify it, and the recent news of fracking coming to Pittsburgh's doorstep, in Braddock.  

Neil Donahue, Salon co-host and leading researcher on air quality and climate, will add perspective on the implications of fossil energy for health and climate change, and the path forward.

Cynthia Walter and Mike Atherton are a wife-husband team who have worked with many local groups for 10 years on fracking.  Cynthia, an ecology professor, serves as science advisor to any group that needs one,  most often for Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group,  an umbrella organization focused on public education regarding all phases of shale gas extraction. Mike, a philosophy professor, serves with words,  common sense, and humor,  e.g., "Anyone who thinks fracking in a residential area is safe if it's 700 feet from a school probably thinks its OK to have a peeing section in a pool."  They'll talk about the importance of articles and letters in local media on the Gorsline case.  LTEs will demonstrate substantial public concern (and lots of scientific evidence) regarding harm from all stages of shale gas extraction and its incompatibility with residential and agricultural land uses, and that townships cannot force citizens to accept wells in those zones.   The salon will culminate with a dynamic letter-writing activity.

The next salon will take place on February 24th, tentatively premiering a new climate film, Saving Snow in collaboration with Citizens Climate Lobby.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We will start the program right around 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   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 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 (see below), 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, 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.  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 globalizationecological 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.  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 and provide a big batch of mostly-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.