Sep 30: Urban Farm Tour

The Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour highlights the agricultural production capacity in urbanized areas of Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods. This self-guided tour provides a unique opportunity to connect with local food, farmers, and the promise that sustainable agriculture holds for the future. Proceeds benefit the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) in their mission to support farms across our region while shining the spotlight on exemplary urban agriculture developments across the City. 
  • Braddock Farms 
  •  Drew Mathieson Center 
  •  FIT Farms 
  •  Frick Greenhouse 
  •  Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery 
  •  Garfield Community Farm 
  •  Homewood Historical Community Farm 
  •  Hops on Lots 
  •  Pittsburgh Oasis Farm & Fishery 
  •  Sankofa Village Community Garden 
  •  Shiloh Farm 
  •  Steel City Soils 
  •  Sylvania Natives
Check-in at the East End Food Co-op (7516 Meade St. 15208) from 12:30-4 p.m., farms open 1-6 p.m.  $25 cars, $10 bicycles.  Online registration is encouraged and will be open until Friday at noon, but walk-ins are also possible!  Presented by the East End Food Co-op (EEFC) in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

    Sep 26: Town Hall on Water

    Speak up! Speak out! Pittsburgh is not only facing a lead crisis, but our water rates are rapidly rising and many of our neighborhoods have been under "Flush and Boil" advisories in the past year. 

    Want to learn about what is happening at PWSA and what you and your neighbors can do to ensure ensure safe, affordable, publicly controlled water? Join us for a Town Hall hosted by the Our Water Campaign! 

    Together, we’ve accomplished a lot:

    - Free water filter program 
    -Halted dangerous partial line replacements 
    -Passed legislation that supports low-income residents in need of line replacements
    - Worked with the PWSA Affordability Committee to ensure affordable water in PGH!

    That's a lot to win and the biggest reason we've won that is because we have been able to work WITH our public water authority to begin solving these problems. However, IMG, a Maryland based consultant group, is pushing for corporate takeover of PWSA. Our water is too important to be left in the hands of a for-profit corporation.

    We’ve already experienced French-based company, Veolia, come in, take over our water system, cut costs to make $11 million in profit for themselves, and leave us with lead in our water, billing problems, and a broken water system.

    It's time to come together to say that we stand with the Mayor on his commitment to a public solution to our city's water issues. We can’t bring Reagan era policies back, we need to prioritize people over profits and ensure safe, affordable, public water for Pittsburgh!


    6-8 p.m. at Pittsburgh UNITED (841 California Ave Ste 3, 15212).  Free, dinner provided, family-friendly, 120 free water filters!  Check in on Facebook.


    Sep 27-28: Integrity of Creation conference

    I [Maren] make no bones about my lack of religion.  But one thing that some religious folks and I can agree about is that we humans, who have come into a great deal of power, need to take better care of the world.  Duquesne University's third annual Presidential Conference on the Integrity of Creation will take a close look at the Global Water Crisis.

    Information and online registration are here.


    Sep 17: Air quality hike in Dead Man's Hollow

    Join the Allegheny Land Trust's Environmental Education Team for an easy- to moderate-level hike at our Dead Man's Hollow Conservation Area.

    This is a great opportunity to learn about the natural and mysterious features of this 450 acre green space. We will look for lichens and ozone sensitive species of plants.  Friends from GASP's Athletes United for Healthy Air program will tell us more about regional air quality, ways to reduce our exposure to air pollution and how each of us can be a champion for healthy air.
    We will start at the Boston Ballfield parking area and Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trailhead and restrooms.  Please wear appropriate shoes (sneakers/boots) and bring a water bottle.

    1-3 p.m. at Boston Ballfield Park (1906 Donner Street, McKeesport, PA 15135).  Free and open to the public;  please register in advance here.

    This activity is in association with AirSpace, a collaborative effort between GTECH and GASP to creatively engage Allegheny County residents with topics related to air quality and environmental justice.

    Sep 13: Air Up the Allegheny Valley

    Air Information for Those Up the Allegheny River
    Join the Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP) and your neighbors for a discussion on air quality in the Natrona, Natrona Heights, and Brackenridge communities.  Attendees will learn more about what is impacting their air quality, what health affects are associated with exposure to air pollution, and what they can do about it.  Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and share experiences and information.  Sources in this region affect everyone from Sarver to New Kensington to Apollo and beyond -- so if you live near here and want to learn more, please attend.  RSVP and get more details here.

    7-9 p.m. at the American Legion (59 Garfield Street, Natrona Heights, PA  15065)

    Sep 11: Permaculture film screening

    Join Sustainable Monroeville for a free screening of the amazingly uplifting documentary INHABIT. There will be a whole-food, plant-based potluck supper prior to the screening.

    Pot luck at 6 p.m. followed by the screening, at the Monroeville Public Library. Free and open to the public.


    Sep 9: Sustainability Salon on Air Monitoring

                         Keeping Tabs on the Air We Breathe
    This September we'll return to our regular Fall Focus on Air Quality.  Rachel Filippini, Executive Director of the Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP, on whose board I serve) will bring an update on our work on air monitoring, monitoring the monitors, and other projects.  Yen-Chia Hsu and colleagues at CMU's CREATE Lab have been pursuing some innovative aggregation of health and air monitoring data for our region, from the now-shuttered Shenango coke plant to the Marcellus gas fields.  R. Subramanian, research scientist at CMU's Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS), has been developing low-cost sensors and using them to help the local community monitor and understand air quality in Clairton, another regional hotspot.  And Conservation Luminary Linda Wigington will be here to share progress and results from the home-scale monitoring of the ROCIS project (Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces).  Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches!

    The October salon will take place on October 21st, and will relate to climate change;  I'm still working out the details. 

    A couple of other notes: Al Gore's Climate Reality Project  is coming to Pittsburgh this October.  Applications are due by September 12th.  And the Clean Air Council is kicking off a new project, Groups of Ten gathering to discuss pollution in our region.  

     Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We usually aim to 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 to be added!).  
    July's salon with Bill Peduto
    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 informal 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. 

    Sep 8: Sustainability Pioneers at FEC

    Enjoy beer or wine and insightful fun with fellow nature lovers at one of the greenest
    buildings on earth - and watch the 10th and final episode of the Sustainability Pioneers series.
    The short documentary Sustainability Pioneers: Finding Our Power follows how the Frick Environmental Center rose from the ashes, and how the City of Pittsburgh takes the high road after president Trump reneges on the Paris climate treaty.  We meet Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, and RenĂ©e Lertzman, climate, energy and climate change consultant and engagement strategist, for their insights on to help people move from climate melancholia to climate action.

    A community conversation, facilitated by the filmmaker Kirsi Jansa, will follow after the screening. Then drink, mingle, learn, and enjoy live music outdoors (or in a covered space, if raining) during this 21+ event.  

    6:30-9 p.m. at the Frick Environmental Center.
    Purchase tickets in advance (recommended) here
    and check in on Facebook here

    September's Sustainable Sipping is presented by The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment at Chatham University.  This month's theme is EQUITY. Join us for:

    • Drinks courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company.
    • One of the first showings of the 10th and final episode of Sustainability Pioneers, a web-based, short video documentary series that highlights people and communities taking bold steps to address climate change. This final episode follows the evolution of the Frick Environmental Center and chronicles its rise from the ashes like the mythic Phoenix. It also captures how the City of Pittsburgh takes the high road after President Trump reneges on the Paris Climate Treaty. After the video screening, there will be an opportunity to speak with the video producer, Kirsi Jansa.
    • Discussion with 412 Food Rescue on food inequity, and their innovative programs to fight hunger in Pittsburgh. 
    • Live music by The Wreckids.
    • Delicious bites from Greek Gourmet.

    Ticket price includes two drink tickets and our happy hour buffet.