Sustainable Renton’s Free Grocery Store

20200330_172125Sustainable Renton’s Free Grocery Store has made a few changes to meet the needs of our community during this strange and difficult time of greater need.

First, due to health reasons, we’ve had to change our location. We were offered a space in the parking lot located directly in front of Brewmaster’s Taproom at 2000 Benson Rd S Renton, WA 98055. 

Second, we opted to change the means of picking up the groceries. The layout of the parking lot makes it easy to accomodate a drive-through version of our grocery store. We are unable to service walk-up patrons at this time; however, we are looking into how we may accommodate walk-ups in the near future.20200330_165147

The April 27th store will be our 5th drive-through store, with each week showing a huge need in our community.

We typically offer bread, pastries, produce, deli items, and dry goods, but as all food items are gleaned or donated, weekly selection will vary. 

We have successfully handed out 1500-3000 pounds of food per week, serving as many as 300 families. 

20200330_165227Our volunteers are vetted each week via protective measures, such as taking their temperature and filling out a pertinent health-related questionnaire. We require our volunteers to wear gloves and masks at all times, being careful to sanitize between each transaction.

Finally, we are unable to take any cash donations at this event. If anyone is interested or able to donate we encourage them to go to our website and donate via our PayPal button. If any businesses or individuals are interested in donating food or interested in volunteering for this event, please contact sustainablerenton@gmail.com

Drive thru Free Grocery Store starts next week

As most of you know, we have been unable to hold the Sustainable Renton Free Grocery Store at our previous location this month due to the current COVID-19 situation. This decision was made with a heavy heart, but was necessary in order to comply with current health department guidelines and to do our part to discourage large groups in an attempt to flatten the infection curve of the virus.

I am happy to report that we have been able to secure a location for an outdoor, remain-in-vehicle Free Grocery Store!

Starting Monday March 30th, Sustainable Renton will restart our Monday evening stores at our new venue, The Brewmaster’s Taproom parking lot, at 2000 Benson Road South. Hours will be from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

As you can imagine this will be a little different than our previous stores. Customers will enter the parking lot via the South Puget Drive entrance to enter the line, then be directed through the parking lot until they arrive at a row of tables which will be stocked with produce and dry goods. Volunteers will fill bags with what the customer requests and hand them through the vehicle window. The customer will then leave through the Benson Road South exit of the parking lot. 

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer non-food items at the drive through Free Grocery Store and will have to limit the amount of food that each customer is able to receive. This will vary based on the number of persons they are shopping for and the amount of food available at each store. These changes are necessary both for space constraints and in order to ensure that the items we have are shared as equitably and among as many customers as possible.

All volunteers will be wearing gloves and DIY face masks for the protection of all and will be following current guidelines for social distancing and hygiene.

Another change is that we will NOT be accepting any monetary or other donations during store hours. People wishing to make monetary donations are encouraged to visit our website Sustainable Renton and donate via the PayPal button. Those wishing to make donations of food will need to email sustainablerenton@gmail.com to set a pick-up outside of store hours.

Thank you for your time and interest and we hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Scott Kreidermacher

Gleaning Project Lead

Sustainable Renton

Food is for Sharing

Food is for sharing.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We share at family picnics, the dinner table, church festivals, and at countless other gatherings. We share food with our family, our friends, and sometimes this sharing helps us in resolving differences. It’s a powerful tool for building community, forging relationships, and taking care of one another and ourselves. In short, folks have been breaking bread together for centuries.

In our region of abundance we have so much food we are literally throwing it away. Food waste is a leading cause of greenhouse emissions as it slowly decomposes in landfills producing methane and other gasses. This happens while people are hungry, families struggle to pay for groceries, and local community meal programs and food banks are overtaxed.

With our most recent project, Sustainable Renton is gleaning food from local sources – farmers markets, grocery stores, foraged foods, and individual gardeners donations, and bringing it to our Free Grocery Store, at 915 S. 3rd St. in the downtown Renton corridor. This space has been made available by a local resident who is passionate about community driven humanitarian efforts in Renton and is invested in helping our most vulnerable populations.

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

There is no shortage of food that can be saved and there is a need for more outlets for this food. Obviously, some food needs to be composted as it is not fit for consumption even for livestock, but before it gets to that point it has days to weeks to sometimes months of time to get into the hands of folks that could benefit from it.

In the past four years, prior to Sustainable Renton making the Gleaning Project an “official” project in June of this year, a small group of dedicated individuals (many already associated with other Sustainable Renton projects) have been collecting “waste” food and other usable materials. These gleaned and foraged items were then diligently, through an established email chain and phone tree system, distributed to families in need and to the tent cities and tiny-home villages around the region.

The newly-utilized space on South 3rd Street allows a spot for cooled storage, which aids in lengthier preservation, and can act as a hub where folks can come and get their food rather than having multiple meeting points scattered around Renton. This will reduce the environmental and monetary costs of transportation of the gleaned items to their end users. Deliveries will still be maintained to the nearby tent cities and tiny-home villages, as it has been before now, and efforts will be made to include previous patrons who may be unable to get to the new location.

close up of fruits hanging on tree
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The gleaned items are free and always will be! We will have a donation jar on site for those folks that are able to pitch in for the associated costs of the program, with any overages going to support other Sustainable Renton projects. Donations or payment will never be asked for or required, but will always be appreciated!

This project is growing quickly! Please see the link on our web page for current dates and times for our Free Grocery Store. Spread the word to those that might benefit, sign up to volunteer to help out at the Free Grocery Store, or if you have a truck or other appropriate vehicle and the extra time, sign up for food retrieval. If you are interested in volunteering please contact sustainablerenton@gmail.com and we will get you busy.

 

See you at the store!

 

Written by Lara Randolph and Scott Kreidermacher on behalf of Sustainable Renton.

Sustainable Renton Needs You!

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You may or may not know anything about Sustainable Renton. Let me tell you a little something about what we do currently and where we see the organization moving into the future. Sustainable Renton started in 2010 as a subsidiary group of Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS), with a vision of making a positive impact in Renton. Our mission statement is to foster a healthier community and planet. We were not sure where our energies ought to be placed initially. We were quickly given an opportunity to create a community garden on the property of Celebration Church located in the East Renton Highlands Neighborhood. This project is called Sustainable Renton Community Farm. We have community garden plots which are rented annually, we grow food for a local restaurant and we grow food for the Sustainable Renton Farm Stand. The Farm Stand is currently erected three times per month from May through October. This is where we offer our organically grown produce to our customer base on a pay-what-you-can pay scale. Sustainable Renton is passionate about food justice issues believing that eating healthily is a right not a privilege.

Sustainable Renton provides educational opportunities to the public via workshops throughout the year on various topics pertaining to sustainable living practices. These workshops consist of topics including Fermentation Basics, Permaculture Gardening Techniques, Medicinal Herbs and their uses, Kombucha 101, Compost Bin Building etc.

We have had other projects begin as a Sustainable Renton venture but, due to necessity, had to break off and become their own entities, such as Renton Food Co-Op and Meaningful Movies of Renton.

Sustainable Renton is currently looking for new Board members. What we have to offer is a 501c3 status that can help an enthusiastic person that is wanting to start their own project, provided the project fits into the lens of our current vision. We can also offer an opportunity to get involved in and grow our current projects so that our impact can be greater.

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We are coming up on our annual rotation period in December and are in need of people to fill the following positions: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Members at Large are always welcome as well. Here are the duties of the officers per our organizational bylaws:

  1. The President shall by default preside at all Board meetings, or appoint a suitable facilitator to conduct them, represent Sustainable Renton in transactions with outside agencies, and is a voting ex-officio member of all councils. S/he will also coordinate with the Secretary and Treasurer to submit an annual report of Sustainable Renton activities to the membership and the Board, and shall perform other duties as coordinated with the Board.
  2. The Vice-President shall assume the duties of the President in his/her absence, help the President to guide the strategic and organizational development of Sustainable Renton, is a voting ex-officio member of all councils, and shall perform other duties as coordinated with the Board.
  3. The Secretary shall serve as the Registered Agent for Sustainable Renton with the Washington Secretary of State’s office, is responsible for issuing notices of meetings, arranging and maintaining minutes of all meetings (of both the membership and the CC and its’ affiliated councils), maintaining  Sustainable Renton records, conducting elections, and shall perform other duties as coordinated with the Board.
  4. The Treasurer shall manage the financial affairs of Sustainable Renton as chief financial and accounting officer, and shall be in charge of the administration of day to day bookkeeping, cash processing, and paying of bills, funds, valuable papers, and keeping accurate records for Sustainable Renton per the following provisions:
    1. The Board will approve the Sustainable Renton budget, financial accounting, record keeping policies & procedures in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, approve all bank accounts and check writing controls and procedures, and authorize officers and other individuals to sign on checks at approved banking institutions, and/or represent  Sustainable Renton in transactions with outside agencies.
    2. The Treasurer shall in general perform all the duties incident to the office of the Treasurer, and such other duties as coordinated with the Board.

While these descriptions may sound ominous or mysterious, our Board is made up of real people, doing real life things, and carrying out these job duties the very best way that we can. There is plenty of room for learning. So, If you have a desire to work on a grassroots level towards helping Renton become more sustainable and have ideas, energy and/or time to spare please email us at sustainablerenton@gmail.com  

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Our next two Board meeting will be held on the second Thursdays in November and December respectively at 7pm at Red House restaurant located at 410 Burnett Ave S Renton, Wa 98057. Our elections will be held at the December meeting. We will be happy to welcome you and answer any questions that you might have.

BYOB Bring Your Own Bag

re-printed from the city of Renton web page

The City of Renton launched the Bring Your Own Bag campaign in April 2018 to increase awareness of the impact of plastic bags and to encourage bringing reusable bags when shopping.

Concurrently, public and business surveys are being conducted to expand understanding of public attitudes toward plastic bags and how they are used or disposed. Those who shop or live in Renton are encouraged to complete the online public survey through
June 6th. The online business survey will be available to retail businesses that have received an informational letter in the mail. The surveys will inform the City’s future efforts to reduce plastic bag use.

For questions regarding the campaign, to receive a printed public survey by mail, or to request information regarding the business survey, please contact jkim@rentonwa.gov or 425-430-7391.

For more information here is a link to the City’s website:

Bring Your Own Bag

 

Keep Your Mattress Out of the Landfill: Purchase Wisely and Know Your Disposal Options

When it’s time for a new mattress, finding the right one is only the beginning. By looking for the right certifications you can find a mattress that’s been manufactured with environmental and human safety in mind. Responsible disposal of an old mattress poses a unique challenge, especially with concerns of bedbug infestations. But, recycling facilities and charitable organizations can provide an environmentally-safe option for many people.

Eco-Friendly Mattress Options

A truly eco-friendly mattress probably has more than a label that says green, organic, or all-natural. The mattress industry doesn’t have any government sanctioned standards for what constitutes a green mattress. Because of that, you have to check the label and look for the right certifications.

 

Scan the Label

Mattresses are often made of many components, any one of which may have been exposed to harmful chemicals. When a mattress says that it’s “organic”, read the label to see what specific components that label applies to. It may mean the raw materials used to make the cover or the wood harvested for the frame, but rarely does it mean the entire mattress. Try to find components made from as many organic raw materials and processes as possible.

 

Mattress Options

If you’re looking for a natural, eco-friendly mattress, it’s hard to beat a natural latex mattress. These mattresses are made from latex derived from the sap of the rubber tree. A Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certification ensures that all the latex used in the mattress is 95% organically produced. Be aware that even these mattress will have some synthetic materials.

 

Natural latex comes with a high price. If you’re don’t have the budget for one of these high-end mattresses, there are other, though less eco-friendly, options.

 

  • Foam: Foam mattresses are made with either polyfoam or memory foam. While both can be certified to be free of harmful emissions or other risks to human health, both will have been exposed to chemicals at some point in the manufacturing process. However, you can look for foams made from plant-based memory foam for a greener option.

  • Innerspring: The steel coils of innerspring mattresses have to be exposed to industrial processes. However, they can be made using sustainable methods if an innerspring works best for you.

  • Hybrids: Hybrids use elements from both foam and innerspring mattresses and some incorporate latex as well. If they combine latex and innerspring elements, they may be less expensive than an all-latex mattress while still providing a more eco-friendly option than a foam or regular innerspring.

Responsible Mattress Disposal

The Salvation Army and Goodwill usually take mattress donations. Many independent second-hand stores may take them as well, but be sure to call ahead to make sure. Bed bug infestations have made these charitable organizations careful about how and when they take mattress donations. Try your local neighborhoods “buy nothing” group or Craigslist if you don’t have the means to transport the mattress yourself.

 

Recycling your mattress may come with a small fee, but it’s usually worth it to keep the mattress out of the landfill. There are two recycling facilities in the Puget Sound area that take mattress donations. According to ByeByeMattress.com, A Plus Removal & Recycling in Auburn, WA takes mattress as does Spring Back Recycling in Tacoma, WA. Call to make sure they take your mattress type and to find out if they have removal services available.