Get Involved.

It’s that time of year again when Sustainable Renton elects new Board members to forge the journey ahead through the next year. Anyone who has served on a board knows the importance of position rotation. In keeping with that principle, we are looking for some new folks to step up and help us with our vision of making Renton a more resilient community.

Some people may not know what projects Sustainable Renton is involved with so here is a list of what we have going on right now:

Sustainable Renton Community Farm: a community farm located on the property of phone dump May 30 2015 842Celebration Church in the East Renton Highlands neighborhood. We grow food for our Farm Stand, a local restaurant and offer year round community garden plots.

Sustainable Renton Farm Stand: We offer organically grown produce at a pay-what-you-can pay scale. We set up currently at the Renton Senior Activity Center bi-monthly from May-Sept. We are looking to expand our horizons in the coming year.farmstand photo

Little Mountain, Spabadeed: Spabadeed is the Duwamish name for Earlington Hill meaning Little Mountain. We are working with the Earlington Hill Neighborhood Association, City View Church and Seattle City Light to place a food forest and community garden site adjacent to the church on the utilities’ property. We hope to make major progress towards this goal in the coming year.

Sustainable Renton Gleaning Project: We have a group of volunteers that forage and 954726_491466860959666_676925641_nglean from a variety of sources and redistribute food to those that will use it. This project keeps food from the landfill and keeps people fed that live in and around Renton.

Plastic free Renton: We have been working with the city of Renton to move a plastic-free initiative forward and present it to the council. We hope to achieve this in 2018.

Plant and Seed Swap: Sustainable Renton and the City of Renton collaborate to bring together a great community gathering. People bring their unwanted seeds and plants and take what they like. We have workshops on specific sustainability topics and vendors from around the area. This event is going into its third year.

Sustainable Renton is an official “muller” within the Transition US movement. Our goal is to become an official transition initiative in 2018.

Some of the projects and ideas that Sustainable Renton wants to see happen in the future are:

Acquisition of the property where our community farm is located. Our vision is to have a sustainability hub where anyone can come and learn about sustainable and resilient living.

A Green Festival as a part of the already existing Renton River Days where companies and organizations concerned with resiliency are highlighted, workshops and hands-on demonstrations are given.

A mobile Farm Stand that will travel into food deserts and underserved communities to disperse food to those in need.

A Gleaner’s Cafe where we can use foraged, gleaned and locally grown foods to create

ComFarm
Mmm…fresh produce.

delicious and nutritious meals on a pay what you can pay scale. This cafe would offer hours for a community kitchen to act as a business incubator for those in need.

Food Cooperative: Cooperative businesses are making their way back into our economy as a more egalitarian way to conduct business. It is an empowering business model for all involved and we would love to see a hybrid cooperative grocery store in Renton.

Sustainable Renton has primarily been focused on food justice issues but we would love to expand our concentration on all topics concerning resiliency within a community such as time banking, alternative currencies, eco villages/co-housing, transition streets, alternative energy sources, free stores, free schools,reskilling, sharing economies the list can go on. We have ideas, we have the 501c3 federally exempt status to help with fundraising but what need we now are people. Not just anybody either. Sustainable Renton has seen quite a few folks come and go since its inception in 2010. What we need are folks that have a drive to make Renton a more resilient community and who are willing to take the lead on a project they are passionate about. It can be an already existing project or one they want to begin.

I know that as a stay at home and home-schooling parent (that has a multitude of other interests) time is precious. I also know that my life has had deeper purpose and meaning since becoming involved with Sustainable Renton. Some things are worth fighting for and the energy put into fostering a healthy community that is independent from the not so stable world is something worth fighting for.

So, if you are feeling inspired, we encourage you to attend our next Board meeting held on December 21st at 6:30pm. We will meet at Top Pot Doughnuts in The Landing,

If you have any questions or would like to be involved but are unable to attend the Board meeting please contact us at sustainablerenton@gmail.com and we can answer any questions you might have.

Sustainable Renton’s 5th Annual Harvest Mayhem shaping up to be best event yet

Mark your calendars! This year’s Harvest Mayhem event is shaping up to be a promising family affair! The event will be held on October 14th, 2017 from 11am-3pm at Sustainable Renton Community Farm (11840 148th Ave SE Renton 98059 behind Celebration Church).

We are continuing with many of the traditions of our earlier events such as a community stone soup potluck and cider pressing. cider-press-party_6_9-28-13We are suggesting that folks bring your extra apples for pressing and a jar to take some cider home in. We will be cooking two pots of soup, one vegetarian, so if you have something to add to the soup please bring it and it will be added for a real stone soup lunch. Also, we ask that you bring your meal hardware such as silverware, bowls, plates and cups.

We will be featuring on site garden demonstrations with local experts that include topics such as ‘Winterizing your Garden’ and ‘How to make Berry Bombs’.

Also new this year will be local, urban farmer, Tracey Delamarter from 7 Tree Farm, ducksbringing her ducks and bunnies for a kid friendly, hands-on talk about the importance of animals on the homestead.

We will hold our annual Barter Fair so bring your extra canned goods, homemade goodies or whatever tickles your fancy to give away and you may leave with something delicious and/or something you have always wanted in exchange.barter fair

Our raffle event is the main vehicle that Sustainable Renton uses at this event to raise money. We will be offering some fabulous prizes donated by local artisans and businesses. If you have anything you would like to donate to our raffle table it would be most appreciated.

 

The lineup of events is as follows:                                    face painting

11:00 am Begin gathering

11:30-2:30 Cider Pressing

11:30am-1pm Barter Fair

12:00pm-2:30pm Stone Soup Potluck/local musicians

12:00-12:45pm Berry Bombs building demonstration

12pm-2pm Face Painting/Pumpkin decorating/Tractor Ridesphone dump May 30 2015 842

1:00-1:20pm Winterizing Your Garden

1:30-2:00pm Farm Animals with 7 Tree Farm

2:30pm Raffle Drawing (must be present to win)

3:00pm Wrap it Up!!

 

Things to bring:

Chair, eating utensils and hardware, apples for pressing, jars for taking cider home, items for the barter fair, potluck side dish, something(s) to add to the soup, donated raffle items, cold, hard cash and a good attitude.

This event is always fun and this year should be the best year yet, so bring the kiddos, grab your neighbor and come and have a good time.

Lowe’s recognizes Sustainable Renton as Local Heroes

It all started with a solicitation letter to Lowe’s for garden supplies. Sustainable Renton was requesting help with things such as garden hoses, hand tools, weed trimmers and seeds. The next thing that happened was we received a call from Patrick Miskelly, the store Manager at the Lowe’s Renton branch. He asked if Sustainable Renton might want to be considered for their annual in-store Local Heroes Project. We obviously jumped at the opportunity.

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Patrick Miskelly, store manager

Next, Lisa Williams, the Human Resource Manager called and asked us about our mission and what services we provide for our community. We spoke about our history, about the plans and ideas that we are working towards. She asked about our obstacles and what we thought Lowe’s could do to help. After five years of gardening at our site located behind Celebration Church in the East Renton Highlands neighborhood, we had become frustrated with the amount of food the deer were helping themselves to, so a deer fence was at the top of our priority list. Also, we knew with a greenhouse that we could save ourselves a lot of money every season as well as create a stream of revenue by growing and selling our own starts in the Spring and in the Fall. Lisa made note of these things and asked us to come in for a face-to-face meeting.

At this meeting we met the appointed project lead, Adam Drummond, who served as the contact between Sustainable Renton and Lowe’s.

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Adam Drummond, Project lead

Adam made a site visit and saw what kind of tools and situation we had for gardening. Admittedly we were working with hand me down tools, either donated by gardeners over the years or purchased used at garage sales.  Adam asked us if we had a wish list of things we may want if they had any extra money to throw at this project.  So we told him about all of our hopes and dreams, not dreaming in a hundred years that we would get what we asked for.

Sustainable Renton has been asking for help through grant writing and donation solicitation for 7 years with limited results. When Lowe’s showed up on September 27th with a crew of about 15 people, a greenhouse, a

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Brand new tools!

locking tool shed, the means to install a deer fence, complete with 6′ gates, a variety of tools, 400′ of 3/4″ hose, hose reels, weed trimmers, wheelbarrows and approximately 300 packets of seeds, we felt as though we had won the lottery!

These folks were great that day! They arrived around 7 am and made a whole day of it at our garden working to improve our ability to bring organically grown produce to Renton!!

Sustainable Renton is truly grateful to Lowe’s for their generosity. Not just generosity of things, but of time, which is perhaps the most valuable commodity in these times of extreme business.

The lesson for us here at Sustainable Renton is to keep asking for what we need and to remain humble and grateful for all that we have been given.

 

Fermentation 101

fermented-veggies

One of the many benefits of a community garden is-community! The most interesting people can become friends and relationships that help facilitate learning and growth can enter into the everyday things that make life wonderfully abundant.

An example of this is the other day, when I was visiting one of my new found friends, she suggested that we try one of her pickles from a jar she had been fermenting on her kitchen counter for a couple of days. Now, I have been curious about fermentation, and tried my hand with some kefir curds but those soon became so plentiful I had to stop for lack of people to share them with. Anyone who has harvested kefir curds knows this dilemma. I have also heard about the digestive benefits of fermented foods for years, but the only thing that came to mind was Kim Chi, which was not at all interesting to me, so I  just never investigated any further than that.

But, I had tried this friends fermented string beans a few months back, and enjoyed it, so I thought it would be safe and possibly satisfying. Lo and behold the fermented cucumber I tried was the single best pickle I have ever eaten in my life! It was unmistakably a dill pickle, but it had a flavor that rocketed beyond mere dill. Being a novice at spice experimentation I wasn’t sure what was in the brine, but my palette had never been happier.

Needless to say I got the recipe, and have a jar fermenting on my counter as we speak. If this works for me I will have an answer to the many cucumbers that are waiting for my attention.

A word about fermentation and its history: Fermenting happens naturally and predates humanity, however humans took control of the fermentation process and have been using this method from as far back as 7000 BCE . In short, fermentation is the process of converting carbohydrates or sugars into alcohols and carbon dioxides using yeasts and/or bacteria under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions.

This process is employed in the making of wine and beer, or for foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. The science of fermentation is known as zymology. Fermentation is also what happens during the pickling process however, with the common techniques of canning the fermentation process is ceased when the jars are boiled and sealed. With straight fermentation the process is halted when the jar is placed below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The jars are not subjected to heat or pressure, which allows the lactobacilli to remain in tact and give our digestive systems the some of the healthy enzymes it needs to function properly.

I am sharing my friend’s recipe with you, I am sure you can use whatever spices you like.

A note of caution: there is always a risk of botulism with the consumption of canned foods, so take care to not use plastic containers when making fermented foods and follow all directions carefully. Glass canning jars are nice and greatly reduce the risk of illness.

Fermented Cucumber Pickles

1 t. coriander seeds

½ t. ground black pepper

1 t. yellow mustard seeds

1 t. dill seeds

1 t. caraway seeds

1 t. celery seeds

9 cloves fresh garlic

6 dry bay leaves

6 T. Kosher salt

1/2 t. dried red pepper flakes

Dry dill heads & stalks

Take 1 quart boiling water; add salt & dissolve. Place 2 bay leaves, 3 garlic cloves & cucumbers in quart jars. Add 1 1/3 c. salted water to each of 3 quart jars, add 1/3 of combined spice mix, top off with fresh filtered water, leaving 1” head space.  Cover jars and shake to distribute salty water within jar, & make sure all veggies are still submerged. Place glass cup or custard cup into jar as needed to make sure all garlic and cucumbers are completely submerged.  Leave in dark, cool place for up to 2 weeks, checking and tasting as needed till pickles are as tangy as you like. When taste is right, cap tightly and store in refer or root cellar for 6 months or more, or till pickles are tangier than you like.

If this information has tantalized your curiosity please make a note of our Basics of Fermentation Workshop coming up October 7, 2017 at 11am at Red House restaurant located in downtown Renton at 410 Burnett Ave S Renton, WA 98057

This workshop has a $5 suggested donation. All proceeds go to support Sustainable Renton projects.

Acts of Resistance

phone dump May 30 2015 842

When I am at work at one of my favorite places, Sustainable Renton Community Farm (SRCF), I have a tendency to think a lot. It is my form of contemplative motion. I would like to think that this type of thought-action could be considered a meditative practice, it has indeed become this way for me.

During the past year my soul has been exacerbated and overwhelmed with the grinding division of politics. I have found myself needing, more than ever, a way to act in honor of hope and in recognition of a meaningful revolution. Facebook shares, likes and rants are not enough “action” for my mind and heart to be at ease. Twittering is unintelligible and useless in my world.

I require an avenue to express my desire for transformation, my need for feeling engaged and a place where I can work towards being the change I want to see in the world. SRCF has become that place for me.

Yes, I am doing mundane gardening chores. I am turning the compost pile, readying the soil for planting, laying burlap and topping it with woodchips, chopping the wood and carrying the water, so to speak. These are the ordinary tasks that can make the extraordinary elements of life more apparent.

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The idea that planting a seed is an act of hope and that saving a seed is an act of rebellion are not new to me but those thoughts have been in the forefront of my mind recently. These actions, among others, are the very things that make doing service with Sustainable Renton my chosen path of resistance.

In this global economy, building a local economic infrastructure is even more innovative than ever. In this world where corporations achieve more power than people, the development of cooperative community endeavors could not be more disobedient and I love it.

Sustainable Renton is a very small non-profit working with a shoe string budget; however, with the generosity of Celebration Church and the fortitude of some tenacious folks we have created and sustained an amazing community “farm”. This is a place where people can get their hands dirty and get connected to the earth again or perhaps for the first time; a place where gardens are planted for the sole purpose of fighting against food insecurity and injustice in Renton.

20130924_150614 Rebellion comes in many forms and can be present in a variety of acts ranging from small to explosive, from daily to one time grandstands.

It is my hope that if Sustainable Renton continues to engage in the small, daily acts of rebellion that one day we will create an explosive grandstand towards change whose effects will linger in Renton for generations to come.

 

If you would like to get involved please contact us at sustainablerenton@gmail.com or visit our website www.sustainablerenton.org

Hope to see you at the farm!

Everybody is doing it, why not Renton?

Issaquah does it, Seattle does it, Redmond does it, Kirkland does it, how about their neighbors just to south, Renton? No, we are not doing it-yet. Sustainable Renton is working with the city’s Solid Waste department to move towards a plan to pass a plastic bag ban in our fair city. The ordinances that have passed are different in every city. Some have laws that focus only on retail businesses, others give businesses a time period to use their current stock of bags before having to comply with the law, and still others charge patrons a small fee for every bag given out at the time of purchase. Renton is working toward adopting its own ordinance.

The first step is “evidence gathering”. What this means is that we need evidence of plastic bags that have gone rogue. We are all familiar with the plastic bag in the tree, the lone bag in the storm drain and the bag in the parking strip. Your job, as a Citizen Investigator , is to take a photograph of said bags, document where in the city the bag was seen and send it to us.  

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For example, while walking to the local library branch and there happens to be a plastic bag in a tree. Take out a phone or camera, snap the shot, mark down where  in the city it is, include the photo and location in the email and send it to sustainablerenton@gmail.com.  

When we gather enough evidence we can proceed to the next step of the plan of action.

Please help us  take Renton into a more sustainable future.

Urban Beekeeping Basics

This workshop is taught by local South Renton Neighborhood beekeeper, Shelby Smith. Shelby has been beekeeping in Renton for a number of years and is passionate about the plight of the honeybee.

At this workshop we will share information and answer questions. We will sample honey made by bees living in the North Renton neighborhood!

Topics include:
Why keep bees in the city? • Equipment •
Choosing a site • Buying bees • Capturing a
Free Swarm • Local Beekeepers Associations •
Benefits and Challenges in Beekeeping •

Screenshot 2017-03-13 at 3.06.15 PMThis workshop is FREE and open to the public

We will be meeting at the downtown Renton King County Library location at 100 Mill Ave S Renton, WA 98057this Saturday March 18th, 2017

Workshop starts at 11:00 am