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 firstname.lastname@example.org to set a pick-up outside of store hours.
Thank you for your time and interest and we hope to see you there!
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.
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.
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 email@example.com and we will get you busy.
See you at the store!
Written by Lara Randolph and Scott Kreidermacher on behalf of Sustainable Renton.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com or 425-430-7391.
For more information here is a link to the City’s website:
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.
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.
Brewmaster’s Taproom has graciously agreed to feature Sustainable Renton as their non-profit of choice on Friday, February 23rd. All day, from open to close (12pm-11pm) Brewmaster’s will donate $1 to Sustainable Renton for every drink sold. We are so grateful for this generosity and aid in our efforts of supplying organically grown produce to our local families on a pay-what-you-can pay scale. Currently we set up in front of the Renton Senior Activity Center on the second and fourth Fridays from 12pm-1pm starting in May running through September. This year we will be adding a third Farm Stand venue at Brewmaster’s Taproom. On the first Wednesday of every month beginning on June 6th from 5pm-7pm.
Here is some information about Brewmaster’s Taproom:
They are Renton’s Taproom located right up the hill from Renton City Hall in the Enterprise Plaza (2000 Benson Road S. Renton, WA 98055) where you can also find Buck’s Teriyaki and Pizza Time. They feature 20+ taps of local craft beer, cider and root beer along with a generous bottle selection. You can also fill growlers.
The taproom is a compliment to the beer themed bakery, aptly named The Brewmaster’s Bakery. You can pick up products like granola, spent grain breads, beer infused cookies and caramels and whatever else the baker dreams up! Outside food is welcomed.
They are kid and dog friendly! Find out more here:
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 Celebration 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.
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 glean 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can answer any questions you might have.
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. We 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, bringing 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.
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:
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 Rides
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.