Dumpster Diving is not Illegal

dumpsterdiveAfter the great turn out to the showing of the documentary film Just Eat It, which highlighted the grotesque amount of food that is thrown into the dumpsters across America, the question arose, “Is it legal to salvage food from dumpsters?” I had to admit that I did not know the answer but that I would find out.
The City of Renton Police Department stated that there is no law that exists that would prohibit dumpster diving. You cannot go onto residential property and take things from a dumpster, but commercial properties such as restaurants, grocery stores or bakeries are open market for divers. Salvaging items for resale is illegal but salvaging food for personal consumption is not.
The woman on the phone did say that to be safe she recommended just asking the business if they would mind if their throw away food was taken away instead of thrown away. Seems like a good idea. Happy diving!

Meaningful Movies presents Eco-Film Series

Hello Sustainable Renton enthusiasts!

We are delighted to be collaborating with the City of Renton Solid Waste Management to bring you three wonderful movies to start off the new year right. Meaningful Movies is enjoying our new venue at Renton’s Carco Theater and we are excited to begin our series with ‘Just Eat It‘ on January 14th at 6:30 p.m. Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farms, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling. But as Grant’s addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the ‘thrill of the find’ has unexpected consequences.

just it at

We will have representatives from King County, the City of Renton, and Sustainable Renton available after the film for a community discussion.

On February 11th at 6:30 p.m. we will continue with the film ‘Bag It‘. An average guy makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely. He comes to the conclusion that our consumptive use of plastic has finally caught up to us, and looks at what we can do about it. Today. Right now.

bag itWe hope that this film will bring about incentive to make Renton plastic bag free just like our neighbors to the North (Seattle) and the East (Issaquah).

Our next film will show March 10th at 6:30 p.m. ‘Sound and Vision‘. Sound and Vision is a gripping documentary that explores issues facing the near shore environment. It is a film about the oceans, told through the stories of people working to clean up, protect, and restore habitat in Puget Sound and beyond. The film is set against the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, the wake-up call that spurred a national conversation about the vulnerability of our oceans and shoreline. The film addresses the many threats facing Puget Sound, and looks at ways that people can be involved in improving the health of our oceans.

sound and vision


As always, the goal of our events is to educate our community about issues in and around the Pacific Northwest and explore what measures we can take to make a positive change for Renton.

All events are FREE and open to the public. Donations are gratefully accepted. There will be refreshments and prizes.  So grab a friend or two and spend the night with us at the movies.

Meaningful Movies of Renton finds a new venue

Meaningful Movies of Renton has a new venue and an amazing line-up of movies coming to Carco Theater. Everyone knows and loves Renton’s Carco Theater and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to make this the home of Meaningful Movies of Renton. The theater allows for a much larger gig than we have been able to host in the past and will help us in creating greater community events.
Meaningful Movies of Renton is a collaborative effort between the Meaningful Movies Project and Sustainable Renton. Our aim is to educate and inspire our local community through the use of documentary films and engaging dialogue.
Our very first film was in August of 2013 located at our office space in the Renton Highlands neighborhood. Since then, we have had monthly events both at the office and at Luther’s Table in the downtown Renton. Our lineup has included great films such as Affluenza, Fresh, More Than Honey and Shift Change. Now we are collaborating with other local organizations to bring great films to Renton this Fall and Winter.
For the months of November and December we have joined forces with the amazing youth organization CryOut! to feature films that will highlight the issues of race and equality. We will begin on November 13th at 6:30 p.m.with the film White Like Me. For years, Tim Wise’s bestselling books and spellbinding lectures have challenged some of our most basic assumptions about race in America. White Like Me brings the full range of his work to the screen, showing how white privilege has perpetuated racial inequality and race-driven political resentments in ways most white people simply aren’t aware of. For more information and to view the trailer go here: http://www.mediaed.org/whitelikeme/

Then on December 11th at 6:30 p.m. we will feature Cracking the Codes. From Shakti Butler, a new film that asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity features moving stories from racial justice leaders including Amer Ahmed, Michael Benitez, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo, Joy DeGruy, Ericka Huggins, Humaira Jackson, Yuko Kodama, Peggy McIntosh, Rinku Sen, Tilman Smith and Tim Wise. For more information and to view a trailer you can go here: http://crackingthecodes.org/
We are bringing in a small panel of local folks to facilitate community discussion after the shows. These should prove to be transformative evenings for all who attend.

Cracking the Codes
Then on December 1st at 6:30 p.m. we will be collaborating with ten other Meaningful Movie venues to bring you Naomi Klein’s climate change film This Changes Everything. Filmed in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller, This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.For more information and to view the trailer go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpuSt_ST4_U
Following the film we’ll have a presentation on how you can become actively involved in effectively working toward climate justice and help make this a better world for ourselves and our children. A facilitated community discussion will follow each presentation with an opportunity to dig deeper into the issues. We will have members from Sierra Club, Backbone Campaign, 350.org Seattle and Sustainable Renton available for our discussion.


All Meaningful Movie events are FREE and open to the public. Donations are gratefully accepted. We do have screening rights and venue fees to pay in order to bring Renton these awesome opportunities to grow a stronger, more tolerant, active and inclusive community.

For more information on all of these events please visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/meaningfulmoviesofrenton/
or for other Meaningful Movie venues and events please visit the local Meaningful Movies Project website here: http://meaningfulmovies.org/

See you at the movies!


harvest_11X17Well, it’s time again for Sustainable Renton’s annual fundraising event. In years past, this event has been small and quaint with around 20 people showing up to support our efforts. While we appreciate everything everyone has done to support our little organization we are hoping for a bigger turn-out this year. We are planning to have live music, a petting zoo, garden demonstrations, guest speakers, a barter fair, tractor rides, a stone soup type potluck lunch, a silent auction and raffle items, but most importantly we will have community.
A tentative schedule will be as follows:
11 am arrival, stone soup making, set-up
12 pm potluck lunch (bring your own bowl, utensils and glass)
12:30-2 pm Tractor rides/petting zoo
1 pm Pinchot University Cooperatives speaker
1:30 pm Renton Food Co-Op speaker
2-3 pm Garden Demonstrations
3-4 pm Barter Fair
4-6 pm Live, local music
5 pm Silent Auction winners and raffle drawing
So come and meet new friends, say hello to some old ones and be a part of an amazing day.

WHEN: AUGUST 15th 2015 11-6 pm

WHERE: SUSTAINABLE RENTON COMMUNITY FARM 11840 148th AVE SE RENTON 98059 (behind Celebration Church)

See you at the Farm!


Meaningful Movies of Renton presents Consumerism and the Limits of Imagination

consumerism and the limits

Meaningful Movies Project at large has worked very hard the past couple of years to provide all of the local Meaningful Movie chapters with a collective website that lists every upcoming feature in the various neighborhoods. Not only does it show you what movies are playing where and when it also provides all the resources any group or individual could need to start their very own Meaningful Movies venue in the own neighborhood or town. You can check out this awesome website at http://www.meaningfulmovies.org Rick and Diane Turner have put in countless hours to see that this venture succeeds and have done an outstanding job.
Meaningful Movies of Renton is one of many neighborhood venues and has been a small but fierce concern for more than two years showing radical and informative films that spark significant community discussion. Our hope is to be the drive for positive change in our fair city of Renton.
For the last six months we have been lucky enough to show our films at the lovely Luther’s Table conveniently located in the downtown neighborhood. Luther’s Table has undergone some management changes and the current management is not aware of our organization and the importance of our efforts yet. We will be showing this month’s film, Consumerism and the Limits of Imagination, on Tuesday June 30th starting at 7 p.m. The film, as always, will be followed by a community discussion and local resources will be made available for those interested in taking further action to become part of the solution in Renton.
It would be greatly appreciated if we were to have a sizable turnout for this event so that we can show the new management that we are worthy of keeping around and that the community of Renton truly does want to engage and make a difference.
To find out more about the film and to watch the trailer you can go here: http://meaningfulmovies.org/events/consumerism-and-the-limits-of-the-imagination/
To get directions or find out more about Luther’s Table go here: http://www.lutherstable.org/
To find out more about Sustainable Renton you can go here: http://www.sustainablerenton.wordpress.com and be sure to like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SustainableRenton

Farm Stand Help Wanted

Mmm...fresh produce.
Mmm…fresh produce.

Sustainable Renton Community Farm has 800 square feet of garden space dedicated to a Farm Stand. This Farm Stand will be set up in a “to be determined” spot once a week and offer organically grown produce on a pay-what-you-can pricing scale. We will have a suggested donation price, if the consumer cannot afford to pay that price; they pay what they can afford. This is Sustainable Renton’s way to get organically grown produce to those people that would otherwise not be able to afford it. We believe in food justice.
However, at this time we have only a few volunteers to help with this effort. It is impossible to keep this initiative going without more help. Therefore, if you are interested in tending to the garden with weeding and watering, or if you are able to harvest the food on the day of operation or if you are able to man the booth for two hours when the stand opens up please let us know and we will be happy to put you to work. Let it be clear that this is a labor of love at this point and not monetarily compensated, however, the potential to be paid in fresh produce is very high.
Also, if you have an idea for any good locations to operate the stand please let us know. We will have enough food to begin this effort in approximately one month.
To contribute your time or if you have any ideas for location please contact Lara Randolph at larar35@comcast.net

What Renton needs is more martyrs


What Renton needs are more martyrs. By martyrs I do not mean people who feel sorry for themselves, obviously that is not what the world needs. By martyrs I mean people who are willing to make sacrifices for something they believe in. Yes, we often think of the infamous religious martyrs, but I am speaking of the martyrs who give their energy and time for something they believe in. Not just their own reflections, but a larger cause-a purpose or principle that enriches a larger body of people such as a community or a city. Let’s raise our eyes a little higher than our own homes. There are thousands of people in need right here in Renton. There are people that need food and shelter, people that need mental health services, people who are dying of alcoholism and drug addiction, people suffering from discrimination and prejudice, all sorts of social injustice right here in Renton.
There are numerous organizations that are working towards reducing or eliminating these problems such as CryOut!, REACH, Vision House, Center of Hope, YWCA, Friends of Youth, Emergency Feeding Program, The Salvation Army, Sustainable Renton and many more. These organizations are located in Renton working towards solutions to problems right here in Renton.
Working on behalf of an organization that wants to do some good in the community has definite benefits. However, it can get tiresome. The constant asking for help with a small return gets exhausting. It certainly isn’t something one does for fame or fortune, however, science supports the benefits of service work. It gets you out of yourself and thinking about your own problems and focuses your thoughts on helping someone else. The shift of perception can be life altering and perhaps life saving for both the giver and the recipient.
What cause motivates you? There are so many pressing social and environmental issues, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find one that resonates with you and dedicate just an hour a week towards being a solution to that problem.
These organizations are always looking for volunteers or martyrs-people who are willing to sacrifice some time and energy for a greater good.
If food justice is something that resonates with you, one simple thing you can do this week is attend the work party to build a giving garden at Sustainable Renton office located in the Highlands at 1067 Harrington Ave NE Renton 98056. We will be building and planting the garden from 4-7 pm complete with a potluck dinner. Come and get your hands dirty for the good of the neighborhood.

Something new is buzzing at Sustainable Renton

Sustainable Renton was recently connected with local beekeeper, Gene GreccoStoliesSimile’, who was looking for a place to keep his hive. We jumped at the opportunity to have him keep a hive at our new office location in the Renton Highlands, thanks to the Renton Housing Authority. Our new office space comes with a nice yard that we are currently working on turning into a giving garden for the neighborhood.
We got a chance to ask Gene a few questions and his answers follow:
1. How long have you been beekeeping?
Answer: I believe 7 1/2 years; Bellevue 1 year 1998, Everett 4 years1999-2002, and Renton 2 years 2010-11.

2. How long have you been a Renton resident?
Answer: Seven Years

3. What about beekeeping do you love the most?

Answer: There is not one simple answer for my complete fascination with honey bees. I personally like the fact that the honey bees are consider important archetypes symbols for self-reliance and personal industry. My involvement in beekeeping was a gradual thing.
My introduction to real beekeeping took place in the spring of 1976. I was a senior year of high school. For speech class, my final speech project was a presentation on Beekeeping.
I had gotten the idea from a conversation I had with a local I knew more personally because they were members of a local Mormon church I attended. I interviewed him and other local beekeepers who kept bees as a hobby or commercially. By interviewing both type of beekeepers I got perspective about what beekeeping was all about. My speech was held outside.
I demonstrated, “How to’s” like “smoke” the bees. Even though the hive equipment I brought for the presentation had no live insect, I wanted to impart a feeling of authenticity and show by example what was involved in lighting up the smoker and then demonstrating it use. It made the speech more interesting. That was

I had gotten stung a number of times while researching my speech and my interest to keep bees then waned till 1998. I was living in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area with my family . While exploring a property, I came across abandoned bee equipment. I contacted the realtor who in turned contacted the owner because I wanted to know if I could have the equipment. I was living on two acres of land, with a well and septic system and my desire for self sufficiency was enlarged by my nostalgic notion of becoming a beekeeper. The bee stings of the years before, resulting from my speech research had faded long ago. I was older and more mature and in North Carolina beekeepers, are more highly regarded.

4. What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Answer: Several things:
     A. Joy; a little bit of happiness.
     B. To see an old apiary inspiration of mine {Which I called the “The Renton Beekeeping Experience Project”}, 2010, be resurrected
     C. If my health permits, maybe I do some presentations on beekeeping.
D. Honey and wax
5. What is your hope for the community with this experience?
Answer: That is kind of still to be explored as a topic. I think it would be cool if my apiary could become a  formal learning lab for the citizens of Renton. If there is a need and I can help, I would be happy to do what I can  community.
6. Also, are you interested in teaching a beekeeping workshop for Sustainable Renton?
Answer: Yes! I think I need to learn more about what Sustainable Renton is all about first.

6a. Have you done something like this before?
Answer: Yes. I was I was a member of the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association for 5 years.

                -President for one year
                -Trustee three years.
                -Apiary manager for about 8 month
We are delighted to have Gene join forces with us. Our office is located at 1067 Harrington Ave NE Renton, 98056 Feel free to stop by and gander at the giving garden progress as well as the newly established beehive.

So you say you want a Hugelkultur?


On April 25th, Laura Sweany from Always Growing Design will be conducting a workshop discussing the details of ‘How to Plant a P-Patch Using Permaculture Design’ . One of the techniques employed will be Hugelkultur. This method of gardening comes from Germany originally and the word means hill culture or mound culture. It essentially means planting directly into a compost pile. What’s not to love about that idea?

If you would like to learn more about Hugelkultur you can go here:  http://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

If you would like to learn more about permaculture you can go here: http://permacultureprinciples.com/

This workshop will be held at Sustainable Renton Community Farm located behind Celebration Church at 11840 148th Ave. S.E. Renton, Wa 98059 from 4-6 p.m.

There is a $10 suggested donation for this workshop but no one will be turned away.

For more information on the workshop please go here: https://www.facebook.com/events/392843760900966/

Garden Planning with Urban Food Warrior Caitlin Moore

image4On February 19th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sustainable Renton will be hosting a garden planning workshop with Caitlin Moore, also known as The Urban Food Warrior. This workshop will give you practical advice on how to yield the most produce that you can using the space you have available. Caitlin is extremely knowledgeable and gives a wonderful workshop.

This workshop has a suggested fee of $25.00 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

This workshop will be held at the Sustainable Renton Office at 970 Harrington Ave. N.E. Renton 98056

Beverages and light refreshments provided.