Fermentation is Good for Your Gut

fermented-veggies  On November 5th Sustainable Renton is excited to partner with Red House restaurant in downtown Renton to bring you a workshop on basic fermentation techniques.

Fermenting has been practiced for ages around the world as a way to preserve food, enhance flavor and add nutritional value. Fermented foods are literally alive with flavor and are very beneficial to one’s health. This workshop will be led by Sustainable Renton members Scott Kriedermacher and Rachel Rourke. Scott and Rachel are passionate about food justice especially concerning topics related to food preservation, gleaning, and homegrown produce.

This basic workshop will focus on two types of ferments. We will show how to make Kefir as well as a sauerkraut-type of vegetable ferment.

Vegetables are fermented using salt brine that gives them a delicious tart pickled flavor and dramatically enhances their shelf life. Brine protects against unfavorable microorganisms while creating an ideal environment for the beneficial bacteria strains that add wonderful flavor as well as to create a healthy environment for our gut and aid in our bodies in digestion.

Kefir is a fermented milk product somewhat like a drinkable yogurt. This delicious and nutritious drink uses grains that are colonies of yeast and numerous types of beneficial bacteria one of which being the lacto-bacilli culture many are familiar with. These kefir grains look like curds and are strained out after the fermentation occurs. They can then be added to new milk to start another batch of kefir or eaten like cheese curds. They are savory and delicious atop rice and curry as is the kefir itself delicious.

For those who are new to fermentation this is the perfect workshop to trip your taste buds. You will leave with enough knowledge, basic recipes, supplies and the confidence to experiment in your own kitchen. For only $5 per ferment you may take home your own starters that we will make together.

Please let us know if you are coming by going to our Facebook event page here https://www.facebook.com/events/152171158579977/  and click the ‘going’ button or drop an email to sustainablerenton@gmail.com before November 4th. We look forward to learning together and sharing this vital knowledge with you!

4th Annual Harvest Mayhem

stacked_4colorOn August 6th, 2016 marks the 4th Annual Harvest Mayhem. This event is Sustainable Renton’s Annual fundraiser. It has grown exponentially over the years and this year will prove the biggest event yet. We will be featuring an Art Market highlighting local artists with a variety of talents to showcase. We will be hosting a Barter Fair. You can bring canned goods, food, or homemade and handmade items-anything you want to share. We will feature local musicians throughout the day. Tractor rides will be available. Face Painting. We will feast on a Stone Soup luncheon. One vegetarian and one non-vegetarian soup will be prepared on the fire. Bring what you want to put in the pot and/or place on the table and bring your own utensils and dinnerware too. This event is FREE and open to the public.

There will be a silent auction and a raffle. All proceeds to help Sustainable Renton with its mission of fostering a healthier community and planet. The schedule is as follows:

The entire event will run from 11-4pm. The Barter Fair will be from 11-12pm The Art Market 11-4pm Stone Soup will be at 2 pm. Musicians will perform from 11-4pm.

This event is held at Sustainable Renton Community Farm located behind Celebration Church at 11840 148th Ave SE Renton, WA 98059

Harvest Mayhem cannot be sold, but we can be traded


I am excited to announce that next weekend Sustainable Renton will be holding it’s annual barter fair!! This is a way for community members to mingle and trade handmade and homegrown goods. This is my most favorite part of the Harvest Mayhem Festival because it is a wonderful opportunity to meet local artisans while offloading things I have made or harvested in abundance and get some fun free stuff as well! If you love free stuff like I do then you will LOVE the barter fair! Please come and share the bounty. Do not forget to tell all your friends because the more people that show up the better the barter opportunities will be!!
Some things I have gained in past barter events are kombucha scoby, plants, seeds, homegrown herbs, spices and teas and local art. Some things I have brought for trade are plants, soap, baked goods, and jewelry. Other ideas for bartering include anything you have made or built, extra harvest from your garden(edible or medicinal), things you have canned, ferments, pickles artwork or skills.
I can’t wait to see what people will bring! I will have plants and some other surprises to trade.
The Barter fair will be held from. 11-Noon during our Harvest Mayhem Festival which runs 11-4 August 6th. There will be lots of fun for the whole family including tractor rides, music, art market, stone soup and more! So come bring your friends and your goods to trade  and spend the afternoon at the farm.

This event will be at Sustainable Renton Community Farm located behind Celebration Church at 11840 148th Ave SE Renton, WA 98059

Calling All Artists

Sustainable Renton hosts an annual fundraiser every summer. This year we will be having our event on August 6th from 11-4. This event will be held at our community farm located behind Celebration Church at 11840 148th Ave S.E. Renton 98059.

We will have a lot going on that day with a Bartar Fair, Stone Soup meal, tractor rides, petting zoo, silent auction, garden demonstrations and local musicians. We are looking to expand our event this year by having an Art Market which features local artisans.

We would love to showcase local artisans who specialize in handmade or homemade items.

Booth fee will be $25. We also ask that you donate one item for our silent auction to help support artist imageSustainable Renton.

If you are interested in this event please contact sustainablerenton@gmail.com

Goumi-A fantastic plant for the Permaculture garden or mixed border! By Rachel Rourke

goumi berry2Elaeagnus Multiflora commonly known as Goumi, gumi, cherry elaeagnus, cherry silverberry and natsugumi is a beautiful and useful plant that deserves recognition. Goumi is a small to medium fairly dense shrub that is native to eastern Asia. It is deciduous to semi evergreen depending on the zone in which it is planted.

Why should I grow goumi, you ask? There are many great reasons  I will share with you here.
First off, goumi is a really beautiful plant with a lot going for it ornamentally. The silvery undersides of the leaves have a shimmery effect in the breeze. If you are a plant nerd like me then that would be reason alone to grow goumi but, behold there is a plethora of greatness this plant has to offer. The flowers are some of the first to bloom in my garden in April. They are pungent with an aroma reminiscent of lilac or Jasmine and are a great source of nectar attracting pollinators such as mason orchard bees. It also does a great job of providing food to wildlife such as birds as the unharvested fruit will remain on the bush well into winter.
This plant is easy to cultivate and grows well in a variety of conditions. It does best on sun but will tolerate partial shade. It even tolerates salt water making it an ideal choice for maritime conditions.
One of the best qualities this plant has to offer the gardener is it’s ability to pull nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil via it’s roots improving fertility making it a excellent choice in the Permaculture garden or food forest as a part of the shrub layer. The unique nitrogen fixing abilities this plant has allows it to send nitrogen into the soil making it readily available to nearby plants. Orchards that have used goumi to aid in adding nitrogen to the soil have reported a ten percent increase in fruit tree production!
Finally, a single plant will produce thousands of edible berries! The berries are round to oval, about one cm long, orange with silvery scales ripening to a dotted red. They are somewhat tart with a flavor that is a cross between a cranberry, rhubarb and and pomegranate. Each berry has a single seed that is edible but fibrous. Though tart, they can be eaten fresh when ripe. Under ripe fruit can be left for wildlife or can be picked and made into syrup that can be frozen and used along side pancakes or french toast or added to sparkling water to make a divine shrub beverage. It can also be used in baking pies or making fruit leather or in canned goods like preserves, jams, and jellies. The berries are high in fats, proteins and vitamins A and E.  Now that you know of the many benefits, I hope many of you will choose goumi for your gardens. To your fruitful harvesting!!

Rachel Rourke lives in the Skyway neighborhood located between south Seattle and Renton with her husband, daughter, dogs and chickens. She and her husband provide eco-friendly garden design, maintenance and consulting. Rachel can be reached at myhealingart@gmail.com or by phone (206)554-1619

Sustainable Renton is Growing-literally

018   A few months back, Rhoda Green, an Earlington Hill resident, contacted Sustainable Renton to see if we might be interested in collaborating with her to make another community garden spot in our city.

This location is under the power lines adjacent to City View Church at 200 SW Langston Rd, Renton, WA 98057.  This land is allocated as plot #27 on a Duwamish Tribal map and is named ‘Spah-bah-DEED’ – ‘Little Mountain’.  Seattle City Light (SCL) also has a right of way as the utility in charge of the overhead power lines. Rhoda has made contact with the tribe and they have consented to giving their blessing for us to use this land. SCL also loved the idea of letting us use this land for something other than open space, they had already been working with Rhoda who states, “We started our project near the foot of the mountain in 2007 by putting together a joint agreement with property owners. We received a Renton City [Neighborhood] Grant allowing us to landscape the area with drought tolerant, low maintenance native plants and install a ‘Welcome to Earlington Hill Neighborhood’ sign.”  Rhoda, with the help of SCL and volunteers has been able to create a beautifully restored space using native plants such as Vine Maple, Twinberry, Serviceberry, NW Iris, Camas, Mock Orange, Sumac, Salal, Willow, Evergreen Huckleberry, Mountain Strawberries, Redtwig Dogwood, Flowering Current and Sword Ferns. Rhoda states, “That creates a lovely scene to accommodate the entrance to the Earlington Hill neighborhood [via Langston Road].”

As an extension of the hard work Rhoda et al. have put into this space, Sustainable Renton has agreed to act as the umbrella non-profit that will oversee the garden. SR will be offering our expertise and labor to help make this garden a reality. Not only does using this land for our community help our city, it helps the utility company with not having to maintain the space.

A lot of land located under power lines is available for lease if it is not being used already. There is a simple permit process to make sure that the land will not be used for the purpose of profit and that the organization or individual presenting the project has an idea of what they are doing. Standing at our proposed garden spot, facing North, there is 25 miles of power line land that is potentially available for use. Some patches are being utilized already along this corridor; however, this land is largely underutilized. It would be ideal land for urban agricultural movements to take advantage of.

One of our concerns is the power lines being so close and the possible risk factors involved. There are a lot of studies that have been conducted concerning growing food under power lines. So far, the evidence has been inconclusive. Because the food is not there for an extended period time the effects of the EMF’s (electro-magnetic field) is nil. There is some proof of EMF’s affecting trees that grow tall enough to come in proximity of the wires, but this is not the case for low growing food crops.

Sustainable Renton will be installing garden beds available for community use, and a food forest for folks to forage from. The remaining food will be used for our Farm Stand. These projects will help meet Sustainable Renton’s goal of providing local organically grown produce to multiple communities at reasonable rates.

There will be a ceremony honoring this land and our purposes on May 2nd at 11 a.m. All are welcome.

Sustainable Renton is thrilled to be expanding our reach to help our city and is looking forward to a fruitful and prosperous venture with the The Little Mountain Garden and Earlington Hill Neighborhood.

For more information on this project or to find out how you can get involved please contact sustainablerenton@gmail.com or the garden site manager Rhoda Green at 425-652-7699.




Meaningful Movies of Renton


If you have attended one or more of our showings, you have experienced the awesomeness that is Meaningful Movies of Renton. We at Sustainable Renton, believe in critical thinking and building community via film and discussion. We aim to educate and inspire folks to live more sustainably and consciously. If you, or anyone you know, are interested in sponsoring this event in any way, we could use your support. We currently hold our events at Carco Theater. We love this venue and want to remain there. It costs us more than we currently are able to pay. However, if just a few folks stepped up and decided it was important enough to support, we could keep our venue and keep hosting this amazing event once a month. If you are able to help, please visit our website www.sustainablerenton.org and make your tax-deductible donation today. You can specify in a note that the funds are to be allocated to support Meaningful Movies of Renton. Thank you in advance.

Meaningful Movies of Renton is asking


Sustainable Renton is a small 501c3 organization that has a project called Meaningful Movies of Renton. This is a monthly event that is FREE and open to the public. We show documentary films on topics that pertain to various aspects of sustainability such as water pollution, organic farming, fossil fuel dependency, plastic waste, food waste, consumerism, etc. We are also a part of a larger movement called the Meaningful Movies Project. There are multiple locations throughout the Puget Sound area. For more info on films outside of Renton visit here www.meaningfulmovies.org

Our current venue is at Carco Theater located just outside of the downtown Renton area. This is a beautiful theater that has served Renton for over 40 years. It is easily accessible by foot or bus and is an ideal setting for our events.

We have collaborated with other organizations such as The City of Renton, The Sierra Club, Puget Sound Beekeepers Association, 350.org, People for Puget Sound and many more to bring knowledgeable and competent panels for intelligent discussions.

We are currently seeking sponsorship for this project. The theater itself is a small non-profit that cannot afford to donate their space and/or time to us so we are in need of financial support from our community. This support will make it possible to continue our efforts of bringing an educational and community oriented events to Renton. This event brings like-minded folks together and encourages citizens to take action for a better future for our city.

If you are interested in sponsoring this project there are a number of levels to choose from.

Level I-one time donation of any amount

Level II-donation of any amount for 3 consecutive months

Level III-donation of any amount for 6 consecutive months Your company, business or organization’s name or logo will be added to our website, on any promotional materials and be featured on our pre screening slide show that is displayed prior to each film.

You can mail your donation directly to

Sustainable Renton

c/o Lara Randolph

1427 Queen Ave NE Renton, Wa 98056

Attn. Meaningful Movies

You can donate on our website www.sustainablerenton.org using the secure PayPal button. Simply indicate that the funds are designated for our Meaningful Movies Project and they will be directed to that purpose.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at sustainablerenton@gmail.com




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.