PENN STATE EXTENSION, FOOD POLICY COUNCIL AND THE PITTSBURGH GARDEN EXPERIMENT
Sustainable Agriculture Fellow:
Penn State Cooperative Extension
• Attended tour of value added food businesses in Pittsburgh for planning of National Value Added Conference to be held in Pittsburgh in 2011.
• Attended final session of Exploring the Small Farm Dream
• Wrote first of weekly blog posts for yumpittsburgh entitled, This Week at the Farmers Market.
• Visited Farmers at Phipps and the East Liberty Farmers Market to meet with farmers and help promote their products through the yumpittsburgh blog
• Met with Reva Gorelick from Plant to Plate and was interviewed about school gardening initiatives and sustainable food systems work
• Met with Heather to discuss me co-teaching ESFD course in the fall
• Attended meeting with members of PSU, Grow Pittsburgh, Food Studies program at Chatham, Women’s Small Business Development Center and PASA to discuss Local Foods Showcase
Food Policy Council
• I took the minutes for the Food Policy Council meeting and sent them out to the attendees
• I conveyed messaged from Danae Clark, the current chair, to the group in her absence
• I met with Heather Mikulas to discuss the current transition time of the Food Policy Council
• June 9th participated in the set-up of screening of Food, Inc. at Homewood Public Library
• Final Planning meeting for Food, Inc. event
• I sent out an email to the new FPC mailing list created after the 5% day at the East End Food Co-op. I also invited people on the mailing list to join our Google group
• Filled out survey about next steps for the FPC
Pittsburgh Garden Experiment
• Discussed strategic plan with Jeff for next year
• Drafted grant proposal information for PGE
• Thursday, June 10th I attended the school festival for Colfax Elementary to promote PGE
• Brainstormed ideas for future events and ways to give help people feel more connected to PGE
• Water Matters Conference for UN World Environment Day– June 3rd – collected resources and learned about various water issues from organizations and booths. Heard speakers on topics related to water resource and energy issues.
• Visited Food Share in Toronto, Canada on the day of their Annual General Meeting. Helped volunteer in garden and learned about their programs through lunch and a tour of the facility
• Met with Lori Gaido and my site supervisors to evaluate the progress of the fellowship
• Put together a powerpoint and a short oral presentation for the Americorps representative who visited the SCA office on June 23rd. I also participated in a short interview with the representative.
• I created a lesson about the food system for two groups of Heinz Youth in Philanthropy Interns. I met them at the Larimer Community garden, where they participated in weeding, seeding, transplanting and cutting herbs. We did an activity to learn about the global food distribution system that led into a discussion of a more regional and local food distribution model.
• Contacted members of Hazelwood Urban Gardens and the YMCA to discuss moving forward on the Community Service Day in Hazelwood.
EAST LIBERTY DEVELOPMENT, INC.
Sustainable Community Fellow
Loralyn's biggest projects this month:
ELDI: While continuing to work alongside many partners, she finished up her rain garden designs, the construction documents, ordered materials, budgeted, re-recruited many volunteers, planned the event day, and many other tasks that allowed the gardens to get into the ground on June 12th and 13th! A few extra steps are still needed to completely finish the gardens, and these will occur in July.
ELDI: Car Free Fridays are events to promote alternative modes of public transportation, and East Liberty’s event on June 18th had many partners on it. In June, Loralyn finished planning the CFF bike tour, walking tour, promoted CFF, and completed many other tasks in order to allow the event day to be successful and run smoothly. On June 18th, Loralyn tabled outside Whole Foods for the event, alongside the Port Authority, Trek Bikes, the City’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, and Zip Car. The bike tour was held that evening.
SCA: Her main project through her SCA placement in June was planning the Green Cities Corps Pittsburgh Blues Festival event. In order to create a more sustainable Festival, and demonstrate the sustainable initiatives that are happening throughout the Pittsburgh region, Loralyn worked to help get organizations, agencies, and green businesses on board to table, developed a means to recruit volunteers, and generally kept her team on track with duties (among her other tasks for the project). The Festival will be occurring in July: 23rd, 24th, 25th.
Sustainable Business Fellow
During the first week in June Jake had the opportunity to attend many of the World Environment Day Events including the Water Matters Conference and the Paddle at the Point World Record setting. He was able to volunteer and participate in both of these events. He also attended the New Pittsburgh Collaborative water conference debrief and a Smart Transportation event.
Throughout June Jake has been focusing on two key projects: the Green Office Challenge and the Transportation Transformation. The Green Office Challenge will engage the region’s business community in a fair and friendly competition that promotes sustainable business practices. The competition will provide a guide of measurable actions for businesses and property owners to implement, and therefore result in measurable change.
The Transportation Transformation is based around an article in the National Geographic Magazine that looked at Pittsburgh’s commuting data and the massive impact small changes in our habits could make. This event will try to realize the goals set forth in the article and promote using alternative modes of transportation. Jake has worked to structure and present both of these projects on behalf of Sustainable Pittsburgh and the PCI. A key focus in July will be securing funding for these projects.
Outside of Sustainable Pittsburgh Jake has been working with the other Green Cities fellows to prepare for their Community Day in Hazelwood. He attended a Hazelwood Initiative meeting where he Miriam and Adam asked the community what they would like to see happen on the day of the event. He has also continued to spend time working with the Hazelwood Food Forest planting shrubs and pulling weeds. He will be spending time in July working with the Food Forest to plan for the Community Day happenings.
Corridor clearing 10,560 ft
Retread 1050 ft
Check steps 18
Blow down Trees removed 60
Drainage dips installed 78
Bern removal 450 ft
Garbage removal (campsite) 48 lbs
We ha another fantastic week in the Joyce Kilmer/Slick rock Wilderness! The focus of this hitch was Stratton Bald trail. This beautiful trail is located on the western edge of the wilderness. The trail mostly follows a ridge line from Rattler Ford campground at 2000 ft 61/2 miles to Bob Bald at 5341ft. The forest is diverse along the way ranging from old growth popular stands, to Hemlock forests, and Rhododendron thickets. There are many blueberry bushes along the way to which we stop for an occasional berry here and there. Of course we make sure there are plenty for the bears! We have noticed on the ground the presence of black bears getting plenty of black and blueberries!
The group faced the challenge of digging drainage on a 0% slope in many places. The water has nowhere to go but down most of this trail, so getting a slope in drainage is a ton of work. We installed 78 drainage dips in about ¾ of a mile of damaged trail. In that one section 18 more check steps were installed and we plan to do more! Since we have witnessed all kinds of trails we are really learning why trail science has come so far! This trail was not built like they teach us today and the repercussions of that are some extreme maintaince issues due to heavy erosion.
The lower half of the trail does not have the same problems. It was well designed and is benched into a side hill. There were sections that we needed to rebench, but the trail was in overall good shape. We are also working on reestablishing the corridor on this section. The wilderness always tries to fill in a trail and we work hard to open it back up. Over 2 miles were trimmed back using loppers and the weed whip. Also 60 trees were removed from across the trail tread.
The group is all troopers about digging and lopping. Our trails have needed a bunch of work and everyone puts in their fullest each day. We had several heavy rains this week and everyone remains in good spirits. A wise man once told me “A rainy day on the trail is better than any day in an office”. I thought of this quote several times this week, and found myself smiling at the rain.
The Youth Action Crew is an initiative aimed at providing the youth of Connellsville, PA with opportunities to engage in community service projects. Additionally, it is aimed at providing them with the tools necessary to run a self-sufficient organization, plan events, fund-raise, and change culture through action. Currently, there are 7 core members with a number of other kids who regularly attend events.
The current focus is cleaning up a community park to restore it to it's once great setting by cleaning up trash, painting over graffiti, and planting.