Welcome to Transition!

Help us build a vibrant and resilient society for people and the planet.

Coming up:

Friday August 25 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope. Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm. 7:30-9:30pm  UUCPA, 505 E Charleston, Palo Alto. Scroll down for details.
Tuesdays – Permaculture Cafe, 6:30-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Mountain View.
Fridays – Transition Cafe, 6:10-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Mountain View. Every Friday, except Fourth Friday. More about the cafe
2nd Saturday each month Palo Alto Garden Share, 1:30-2:30pm, Common Ground Demonstration Garden.
Sunday August 26 Sunnyvale Garden Share, 11-12noon 776 Henderson, Sunnyvale. Make sure to check the location each month!

To get involved, check out these links: How to get involved! and What you can do about climate change. And sign up for our spam-free mailing list for information about important activities and events. And want to get in touch? Send a message to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.

mailing list Meetup Group/Facebook group

Sharing the Garden: Quality over Quantity

Five people met under an oak tree in the beautiful Common Ground Garden on a perfect summer Northern California afternoon.

 

Caryn brought concord grapes.  They came with a story:  she has to watch for ripeness and pick them the day before they reach perfection.  Otherwise, a mother raccoon and her babies have a feast – and make a mess.  We could see why the raccoons would be excited – the grapes were perfect.


Ellen brought jujubes, which came with a story too.  Ellen was visiting LA, where she walked around the neighborhood for a little relaxation.  She encountered a jujube tree, overloaded with fruit.  She picked one that was hanging over the sidewalk and found it delicious.  She wanted more, but wanted to talk to the homeowner first.  Passing by the next day, she saw the homeowner in the yard, worrying over the downed jujube tree, which had fallen overnight!  She stopped to chat, and of course got permission to harvest as many as she wanted.

 

Herb showed us the unpainted signs for the upcoming Phoenix Garden workday on August 19.  The signs are already works of art.  When volunteers have painted them they will become masterpieces.

 

Peter had Christmas Lima Beans, leftover from his trip to Slow Food Nations in Denver.  He encouraged the others to keep them until spring, then plant them widely.  The beans are on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, which raises awareness for rare and heirloom varieties.  Let’s make this one a little bit less rare.

 

Which got William reflecting on beans,and peas and other legumes.  After which he finally wondered if any of them were perennials, something about which he had a vague memory.  None of us knew, not that it mattered.

 

If you know, or want to know, about perennial beans join us for the next Garden Share.  William has promised to look up perennial beans for us – he’ll Share what he learns when next we convene under the oak in the Garden.  See you then.

 

garden-share

 

 

Foodshed Forum with John Jeavons – “Food for the Future: Now”

Saturday, August 26, 6:30 to 8:30 PM,
Los Altos Library, 13 South San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA 94022 [Map]
Free, RSVP Required

In the not too distant past, people in many cultures were growing all of their food and spending less than an hour per day to do it. In this presentation, John Jeavons will present a path towards creating a sustainable food system, and why it is essential that we follow it, now. In short, he will discuss how we can grow each person’s food on 1% of the area used by conventional farming, while building soil and saving water. Moving our society toward sustainable food production is becoming ever more pressing and Jeavons will discuss how resilient communities can be built around localized food systems.

John Jeavons is the Executive Director of Ecology Action, headquartered in Willits, California. He is known internationally as the author of the best-selling book“How to Grow More Vegetables—and Fruits, Nuts, Berries and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible With Less Water Than You Can Imagine”, as well as author, co-author and/or editor of over 40 publications on the topic of biologically intensive food- and soil- growing. For the past 45 years Jeavons has devoted his time to research, develop and teach a small-scale, resource-conserving agricultural method — GROW BIOINTENSIVE®. This high-yield food raising approach is being successfully practiced in over 150 countries—in virtually all climates and soils where food is grown, and by organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Peace Corps.

john jeavons

The Foodshed Forum is a partnership of Slow Food South Bay, Transition Palo Alto and the San Mateo County Food System Alliance, bringing together the community for talks on important food system topics in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Aug Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm

The TPAers who participated in this year’s nectarine harvest already had the great pleasure of meeting the Masumoto family. For everyone else, you’re in for a treat!

“How many harvests do you have in you?” is the perennial echo that reverberates across the Masumoto Family farm. Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm chronicles a transitional year-in-the-life of famed farmer, slow food advocate, and sansei, David “Mas” Masumoto, and his compelling relationship with daughter Nikiko, who returns to the family farm with the intention of stepping into her father’s work boots. Mas’ hopes and hesitations for the future are shored up with his daughter’s return, as the family must navigate the implications of Mas’ 60th birthday and triple bypass surgery. The film is interspliced with moments of Nikiko’s razor sharp meditations on her family’s internment during WWII and her role as a queer, progressive farmer in the Central Valley. See the trailer…

Friday August 25, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE (donations appreciated)

Sponsored by Transition Palo Alto and Slow Food South Bay

masumoto family

It was a Super Sweet Summer Share Faire

On Saturday, Transition Palo Alto held its first ever Share Faire at Common Ground Garden and what a great place it was to have a Share Faire!  With plenty of space to spread out, that’s just what we did around the beautiful garden space.

Our neighbors shared lots of skills.  Diane Ruddle taught us how to make white kimchi.  Hillie Salo showed us how to save tomato seeds.  William Mutch demonstrated the fine art of sharpening blades.  Wendy Breu showed us how to make fine crafts out of paper.  Hamsa Ramajayan had a gaggle of kids to show how to make fairy gardens.  And our host, Paul Higgins, demonstrated watering techniques AND showed us how to thresh, winnow and mill – using a bicycle-powered mill assembled by the girl scouts! – wheat grown in the garden.

There were, of course, lots of things to share:  books, clothes, household goods, garden goods and produce and much more.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped set-up, operate and clean-up the Share Faire.  We can’t do this without a community.

We’ll look forward to returning to the wonderful Common Ground Garden for another Share Faire soon.

 

SummerShare-Faire-milling

Farewell gathering at Full Circle Farm

Garden share enthusiasts and participants in the South Bay Bioregional Hub came to Full Circle Farm for a last garden share and gathering July 23.

The garden shares will be continuing, and organizers will be on the lookout for a new public venue.  Meanwhile, the plan is for participants to take turns hosting in their driveways.  We’ll share info about where the garden share is each month.

Nectarines!

A bunch of TPAers adopted nectarine trees at the Masumoto Family Farm this year. The farm is a multi-generational enterprise of the delightful and inspiring Masumoto family. The farm specializes in peaches and nectaries, which Nikiko Masumoto calls the ‘anti-convenience fruit’ because they require lots of attention and care to produce the fragrant and juicy fruit loved by so many.

The first crew harvested on July 22, and a fine time was had by all. The next crew is due to finish clearing our three trees on July 29th.

There will be lots of fruit, and when that happens, it’s time for a skillshare!  Whether or not you participated in the harvesting, you’re invited to a skillshare on July 30 in Sunnyvale. Join in as we prepare and preserve much of the fruit, and then enjoy a potluck dinner. Send email to barbaraweinstein2@gmail.com to RSVP and for the skillshare location and other details.

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Local Garden Share at Full Circle Farm – A Retrospective

Change happens.  In the nearly 7 years since the first Local Garden Share kicked off in Palo Alto, Garden Shares have come and gone, grown and shrunk, and changed times and locations.  They spawned Transition Palo Alto’s Share Faire, which has had its share of change over the years.  We are glad to say that the concept of Sharing remains strong in Palo Alto and the South Bay.

The Local Garden Share at Full Circle Farm, under the guidance of long-time Transitionista Victoria Armigo, has been a particularly stable presence in Sunnyvale.  Nearly every Fourth Sunday morning since 2011, Victoria and a group of gardeners have met at the small farmstand in the front of Full Circle Farm to share the produce of their gardens, nearly anything related to food, and themselves – they created community.  Alas, that will be coming to an end:  the last Local Garden Share at Full Circle Farm will take place on July 23 at 11:00 AM.

This bit of sad news did not happen due to lack of interest.  As you may have heard, Full Circle Farm will be closing at the end of July.  The Santa Clara Unified School District has chosen not to renew its contract with the farm, which will be leaving the property as soon as Summer Camp winds up in early August.  (SCUSD has indicated that they will manage the property as some kind of publicly-accessible urban agriculture.)

The Garden Sharers of Sunnyvale are still contemplating the future of Local Garden Shares in their area.  They are thinking of rotating the Share from home to home.  It is also possible that the Share will find a new permanent home somewhere in the neighborhood.  Stay tuned to Transition Palo Alto for developments on this.  And if you’d like to help, or simply want to visit Full Circle Farm one last time, please come on out to the Farm at 11:00 AM on July 23 – bring the produce of your garden, bring anything related to food or gardening, but most importantly bring yourself and build community.

Living in PA

I’ve lived in Palo Alto for 10 years now, the Bay Area for 18. Admittedly, this is not a very long time compared to some, but it’s longer than many of my neighbors, and by at least a decade, the longest I have lived in one place in my 40 years.

Still, as a one-and-a-half-generation East Indian, raised in the deep South, former scientist, eco-passionate stay-at-home-mom, sometimes I feel I don’t fit in. Other moms take kids to a plethora of museums miles away, know which is the hot new date night restaurant, bike miles and miles, attend pilates, and make homemade brownies in the same week. Instead, my days are peppered with conscious, difficult choices that juggle responsibility and mediocrity – we are late for school, so should we drive, bike, or walk? Shall I pick up that piece of trash? That one? That one? Can we let the dryer run – just this once? And those fruits – pick, let rot, or leave to wildlife? Pick up another orphaned mug I don’t really need, or leave it to fill a potential landfill? Let the kids wander while I cook, or play with them, watch them, and let dinner burn? Do they like to do yoga with me, or it is just an excuse for screen time?

These are the questions I ponder while I make that second batch of yogurt after the first failed (spent too long playing cards with my daughter), or pick apart moldy raspberries with my hands to save for freezer jam. There is joy in this – the not-knowing which way is right, exploring what works for us, fumbling our way to sustainability.

In my heart, I know it’s not enough, not nearly, not fast enough for what is coming, but this is the slow world of my choice, the one that lingers in vision. I wonder if others could see that being really intentionally in this world is a process that evolves even for the passionate, may they, too, might try. Maybe we can support each other as we dabble in the new, and take tiny steps towards giant leaps. All while the kids are watching.