Sittin’ by the side of the bay…Oct 12

Submitted by William Mutch and Rani Jayakumar:

Some of us will be doing a sunset sit at the Baylands, on Thursday, October 12th.  We’ll be gathering at the picnic tables by the Ranger Station, then finding a comfortable spot (but not too comfortable), to sit and admire the sunset.  We’ll meet at 5:45-6:30pm to chat and meet each other, with a formal silent sitting meditation from 6:30-7ish, and a more formal chat and maybe walk afterwards, thinking about meditation and how it fits into the work we do, as well as some observations from our sit, until the park closes around 7:30pm.  Bring layers, as temperatures vary widely, something comfortable to sit on (but not too comfortable), and a flashlight if you need it, but use it sparingly, to respect the darkness and the folks who depend on it. 

To get there, take Embarcadero Road out to the Baylands. Turn left at the T and head towards the Ranger Station and Interpretive Center.  Park across from the Interpretive Center, and walk back across the bridge to the Ranger Station. RSVPs are appreciated, so we know how many to expect.

See you then!
William and Rani




October Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Wasted!

Transition Palo Alto is pleased to join with Zero Waste Palo Alto for a special showing of WASTED! The Story of Food Waste.

WASTED! sheds a light on the pressing issue of food waste. Every year 80% of the world’s water, 40% of the world’s land, and 10% of the world’s energy is dedicated to growing the food we eat, yet each year 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out. That’s a third of all food grown around the world.

Produced by author and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, WASTED! explores the problem and offers solutions like reorienting consumer perspectives on the food  normally cast aside, and changes we can make to our food production chain to create a more sustainable food system.

Wasted 1

You’ll meet forward-thinking chefs and thought leaders like Dan Barber, Mario Batali, Danny Bowien, and Massimo Bottura, who offer creative, often mouth-watering solutions. Determined individuals and organizations are already influencing the future of food recovery and demonstrating how eating can empower people in the fight to solve one of the world’s most vexing dilemmas.

Friday October 27, 2017   7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto,
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
All ages welcome! FREE, donations enouraged

Sponsored by Transition Palo Alto, Green Sanctuary Committee of Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, and Zero Waste Palo Alto


A Visit to Valley Verde

TPAers and folks from the South Bay Bioregional Hub joined in for a work day and get-together at Valley Verde in San Jose on September 30.  Valley Verde helps low-income families in San Jose start organic gardening at their own homes. The organization provides training to participants, and those who complete the training get raised beds, soil, help with irrigation, and seedlings each year.

There were plenty of volunteers, so the preparation of beds happened quickly, and plenty of time was left for a Bioregional Hub meeting. The hub’s goal is to help leaders in sustainability and resilience around the bay area connect with one another to learn about what everyone is doing and bring projects closer together.

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More on Sept Fourth Friday – East of Salinas

Fourth Friday attendees got a heartwarming and heartbreaking introduction to the harsh live of migrant worker and their families in the Salinas Valley. The film featured Jose Ansaldo, a young son of migrant workers, who loves school (especially math) and dreams of being a teacher or engineer. Unfortunately, the economic realities for his family are harsh, with frequent moves and sometimes not enough to eat. And because Jose is undocumented, his prospects for building the kind of life he would like are not promising.  But Jose is encouraged and introduced to new experiences by his third grade teacher, Oscar Ramos, also the son of migrants to dedicates himself to making a difference in the lives of Jose and other children.

Some follow-up from our conversation after the film:

You can read more about Jose Ansaldo on his Facebook page. And here is 7-minute short video update on Jose filmed this year.

Thomas Atwood spoke about the work of Fools Mission, which builds friendships with the local Latino community and accompanies members of the community as they deal with the challenges of the ‘system.’ Check out Fools Mission here. As Thomas would say, more Fools are always welcome!

Natalie Elephant mentioned ‘10 Books a Home,’ a project she’s been involved with to help preschoolers from families like Jose’s to get a better start in school. Learn more:


Sept Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – East of Salinas

Please join us for a moving and timely film about a young undocumented migrant boy, the teacher who dedicates himself to making a difference in his and other students’ lives, and the enormous burden faced by undocumented children in this age of virulent anti-immigrant attitudes and policies.

East of Salinas takes us to the heart of California’s “Steinbeck Country,” the Salinas Valley, to meet a bright boy and his dedicated teacher — both sons of migrant farm workers. With parents who are busy working long hours in the fields, third grader Jose Ansaldo often turns to his teacher, Oscar Ramos, for guidance. But Jose is undocumented; he was born in Mexico. Like many other migrant children, he is beginning to understand the situation — and the opportunities that may be lost to him through no fault of his own. East of Salinas follows Jose and Oscar over three years: the boy is full of energy, smarts, and potential, while his teacher is determined to give back to a new generation of migrant children.

Many of the students that enter Oscar’s third grade class at Sherwood Elementary School in Salinas have never been to the beach, even though it’s only twenty miles away. Their parents work from sunup to sundown. They live in cramped apartments in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence. The kids take on the day- to-day stresses of their parents: making ends meet, dealing with acute health issues, fearing deportation. In the face of these challenges, Oscar gives his student’s access to a world that often seems beyond their reach.

Jose is one of Oscar’s most gifted students. Despite having moved between seven different schools in three years he still excels in math. But Oscar can only do so much. For Jose, a student with such promise, East of Salinas demonstrates the cruelty of circumstance — a cruelty that touches on the futures of millions of undocumented kids in America. See the trailer…

Friday September 22 25, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE (donations appreciated)

East of Salinas

Preparing the Halloween Costume Swap and Fall Share Faire

The Transition Palo Alto Sharing Committee is working on the Halloween Costume Swap and Fall Share Faire.  You should join one of these – there as much fun as the Share Faires themselves!

Do Save the Date:  October 8, from 1-3 PM, in rooms A-6 and A-7 at Cubberley Community Center.  Stay tuned for details.  We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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.





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