Transition Albany Albany, CA Sun, 18 Jan 2015 19:37:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Edible Landscape Project Work Party: Fun with Fruit Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 Read more ›]]> Project Pickle 2014Join in a day dedicated to enhancing fruit production in our food forest.  We will plant and transplant several apple and pear trees into their new homes as espaliered trees.  We will put in new berry plants.

Meet up at the Eastside Garden near the picnic area and Snack Shack on Carmel Avenue between Portland and Thousand Oaks.  Set up starts at 10:30.

Bring for gardening: (any that you have; we will have some for sharing): gloves, hand tools (e.g., trowel, clippers, weeders), bottle of water or what have you for staying hydrated

Bring for the potluck: your own plate/bowl, utensils, and napkin and some food to share

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DANCING WITH THOREAU Sun, 04 Jan 2015 14:00:00 +0000 Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 12.33.12 PM




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Diverse Housing in Albany? Events coming up Mon, 17 Nov 2014 04:06:24 +0000 ]]> DHWG pic

Diverse Housing in Albany?

By Catherine Sutton and Alexa Hauser

Albany is required to plan for more housing of every kind, but especially for people with very low income.  As founding members of the community-based Diverse Housing Working Group, the two of us bring our Transition Town perspective to helping to establish housing policies for the next eight years.  We invite you to join in, expressing what you would like to see and helping to bring into existence housing in Albany for those most in need of a safe and comfortable place to live.

The Diverse Housing Working Group (DHWG) is made up of individual Albany residents and representatives of various community organizations, including the Albany Chamber of Commerce, Albany Neighbors Helping Neighbors, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, the Solano Avenue Association, Solano Community Church, Sycamore Congregational Church, Temple Beth El, and Transition Albany.  Because DHWG members believe that a strong community includes people from all walks of life and income levels, we come together to advocate for inclusion and implementation of policies and actions to support diversity of housing resources—including housing for people with low, very low, and no income—in the 2015-2023 Housing Element.

By January 31, the City must adopt a new Housing Element, so the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are in the final stages of considering the content of this part of the General Plan.  The draft Housing Element has been forwarded to California’s Housing and Community Development Department for feedback, and DHWG is sponsoring a series of community forums to inform and collect input from interested members of the public. You’ll find the draft Housing Eleement as it currently stands at this link:

The first forum, held at the end of October, focused on housing production.  After providing input on density issues such as the impact of increased height and traffic and the features of senior housing and housing for persons with disabilities we would like to see, we learned about mechanisms for funding housing for low income residents, such as tax credits, in lieu fees for developers, density bonuses, use of special funds from the State for housing, and land trusts.  We also considered how zoning creates constraints or facilitates development.  We learned about how nexus studies can be used to demonstrate the need for housing that is affordable to those with low incomes.

Additional issues raised by participants included attending to parking and traffic impacts and ways to meet transportation needs of people without cars; the need for establishing zoning changes within the next year; rapid, cost effective ways to provide desirable low cost housing; leverage relatively small amounts of public money to facilitate non-profit development of low cost housing; additional incentives for non-profit developers, and establishing a network to connect people with excess housing and specific needs to those without housing with skills to meet those needs.

Upcoming forums will address special needs housing (November 18), elimination of housing constraints and housing conservation (December 2), and fair housing (December 16). (We had to submit our last comments by December 10). All forums will be held 7:00-9:00 PM in the Parish Hall of St. Alban’s Church 1501 Washington Avenue, corner of Curtis.  The Parish Hall is on the second floor; there is an elevator.

Plans for the Special Needs Housing Forum include exploration of four overlapping populations—seniors, people living with disabilities, people with extremely low incomes, and people experiencing homelessness—and guest Elaine de Coligny, Executive Director of Everyone Home, who has a unique perspective on the most effective ways to help people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their homes. You can watch a 15-minute video of Elaine presenting about the efficacy (or not) of emergency shelters to the League of Women Voters here.

Please come out to any and all of these events and help shape Albany’s future with us centered on the Permaculture ethics of Earth care, people care, and fair share.  If you want to be added to the DHWG email group to receive information and updates about public events and/or DHWG meetings, write to


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COMMUNITY DIALOG ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR SPECIAL NEEDS POPULATIONS Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:00:00 +0000 ]]> Elaine de Coligny, Executive Director of Everyone Home, has a unique perspective on the most effective ways to help people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their homes. She will be present to take part in the conversation.
As the City and Planning and Zoning Commission work on final details of Albany’s next Housing Element (official housing plan) for 2015-2023, DHWG is bringing together concerned community members to support the policies and programs in the housing element will be able to meet the needs of such special needs populations. We will also be talking about meeting the needs of seniors and those living with disabilities.
You can watch a 15-minute video of Elaine presenting about the efficacy (or not) of emergency shelters to the league of Women Voters here.

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Community Meeting on Reducing Albany’s Carbon Footprint Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:00:00 +0000 ]]> Thursday November 20   7 – 9 pm
Albany’s Sustainability Committee invites you to this evening with other engaged citizens and active Albany organizations, with the goal of forming joint community campaigns promoting energy conservation and carbon reduction,  so that we can reduce Albany’s carbon footprint, toward a long range goal of carbon neutrality by at least 2050.

Transition Albany will be there to introduce the possibility of a Transition Streets program in Albany and would appreciate a good showing of support.–
Please RSVP to Claire Griffing at:

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  • Is a collaborative partnership between several local community groups and UC Berkeley (location and hours on the back)
  • Is an urban farm where you can come and harvest food for yourself and your family in exchange for help with weeding, planting, and watering
  • aims to supply fresh organic food to anyone who lacks access to it in our East Bay communities
  • Is one of the increasing number of urban agriculture and alternative sustainable food systems worldwide that exist to develop innovative local solutions to social, environmental and economic injustices.
  • Is such fun to visit – an oasis of growing things in an urban jungle…

Community members are working with representatives of UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources to create a stewardship council that will jointly govern the land, as we learn about, research, and address food needs in the East Bay region and beyond. You are welcome to get involved at any level.

Go to if you’re interested in joining a working group or the governance council, or simply come and join us during our open hours (see below).

Contact email:

THE GILL TRACT COMMUNITY FARM is located on the corner of Marin and San Pablo Avenues in Albany.

Enter on San Pablo Avenue or Jackson Street


Sunday                   10:00 am  –  4:00 pm (one-hour farm meeting at noon)

Monday                  10:00 am  –  2:00 pm

Tuesday                  1:00 pm  –    5:00 pm

Wednesday           10:00 am  –  2:00 pm

Thursday                1:00 pm   –  5:00 pm



Come by San Pablo Avenue just south of Marin Ave at the farm gate

Produce available for whatever you can afford, or free!

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POTLUCK WITH PURPOSE Mon, 10 Nov 2014 18:26:50 +0000 ]]> soup-clipart-webWe are giving the Potlucks with Purpose a rest for the moment. Attendance has been down for whatever reason and the cost of the venue was hard to cover.

We had some wonderful evenings and made new friends, ate great food, made music, danced, watched movies, heard topical presentations, and enjoyed many a gift circle, which led to exciting opportunities to get to know one another better by working together on projects.

If you have an interest in reviving the potlucks and starting again, perhaps with a new focus, please be in touch through the contact form on this website.

Thank you to all who made the potlucks so fun all these years!

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Ayurvedic Cooking Class Fri, 10 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 ]]> Treat yourself to the gift of improved well being!

Promote healtScreen shot 2014-10-06 at 8.59.15 PMh by learning how to make simple yet delicious Indian Khicharies and chutneys.

Join Meera for this informative, fun and practical mini self-help workshop.

This class is a wonderful introduction to learning about the qualities and energies of spices and lentils and how they work synergistically in your body, how they affect your doshas – the underlying energetic system that supports health and well being.

This class is highly recommended for people planning on doing an Ayurvedic cleanse (Pancha Karma) and it is also perfect for someone with no experience in Ayurvedic/Indian cooking.

The class is held in a private home and class size is small, so please register early. Also looking for sponsors to host cooking class in Berkeley/Oakland area.

To register call: 510-559-9779 or email meerachat[at],


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Mobilize: A Film about Cell Phone Radiation Sun, 26 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000 ]]> Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 1.47.12 PMJoin Us!

Come watch this documentary and learn how to protect yourself from cell phone radiation! No, you don’t have to toss your phone away. But there is a safer way to use it. This film will educate us re the hazards of heedless use of technology AND remind us how to use our gadgets without endangering our health.  Or at the very least, minimize the toxic load.

This is from the Mobilize press kit:

Mobilize is an investigative documentary that explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation including cancer and infertility. Examining the most recent scientific research and legislative efforts, Mobilize illuminates how finance corrupts public health. The film features interviews with numerous doctors, politicians, cancer patients, and technology experts, major telecommunication associates, and prominent politicians.

Filmed over three years and edited together from hours of footage, Mobilize includes accounts from individuals at the following organizations and universities:  Apple, Inc., the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Cancer Institute, the Cellular Telecommunications Internet Association, Yale University, Harvard University, USC, UCSF, UC Berkeley and Virgin Mobile.

I am certainly looking forward to watching the whole film!  

Kevin Kunze, the Director of the film has graciously offered to screen the movie for us and will be on hand to answer questions after the viewing. He is a Bay Area-based filmmaker and activist whose short films have been screened at the New York City Directors Guild of America Theater, the Berkeley Art Museum, among others. (I took that last sentence from his bio.) You can find out more about his films at

This presentation is free.  Donations will help spread the word on this issue.

See you on Sunday, October 26th!

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Medicine-Making Sun, 05 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000 ]]> Herbal-MedicineJoin Us!

Learn how to make medicines out of common garden plants! On two Sunday afternoons this October (October 5 & 19), we will talk about the healing properties of Comfrey, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Lemon balm, & Calendula. (Note: I might substitute Yarrow in lieu of either Valerian or Lemon balm. Or just add it in! Depending on availability of these out of my garden.)  Just giving you an idea of what’s in store.

This is a hands on class. We will discuss how to and together make medicines out of these common medicinal plants. Of course we will talk about how to store and how to safely use.

Except for Lemon balm & Valerian,  Comfrey, St. John’s Wort, Calendula & Yarrow are all wound remedies.  Each has its own affinity, but nonetheless all wonderful wound healers.  So they are all great as first aid remedies, of course.  Valerian and Lemon balm both have an affinity for the nervous system and sometimes used together in someone who needs help sleeping. Valerian, of course is most famous as a sleep aid, but Lemon balm holds its own in helping the nervous system recalibrate, so to speak.

There will be St. John’s Wort and Comfrey plant starters available for those who might want to grow them.  Free. 

Note:  This class is NOT free. Attendance requires preregistration at the Albany Community Center. (To register: call 510-524-9283 or in person at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Avenue, Albany.)  There is a materials fee, but only will apply if you are in fact taking one of the concoctions home.  Some of the medicines require “tincturing” time so you are not going to have a finished product at the end of the class, but you will know how to make them. There is also an opportunity to purchase prepared tinctures of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum) & Calendula.


Lourdes Gonzaga, MA, C. Hom., PCH, C. HP is a homeopathic practitioner who loves medicinal plants and enjoys making medicines.

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