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Bringing neighbors together to build a more sustainable, resilient
future for 
Berkeley. We envision a strong, diverse local economy,
with a greatly reduced 
dependence on fossil fuels, 
and a cooperative, rewarding, community life.

Welcome to the Transition Berkeley Blog Page. Members can post here and anyone can comment.

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Catherine Sutton, Transition Albany Founder

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on December 6, 2016 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (10)

Catherine Sutton, the founder and heart of Transition Albany, died of a sudden heart attack on Dec. 5th, 2016. Catherine's kindness, wisdom and unswerving committment to creating a culture that lives in harmony with the earth will be well remembered in her community. She is an inspiration to many who have been lucky to cross her path and share in her joy for life.

An alter table has been set up in front of PLACE, 1121 64th Street, off San Pablo, in Oakland by the bulletin board for folks to honor Catherine Sutton. This is being made available for people to honor her and share their grief, pain, love and show rememberance.

Some Good Bee Plants Are Really Bad! - Article by Alisa Rose Seidlitz

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on November 9, 2015 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Neonicotinoids in the nursery industry have been making news lately. A possible link between the use of this insecticide and honey bee die-offs has led to some controversy. We asked Bay-Friendly Qualified Professional Alisa Rose Seidlitz to share some background on this issue of neonicotinoids and nursery plants. Read her entire article on the Bay Friendly Blog to learn what Alisa Rose found in her research.

The article is chock full of valuable information on how Neonicotinoids work, the current studies linking these pesticides to bee population declines and steps we can take to bring back the bees. Alisa Rose has also included a list of bee-attracting plants, resources for obtaining these plants, and links to products containing neonicotinoids.

The Gift of the Group

Posted by Upstreamdancer on July 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (1)

I'm doing a remodel in my home right now and blogging about it at my Shelterand site. I thought you'd like this post written a few days ago.  (Loni Gray

I'm realizing that there's another layer of motivation to doing this house project than just reaching for the companionship and energy that collective living offers me. Even beyond the delight of space designing my house. There's a layer under that, that is starting to bubble up to the surface. Because at last it can.


If I think about it honestly, sharing my home means having to do less. Less of the obligatory and the responsible, and more that is quite personal. And that's a healthy thing! It gives me time to find what must come from deep inside me and act upon it. How often do we have the time these days to do that?


Years ago, my beloved hubby and I tried doing it all ourselves. We did the tree-hugging, "back-to-the-land" lifestyle on10 acres in Washington. We were by ourselves because no other family lived in the state, and because my husband didn't trust strangers to hold true as a family would. We also had two young children. Even in our early 30's it was an huge task to create that from scratch on raw acreage. And, it became an overwhelming amount of work to maintain; ask anyone trying their own version of radical homemaking or urban homesteading. It is one of the reasons I do not have my husband anymore. We were trying to be supermom and dad and super global citizens all at once. 


I will also tell you that living all those values as just a nuclear family was very lonely at times. Everyone was a car ride away. Think about it. If you are trying not to get into that car until you have multiple errands and places to go, and if you are trying not to waste resources and conserve, then you do not hop into a vehicle every time you just ached to rub shoulders with a friend who is miles away. Nurturing yourself kinda settles to the bottom of barrel.  


So now, have those old priorities lost importance? Just the reverse. Those values are all the more dear to me, but I'm seeking another path to them now. One not so burdensome, or lonely, so I can achieve it.


Dunno if I'm wiser now that I'm older, but at least I've learned. I've learned that relying on someone else's muscles is okay. I've learned that reaping the benefit of their fascinations, inclinations, and strengths, enriches me. And now I am also realizing that their presence gives me breathing space.


And precious time. 


Time to relax, and exhale or walk to see a friend...just because. And even more to the point, living this way gives me time to explore all sorts of interests, some they've stimulated as well as my own. The time lets me delve into all those passions I discover I want to improve. To deepen. 


So if I look honestly at my own motivations, there's a real desire to use the collective as a gift for my own pursuits. But see then here's the thing: Being who I am, and still reaching for those values now means I get to focus on what skills I want to bring into the way I live. To train in skills that are important, and intensify my expertise. And that allows me to become more resilient, a deeper resilience that grows from the explore and the pursuit. (At least in the ways that I can, being who I am right now.)


Altogether then, I'm seeing that collective living, theintentional community impulse is in total harmony with transitioning into localresilience, and the Transition Town movement. They are interwoven for me, one fabric. Intertwined, they allow me, and anyone seeking that part of themselves, to seek and exploit my own resilient strengths.  


So now, what do I choose to make of this gift?

The Tomato Boys, BLOG

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on June 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (3)

Check out these enterprising young urban farmers who have a produce stand in South Berkeley:

"The Tomato Boys are three brothers who have been dabbling in backyard gardening since 2005. They grow all types of heirloom and open pollinated vegetables in their urban San Francisco Bay Area plot, however they specialize in heirloom tomatoes. In the summer of 2008, they were inundated with tomatoes. They grew enough for them to eat their fill and give away to neighbors and friends. But they still had more so they decided to have a tomato stand to sell off the extras. Since then, they have had unlucky tomato years because of cool summers and gardener laziness. But this year, 2012, their goal is to grow enough tomatoes to once again be overwhelmed with them. Follow them as they gear up for the 2012 growing season. Hopefully this year will produce beautiful vegetables and make a little money along the way. Maybe you’ll see them on the sidewalk in front of their house on a sunny, late-summer weekend selling their lucious tomatoes.

Tom, now age 14, is the Chief Executive Officer of The Tomato Boys and primary blogger. 11 year old Sam is Chief Operating Officer and Joe, age 16, is Chief Financial Officer. Financial support comes from the Mom and Dad Foundation."

Arms-free grocery carrying

Posted by Barbara Edwards on April 18, 2012 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Walking is great for your own health and the health of the environment and we're always looking for ways to reduce car trips but what do you do when you have bags of "stuff" to bring home? 

I am lucky to live in an area where I can walk to many places I want to go - to grocery and hardware stores, nurseries, library, crop swaps and Farmers Markets. Getting to my destinations is enjoyable.  The problem arises when I end up accumulating more than I can comfortably carry home.  I tell myself not to acquire so much, or just to take home less weighty produce, but how can I resist cantaloupe and watermelon, or all those beautiful persimmons or a bag of several different kinds of apples?  A bike with sidebags is a great solution for many people but because of stairs and no bike-size storage place, it's not a great option for me. I see "granny carts" being wheeled through the streets, but they are a little short for me and produce has to be stacked.

I saw someone using one of these Hook-and-Go carts a few years ago at the San Francisco Farmers Market and I thought the person had made it themselves from a golf cart, but it turns out that he bought it right at the market.The carts were made for leisurely shopping at the Farmers Markets by a Vancouver-based designer, John Hook, but Bobby Winston brought the cart to San Francisco and then bought the patent. Hook's idea was that a person could shop hands-free at the market and then wheel her goods to the car, load it up, then fold the cart and stick it in the trunk, but the cart easily traverses city sidewalks.  I find it easier to pull the cart behind me the mile or two I walk, especially on the uphill parts.The cart is made of steel, weighs 7 pounds and will hold up to 70 pounds. One small drawback is that the device was made for plastic bags and my regular cloth grocery bags have handles that are too long unless I tie some knots or wrap the handles several times.  

The Ecology Center sells the Hook and Go carts!

Colony Collapse Disorder and Honeybee Death Linked with Pesticide Use

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on April 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Several articles were published last week supporting a Harvard research study linking the pesticide Imidacloprid, manufactured by Bayer, to Colony Collapse Disorder in the honeybee population. The cause for colony collapse has been eluding scientists for many years. However, two studies that came out in Science showed a close link between neonicotinoid pesticides, of which imidacloprid is one, and another is, clothianidin, also manufactured by Bayer. (See article about Bayer's role in killing bees in the Articles section of this website)

Bayer earlier released a statement to say that the chemical has no effect on colony collapse. However, the Harvard research conclusively shows that the opposite is true.

Scientists in the past have been cautious about the connection between pesticides and honey bee collapse. However, lead author of the Harvard report, Chensheng (Alex) Lu has dismissed all caution and has made it clear that:

"There is no question that neonicotinoids put a huge stress on the survival of honey bees in the environment. The evidence is clear that imidacloprid is likely the culprit for Colony Collapse Disorder via a very unique mechanism that has not been reported until our study."

For more information on the study here are some articles to read and become more educated on pressuring Bayer to discontinue manufacture of neonicotinoids.

Food Ark- Seed Saving

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on March 8, 2012 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

"To feed our growing population, we’ll need to double food production. Yet crop yields aren’t increasing fast enough, and climate change and new diseases threaten the limited varieties we’ve come to depend on for food. Luckily we still have the seeds and breeds to ensure our future food supply—but we must take steps to save them."- Charles Siebert, National Geographic, July 2011

The Bay Area has many opportunities to participate in seed-saving and exchanges. Listed below are two organizations. Please add your own ideas, events or seed saving requests.

Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library (Richmond Public Library):

Basil, Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (Berkeley Ecology Center):

March Crop Swap- Pepino Melon Starts

Posted by Bonnie Borucki on February 25, 2012 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (1)

Will it be in like a lion or lamb? Either way, our next crop swap should prove to be a treasure trove of late winter crops, and early spring cleaning finds. I expect the usual winter greens, collards, chard, kale, lettuces, and more, a well as the ever present lemon crop. But besides the harvested crops, now is a great time to share starts and cuttings for the upcoming spring planting season.

So, unless the lion appears, and we have a torrential rain storm, I am planning on bringing cuttings and starts from my latest crop discovery, the pepino melon. Not a melon at all, but part of the tomato/potato family, the beautiful purple-striped, egg-shaped fruit of the Pepino Melon is mild and sweet with a flavour reminiscent of cantaloupe. It also grows like crazy and can become a perennial if protected from the frost.

Last winter I rooted a couple cuttings from a plant that Nik Bertulis brought to the annual East Bay scion exchange. The cuttings produced two large bushy plants and many pounds of fruit, with no apparent pests. I have about a dozen cuttings (some already rooted) to give away, so if you would like to try a new exotic fruit (originally from South America and also called Pepino Dulce), come to the March 2nd crop swap and get them while they last.