Category: Event Reports

The Parkway Landscaping Report: YES, the Public WILL be Heard!

Drought Tolerant Parkway Curb

 

Will Culver City residents be allowed to put veggies on the parkways abutting their homes?

Can property owners place benches and community library boxes on the parkways without getting fined? 

In these economically challenging times, would a permit fee of $151.50 for installing drought tolerant perennials and succulents in one’s parkway promote or prevent people from removing their thirsty lawn strips? 

How can our city ordinances support best-use of abundant residential parkway public land?

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Let’s Go to the Do The Math Tour in L.A.! Sunday, Nov 11

Bill McKibben & 350.org are taking their show on the road — driving a biodiesel bus all over the country for the Do The Math Tour! They’ll be in Los Angeles this coming Sunday, Nov 11, 2012. Tickets are still available, and TCC is planning on attending! Will you join us?

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012
Doors open at 6 pm, show starts at 7 pm

WHERE: Ackerman Ballroom @ UCLA Student Union
308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles 90095

COST: $10 + small ticketmaster fee
Prepurchase tickets 

The goal of this tour is to jump-start the next phase of the climate movement across the nation. But this is NOT your typical stand-and-deliver lecture! Each city’s event will be unique and interactive, including video footage from environmental luminaries (including Naomi Klein &  Josh Fox) as well as live music. LA’s musical guest is Nellie MacKay.

Join the TCC field trip to Do The Math:
If you’d like to join up with us to attend, you have two ways of getting there:

BY BIKE:
Bike meet-up at 5 pm in downtown Culver City. RSVP for exact location. Route planned by members of the Culver City Bike Coalition. Helmets, lights and lock required.

BY FOSSIL-FUEL MOBILE:
Carpool meet-up at 5:15pm in Culver City just west of Sawtelle. RSVP for exact location. If more folks than can fit in  one 5-seater, we will improvise on a caravan.

We will reconvene and find each other at Ackerman Ballroom so we can experience the presentation together. Please purchase your tickets independently but you’re welcome to travel there together with us!

More about Bill McKibben >>

 

And then there were hand pies! TCC Event Report

Baking 101: Hand Pies!

 

Our Baking 101 workshop at Michelle’s house was a tasty success!

In true Transition style, our goal was to help re-skill people about baking to encourage more kitchen confidence. And in true experiential learning style (Michelle’s background), the afternoon was hand’s-on and exploratory instead of lecture and demonstration so we all dove in to the process.  Some participants shared some baking wisdom and techniques while others had their first try at a rolling pin or an “egg wash” glaze.

Flour from a Coffee Grinder

Pulsing the Food Processor

Wheatberries in the Grain Mill

Hand Cranked Grain Mill

Primitive Mortar & Pestle

THE FLOUR EXPERIMENT: First, we found out that flour doesn’t necessarily have to come in a bag from the store! But can we make flour without the help of electricity? (YES!) Does pie dough HAVE to be made from wheat, or what else works?  We experimented with making almond flour with a mortar & pestle (actually a Mexican Molcajete made from volcanic rock), a coffee grinder, and a food processor. Many of us took turns hand-cranking  the Country Living Hand Grain Mill,  turning wheatberries and whole grain rice into fine soft  flours. We also had back-up bags of both wheat & gluten-free flours, including sorghum flour to test different blends for our hand pies.

Next, we mixed & rolled out our various doughs and prepared our apple fillings. Here’s the crew in various phases of production.

Filling the hand pies

Shaping the hand pies

Apple Slicing Crew

Rolling Dough

 

     

THE RESULTS: We all learned that basic baking is simple and easy. And also that experimenting is highly recommended! The almond flours were a bit too crumbly for crusts so will require further testing (but will make a great ice cream topping for now!). Some of us added a dab of Marion’s homemade Jalapeno Pepper Relish to the fillings for a tasty kick.

We wrapped up the day with tea and hand pie tasting. There were even a few samples that made it home to loved ones.

All in all, a great afternoon of learning basic kitchen skills, building friendships & community, and celebrating the bounties of life!

 

Fracking From Above…

Baldwin Hills Oil Fields

MYSTERY PHOTO CAPTION: Cappuccino Latte Froth?

No, it’s an aerial view of the Baldwin Hills oil fields between La Cienega and WLAC’s College Blvd — the largest contiguous urban oil field in the U.S.

This area has become a focal point for Fracking discussions in Southern California as concerned citizens seek accurate and trustworthy information and momentum builds to put a moratorium or ban on this controversial drilling trend that’s been sweeping the nation in the name of energy autonomy.

So what’s going on below ground?
Are Southern Californian oil fields like Baldwin Hills the same as other fields across the nation? Is horizontal fracking happening here? Is the technology safe? Can gas & chemicals migrate? How do we protect our precious water resources? Does fracking trigger earthquakes? Who’s monitoring the drilling? What’s going on with Assembly Bill 972?

Get the scoop on all this and more at:

FRACKING AWARENESS NIGHT at the Aero Theatre!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — 7:30 pm
DETAILS IN PREVIOUS POST>>

This educational evening of film, panel discussion and Q&A focuses on the issues from a Southern California perspective. Action plans will also be discussed.

Panelists include:
• PAUL FERRAZZI, Executive Director of the County-wide Citizen’s Coalition for a Safe Community

• DR. CLYDE TOM WILLIAMS, retired oil/gas field specialist

• MEGHAN SAHLI-WELLS, Culver City Council Member

The Panel will be moderated by DONALD STRAUSS, MFA, Founding Chair and Core Faculty, Urban Sustainability Master of Arts at Antioch University. Donald has an interest in urban ecosystems and global environmental change narratives.

Fracking Awareness Night @ the Aero, August 21, 2012

Your Opinion Counts! Community Meeting to Discuss the Proposed Nature Center in Blair Hills—August 8

Blair Hills Nature Center Meeting

 

 

Proposed Blair Hills Nature Center
Community Planning Meeting #2

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
7-9 pm
at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Community Room
4100 South La Cienega Blvd.

For information, contact Shawn McAdory, 323-298-3660

Please join the L.A. County Parks & Rec and the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority to share your ideas for a future Nature Center in our community!  They are also gathering input on any environmental issues that residents, community organizations and interested stakeholders believe should be analyzed as part of the development process.

The location of the proposed nature center is on Stoneview Drive in Blair Hills, site of the former Ohr Eliyahu Academy.  Here’s a glimpse:

Proposed Site for Future Nature Center in Blair Hills

Nestled in Blair Hills between Kenneth Hahn Park & the Baldwin Hills Overlook

WORDS MATTER: Culver City Council votes 5-0 in favor of statewide Fracking BAN!

Ban Fracking in CC

photo: J. Oyama

With this motion, Culver City becomes the first California municipality to approve a resolution to call for a statewide ban against fracking.

Prior to Monday night’s (July 2, 2012) vote, the council was considering calling on the state for a moratorium.  However, as Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells stated on the dais: “We have to be bold. The state needs pressure. We don’t have time to mess around. The message really does matter—‘Ban’ sends a strong message.” Vice Mayor Jeff Cooper echoed Sahli-Wells’ sentiments, stating,  “ ’Ban’ shows we’re serious. We should let the state know how we really feel.” Initially, Councilmembers Jim Clarke and Micheal O’Leary favored a moratorium over a ban but… Read the entire Council report on Culver City PATCH >>

As a longtime steering committee member of Transition Culver City, Meghan has a firm understanding in local environmental issues—and now she serves our entire city in an official capacity! Meghan showed great courage and elegant statesmanship at the meeting as she remained true to her position until all five councilmembers achieved consensus. Here’s what Meghan had to say post-meeting on Culver City Patch:

Ban Fracking in Culver City Demonstration

Demonstration at City Hall, June 12. Photo by Kate Parkinson-Morgan

“Words matter. The original resolution called for a moratorium… but after hearing from scores of residents over the last several months and reading many studies, reports, and articles, I made the motion to change the word moratorium in the resolution to ban.” Read Meghan’s whole commentary on PATCH >>

A bold first step has been made by our City Council in protecting the health of our environment and our citizens. To be continued!

 

Garden Showcase D.I.Y. Talk — Helpful & Inspiring!

A short report on TCC’s participation in Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase which occurred on Earth Day—April 21st, 2012:

The Bike Corral came in handy as the TCC Bike Tour of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase  arrived en masse at the first garden on their itinerary.

We made it! Michelle leads the TCC Bike Caravan to House #1 on the Green Garden Showcase Tour

 

After lemonade and snacks, the group settled in for TCC’s presentation, “D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.”   Attendees picked up some helpful tips for finding inexpensive and creative ways to convert a conventional lawn into a drought-tolerant landscape.

This Showcase location exemplifies the D.I.Y. philosophy:  it features a bistro-style patio hardscape, “urbanite” terraces, meandering flagstone walkways and a homemade park bench, dwarf fruit trees & stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives, plus two methods of rainwater capture—all accomplished D.I.Y. and under strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled, or free!).

The TCC bike caravan then rode five blocks west to the next Showcase garden on their itinerary, Yuling’s fabulous Chinese herbal garden, before heading to points beyond. Perhaps a full report of the Bike Tour will appear here soon…

Below is some information from the hand-out from D.I.Y. presentation,  including resource links… Enjoy!

• • •
D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions On a Budget
(Recycled • Used • Repurposed • Unwanted & Abandoned: It’s All Good!)

Presented by Transition Culver City
Saturday, April 21, 2012 • 11:30 a.m.

Design:

•1st Step is Observation: How does nature function on your property thru the seasons? (sun, wind, water).
• Identify your Zones around your home & personal usage patterns
• Will the project be gradual, step-wise, or a grand transformation?

Gathering Materials:

SOIL, COMPOST, MULCH, & OTHER HARDSCAPING MATERIALS:
• Neighbors, Noticing Your Environment, Word of Mouth in the Community
Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.
Our Time Bank: Sharing Economy (from materials urbanite to tool borrowing)
Free Mulch & Compost from LA City
• Mulch: Ask local tree trimming companies working in your neighborhood
• Soil: look for local remodel activity
• Venice Learning Garden (donations appreciated) — mulch & compost

THE PLANTS:
• Sharing clippings & seeds with neighbors
Venice Learning Garden — just ask what needs cleaning up… and reap the benefits by leaving with clippings & rootballs
Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) — non-GMO, heirloom seed — come swap & learn about seed saving!
• Unlabeled plants at the gardening shops— deep discounts
• Once again, Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.

Repurposed & Make It Yourself Items:

“Stacking Functions” = many yields from a single element
Examples: Benches, bistro planters, pavers, bamboo trellises and gates, “hugelkultur,” greenhouse.

Getting The Work Done:

Work parties — Barn Raising Style
Our Time Bank — work trade
• Teen or college-student labor from the neighborhood or recommended by friends

 

 

Re-imagining Culver City Green Spaces: What’s your opinion?

News from the Green Space Action Committee:

The Community Input phase is almost complete (survey closes Sunday April 1).
But there’s still time to voice your opinions:

Here’s a some background about the program from the North East Trees website:

In 2011 the City of Culver City and North East Trees were awarded a grant from the State of California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) for a Proposition 84 Urban Greening Planning Program for Sustainable Communities. The Planning Program provides funds to assist projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide multiple benefits.

 The Culver City Green Space Plan, in partnership with Ballona Creek Renaissance and Culver City Unified School District, aims to provide passive recreational open space within walking distance of all the Culver City neighborhoods. In the past, active recreation facilities such as sport fields and play courts were given the primary focus when the city’s parks were designed, with little attention paid to passive spaces. Those passive or unprogrammed spaces present an excellent opportunity to increase the value of the parks to the broader community, enriching the park experience without reducing access to active sports fields and play courts.

This planning project will re-imagine these spaces and make the City’s parks and other open spaces more appealing to a broader segment of the local community through passive recreation. Accessibility to seniors, people with disabilities, individuals without children and children not participating in organized sports will increase the value of Culver City Parks to its residents. Read more >>

100 Mile Community Meal

100 Mile Meal

Our Transition neighbors in Mar Vista/Venice are hosting this wonderful community event in honor of the Mayor’s Day of Service to celebrate together while raising awareness around food localization.

100-MILE MEALCommunity Potluck
March 31, 2012
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
The Learning Garden @ Venice High 

Did you know? The average American meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your table? Not only does local produce taste better, it’s better for you too! and it saves wear-and-tear on the planet. Positive initiatives to localize our communiy food resources are happening right now on the westside. Come find out what’s going on while sharing a feast with friends old and new.

The 100-Mile Meal gives us the opportunity to stop and ask where each ingredient that we take for granted comes from. We will gather in the beautiful Venice Learning Garden to share our recipes and resources to build a new world, one meal at a time. Think Global. Buy Local!

Your Challenge: Prepare a dish with the intent of using all or most  of the ingredients grown from within 100 miles of your home. Homegrown counts double! See how much you can minimize the carbon footprint of your potluck offering, and be ready to share the tale! —Include a label detailing the source of your ingredients and the recipe.

Note: 100-mile radius spans from Bakersfield to San Diego.

What to Bring

• potluck item to serve 8 (main dish, side dish, vegetable, salad, bread, drink, or dessert)
• comprehensive label detailing the source of your ingredients
• a copy of your recipe to share
• your own dishes and cutlery (encouraged)
• reusable water bottle
• sunscreen

Getting There
The Learning Garden at Venice High School is located at Venice Blvd and Walgrove Ave. Enter the garden from Walgrove, through the chain link gate located between Venice and Zanja.

Please consider walking, biking, taking the 33 or 733 Metro bus on Venice Boulevard, or carpooling to the event. (If you do bring a car, there is street parking on Walgrove and Zanja).

L E A R N  •  S H A R E  •  C O N N E C T



 

Work or Party? How About Both!

See a video clip >>

Our recent Work Party on 1/28/2012 dedicated to learning how to make a Rain Barrel Overflow Rain Garden was a bountiful success! Since the project was a “hybrid” of active and passive urban rainwater harvesting (active catchment in tanks combined with passive diversion into a basin) there were many learning opportunities for the 17 volunteers who helped out over the course of the day.

Since building community is a key Transition principle, the “connecting” or “party” aspect of the day was planned with as much care as the work component. Luckily, the project was a joint venture between Transition Culver City and Transition Mar Vista/Venice which meant many helping hands from planning stages to clean-up! The front yard’s hardscape with its two decks encouraged social cross-pollinating: Since the actual work area was narrow, volunteers frequently rotated out of the work zone to visit and lounge on the cool shady deck. The adjacent sunny deck (beautifully abloom with jasmine!) was a popular place to sit and browse through the collective library of gardening, permaculture and Transition books. Plus the food! Homebaked banana nut muffins and tea in the morning and a beautiful organic vegetarian lunch of pita wraps & greek salad with lemonade was appreciated by the entire crew.

But back to the work component:

The project was coordinated by landscape architect John Tikotsky, an advocate of the Transition movement here in L.A.. John smoothly kept the volunteer crew moving from task to task and also took advantage of naturally unfolding teaching moments.

Transition friend Paul Herzog of Surfrider Foundation also came with shovel in hand to work as well as share about Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program. According to Paul, urban runoff is a primary source of ocean pollution. The OFG program teaches homeowners how to apply “CPR” (Conservation, Permeability, and Retention) to their garden to help revive our local watershed and ocean.

PASSIVE COLLECTION: Recharge the groundwater
Whenever rainwater can be diverted from a residential roof into a designated area, it helps our ecosystem by replenishing the local aquifer. In this case, the designated unresolved landscape area became a mulch pit fed by the overflow from rainwater tanks.

The day began with helpers plunging into the heavy labor: digging & sculpting the reservoir and berms to create a passive groundwater recharge zone. Thanks to the previous weekend’s heavy rains, digging the mulch pit went quickly and smoothly; in less than an hour, a lovely shape emerged from what had previously been a flat sloping hardpan surface. The crew also made a trench to hide the subsurface diverter pipe. Later, cobblestones were placed at the mouth of the diverter for a lovely babbling brook effect (next time it rains!) and the reservoir was filled with mulch. With this simple and natural passive rainwater collection technique, the homeowners are now able to slow down the rain and let it soak in on the spot instead of flow downhill to the street.

ACTIVE COLLECTION: capture the rain from your roof
Since this family opted for some unusual vertical “water wall” storage tanks instead of the classic rain barrels, the project became an engineering puzzle for the group as they figured out how to daisychain the elevated tanks, create the pvc angles and drill the overflow diverters into place. There were many unexpected spontaneous teaching moments such as how to glue pvc pipe w/ epoxy, how to pour a concrete footing so that wood is not in contact with the soil, and how to use a level to assure best gravity flow. John Tikotsky also provided attendee’s with a guide on how to calculate your own roof’s water-catching capacity.

Additional site-specific challenges — what to grow?
The area where the new reservoir and berms reside is directly under a swath of deep shade from the parkway magnolias. Over the years the homeowners had found this downhill slope to be stubbornly unplantable. But thanks to the efforts of the volunteer work crew, the space is now leveled off with a nicely mulched reservoir for water retention. The plan was to plant edibles into the berm surrounding the mulch pit. But what kind of native CA edibles can handle such deep shade? Research revealed that in the wild, currants & gooseberries (Ribes family) thrive and bear fruit under oak tree overstories. Though currants and gooseberries are a popular fruit in Europe they are largely overlooked as an edible in the U.S. Now the beginnings of a golden currant food forest is growing in east Mar Vista!

Baking Work Party, anyone?
A great big thank you to all who helped make this happen—we couldn’t and wouldn’t have done this without you! Stop by any time to survey your hard work. And we’ll definitely let you know when it’s time to bake some currant tarts together!