• Sustainable Pacific Grove looks back at 2008, forward to 2009

    The vision of Sustainable Pacific Grove: “So let’s imagine Pacific Grove as a sustainable community, a place where residents eat locally grown food and shop locally for their daily needs. Parks are surrounded with edible landscapes. An open-air market bustling with people buying fruits, veggies and local crafts offers a place to find fresh items grown close to home.
    “The city has an odorless compost drop-off for all the area restaurant food waste. Residents can claim composted soil to use in their own yards, each planted with fruit trees and edibles. Cisterns collect rainwater from roofs, reducing the runoff into the bay while offering water for the dry season. A local reservoir holds local runoff and offers water for gardens. Solar panels allow a zeroing out of the electricity bill even during our foggiest years.
    “Residents walk throughout town finding the goods they need and new stores open to showcase locally manufactured products. A local bike store houses a bike-lending library, and citizens ride scooters and bikes down our roads. A tool-lending library and a fix-it shop opens to allow residents to share tools and knowledge.
    “Pacific Grove becomes a city that demonstrates simplicity and the beauty of being sustainable and grows the one thing few towns can grow — community. Sustainable Pacific Grove is dedicated to making such a vision a reality.”
    So how are they doing so far? Sustainable PG held their annual meeting on January 6 at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Members and guests were treated to a slide show which celebrated the organization’s accomplishments for 2008, when the focus was on water, and presaged plans for 2009 when the focus will be on food.
    Among accomplishments, SPG lists work on mapping the local watershed and examination of water preservation methods such as cisterns and revitalization of the reservoir as well as other types of water-holding technology. They are pressing for regulatory changes as well, including allowing grey water systems whereby households – and perhaps even businesses and other institutions – can capture and reuse grey water for onsite use where potable water had previously been used.
    The Green Spot at the corner of Pine and Forest will be a showcase of solutions for those seeking earth-friendly lifestyles. The collaboration between SPG and Applied Solar Energy offers demonstrations of water cachement technology including a fog catcher. There is a butterfly garden as well. The Green Spot has been used for demonstration fairs and lectures, including subjects such as pedal power, composting, recycling, solar energy and reducing one’s carbon footprint. A work day at the Green Spot is scheduled for January 17 in preparation for Good Old Days, when the Green Spot will once again offer a demonstration fair.
    With the election of SPG stalwart Deborah Lindsay to the City Council, a subcommittee on water is in the formation process at the City Council level.
    Tree for PG is another cooperative project for Sustainable Pacific Grove. They have sponsored the planting of thousands of trees from seedlings, and recently another grant was approved by PG&E which will provide even more seedlings.
    The establishment of the weekly Farmers Market in downtown Pacific Grove was strongly supported by SPG and now offers food, flowers, and crafts by local growers and artists.
    SPG members are particularly proud of Pacific Grove’s ban on Styrofoam use in local restaurants, an example which has been taken by other communities. While the organization points out that not all restaurants in town are following the no-styrofoam guidelines, most are doing so and the results, they say, are gratifying, though more work needs to be done. Members suggested continued lobbying of non-compliant restaurants as well as public education on the issue.
    A plastics ban is a future project.
    A major panel discussion on the issue of climate change was held under the auspices of Sustainable Pacific Grove in September. Cedar Street Times offered a synopsis on Vol. I, Issue 5 (copies available by email).
    Sustainable PG members are also proud of efforts to reintroduce chickens as useful pets in Pacific Grove.
    Outreach efforts by SPG continue: Coalitions with master gardeners, Surfrider Foundation and others were lauded. There will continue to be an information table at the weekly Farmers Market (which resumes on Monday, January 12 after the holiday recess). A wealth of information is available on SPG’s website and emailings are encouraged.
    In 2009, Sustainable Pacific Grove will focus on food. The group expects to hold networking parties, lectures and demonstrations on such subjects as micro climates, growing local food, home gardens, seed-saving, composting, canning, fruit trees and herb-growing. An effort is under way to purchase bare root fruit trees in bulk to reduce costs, and the group hopes to see fruit trees planted not only in home gardens, but downtown, and will examine the possibility of promoting use of the PG&E grant money to help in this effort.
    There will be herb gardening workshops at Trellis Garden Shop in the spring months.
    Individuals are looking into recycling receptacles for downtown streets, and Joy Colangelo reported on food recycling efforts at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, where efforts are under way to use the food left over at CHOMP to produce compost. Kristin Cushman also reported on the Zero Waste school lunch program (see accompanying article).

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 9, 2009

    Topics: Green

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