News and events for Transition and sustainability in Pasadena, Altadena,
and nearby communities along the Arroyo Seco.

Transition Pasadena

October 2016

Local Happenings

“The New Story Summit”

Conscientious Projector

Thursday, October 13
7:00 pm

Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Av


The Findhorn Foundation is a renowned spiritual community, eco-village and international center for holistic learning and sustainability. there for The New Story Summit: Inspiring Pathways for our Planetary Future. The event brought together a diverse group of change-makers and activists from over 50 countries in an enquiry into how people might raise a new narrative of interdependence and mindful living to serve the co-creation of a better world. Filmmakers pooled their talents to document the proceedings and interview its visionary presenters.

A community discussion follows the film.

Conscientious Projector

Mulch & Compost Giveaway Program

Victory Park

Friday, October 7
while supplies last

Victory Park
2575 Paloma Street


Wood from City trees that have been removed is chipped into mulch and recycled. Residents will have access to mulch during park hours which are 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. while supplies last; the mulch program will be located at the southern parking lot adjacent to Paloma Street.

Residents should bring shovels, containers, gloves and eye protection to collect the mulch
Athens Services will be providing 10 cubic yards of compost, available after 10 am.

Mulch Recycling Program,
City of Pasadena

Jackson Magnet Academy

KABOOM Community Build Playground

Saturday, October 15
8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Jackson Magnet Academy
593 W Woodbury Rd

- Volunteers Needed -

Hooray!  Jackson Magnet won the KABOOM Playground Grant!

We're replacing our existing playground equipment with a new state-of-the-art play structure!  The project requires over 200 we need YOU!

To sign up or learn more:

PCSC Walking Tour

“Public Art in Pasadena”

Saturday, October 15
10:00 am

Starts at Pasadena City Hall
Central Courtyard


Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition hosts a Walking Tour of Public Art in Pasadena: Some historic influences on Ceramics and the Architectural Decorative Arts in our City. the walk will cover nearly 2.5 miles,  and more than 15 artists.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is an open community group advocating for safe, active, and sustainable transportation in the City of Pasadena.

Meet at 10:00 a.m. at Pasadena City Hall in the Courtyard

Facebook Event: Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition

ArtNight Pasadena

Friday, October 21
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Pasadena City Hall hub and
various sites throughout the city


Enjoy a free evening of art, music and entertainment as Pasadena’s most prominent arts and cultural institutions swing open their doors. The night is yours to decide. Begin your journey at any one of our 18 participating cultural institutions, where free shuttles will be waiting to transport you to your next destination. Last year, 28,000+ people experienced the excitement of ArtNight. Don't miss the fun this fall!

More info at:
ArtNight Pasadena

PCSC Walking Tour

“Architecture Walk”

Saturday, October 22
10:00 am

Meet in front of the Macy’s at
401 South Lake Av


WALKtober continues!  Architect Wade Frazier will lead this walk, that will consist of an overview of commercial, institutional, and residential architecture in this culturally rich part of Pasadena. It will be a pleasant walk along beautiful tree lined streets that includes examples from all style periods of the from the early 20th Century to present.

The walk will be approximately 4-1⁄2 miles.

Wade Frazier has been practicing architecture for 27 years and is a partner with PBWS Architects in Pasadena.

Facebook Event: Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition

Women Build Day

SGV Habitat for Humanity

Saturday, October 29
8:00 am - 4:00 pm


- Volunteers Needed -

Join Pasadena Councilmember Margaret McAustin and fellow local female leaders for Women Build Day and help construct nine new affordable homes in Pasadena.  Be a part of the effort and help support Habitat for Humanity’s mission “to build strength, stability, self-reliance, and shelter.”  No experience is necessary and all tools and safety items will be supplied.  Crew leaders from San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity will train and guide us in our work.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. with safety information and job demonstrations.  We will be working side by side with the future homeowners.  Lunch and beverages will be provided.  Clean-up will start at 3 p.m. and the day should be over by 4.   “Put your hammer where your heart is and join me on October 29th” – Margaret McAustin

Please RSVP and direct questions to:

Transition U.S.

25 Enterprises that build

REconomy Report Launch:
25 Enterprises that Build Resilience
Case studies in local economic transformation

We’re excited to share with you this new report featuring 25 enterprises from across the US that actually help make communities more resilient!

From innovative ecological and social justice-oriented farms and food hubs to small-scale energy companies, from bicycle-powered delivery services to alternative strategies for providing affordable housing, these business models will inspire you to reimagine and transform your local economy.

In addition, the report is full of resources to help you deepen your knowledge of local economic transformation and give you the tools to get started. Enjoy!

Download the Report here!

REconomy Cohort: Catalyzing Local Economic Transformation

Also, beginning in October 2016, we’re launching a REconomy Cohort to support local Transition Initiatives and other community resilience projects that are ready to begin local economic transformation. If you’re looking to start a local economy awareness-raising project, a resilience-building business, an economic enabler or economic evaluation, or other REconomy-related endeavor, we can probably help you! Learn more & apply.

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a part of Transition Network

Native Landscape Barnraising!

Jackie Robinson Post Office

Saturday, October 22 — 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

1355 No. Mentor St., Pasadena 91104

- Volunteers Needed! -

The Jackie Robinson Post Office Native Landscape one-day Barnraising will be October 22, 8am-4pm.  The 2000 sq ft  of mostly south-facing beds surrounded by cement, asphalt and brick is ideally suited to native trees, shrubs and groundcovering plants.

Transition Pasadena coordinates and hosts the landscape project in collaboration with USPS and several City departments. The City of Pasadena Water Conservation Program has designed and contributed an efficient irrigation system with a smart controller. This system will be installed by the Pasadena Maintenance Assistance to Homeowners (MASH) program. The City's Forestry Dept will deliver 15 cubic yards of mulch to the site. Pasadena Public Health Department's Nutrition and Physical Activity Program will lend gloves, tools, buckets and provide healthful snacks. Councilmember McAustin will also contribute healthful snacks
The Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery has collaborated with Theodore Payne Foundation to design a gorgeous garden and source the plants. And about 40 enthusiastic neighbors sourced through a neighborhood social network,, will provide the labor and ongoing maintenance for one year.

Local networking? Yes! Placemaking? Yes! Support for water conservation, local pollinators, public awareness-raising on climate, drought and species extinction? Yes, yes, yes!

Lisa Novick of Theodore Payne Foundation inspired this project and has led the design process with her passion for native plants. She gave the directive "It has to be drop-dead gorgeous!" The final garden design considers year-round color, blooms, berries, leaf color and texture and even leaf litter.  It incorporates plants that are host or food for a variety of butterflies, bees and birds.  It softens the boxy post office architecture with variety of height and patterns and keeps low maintenance and water conservation as priorities. It will indeed be gorgeous and hopefully inspiring to passersby! Neighbors will learn that it is easy and fun to create native landscapes. The increasing importance of drought-scaping raises the parallel need to support our local species at all levels, soil, plants, insects, birds, and up the animal kingdom. Two zones of water will cover two plant communities, one local natives which require low water and one with plants even more tolerant of drought and sun which will require even less water.  One planter that has no irrigation will have plants that thrive with next to no water at all.  No cacti or succulents will be featured in this plan.

Our current wish list includes:
  • Arroyo rocks to punctuate the garden as reminders of Pasadena's treasured wilderness area , the Arroyo Seco. They must be too big to throw, or roughly bigger than a basketball.
  • A videographer to document Barnraising day and create a 5 minute video.
  • A person with graphic design skills to help create a display at the Santa Catalina Library.  It will explain more about the garden and its plants.

To get involved with digging, mulching or support on 10/22

Why Plant Native Plants?

In short, the answer is that our ecosystems are suffering from Climate Change, specifically from extreme heat and drought in California. National Park Service offers this answer.

"Native plant species provide the keystone elements for ecosystem restoration. Native plants help to increase the local population of native plant species, providing numerous benefits. There are specific associations of mycorrhizae with plants, invertebrates with woody debris, pollinators with flowers, and birds with structural habitat that can only be rebuilt by planting native plants.

Advantages of native plants:
  • add beauty to the landscape and preserve our natural heritage
  •  provide food and habitat for native wildlife
  •  decrease the amount of water needed for landscape maintenance
  • require very little long-term maintenance if they are properly planted and established
  • produce long root systems to hold soil in place
  • protect water quality by controlling soil erosion and moderating floods and droughts
  • serve as an important genetic resource for future food crops or other plant-derived products
  • help slow down the spread of fire by staying greener longer"

— Therese Brummel

Olive Harvest

At Throop Learning Garden

What a bounty our olive tree provides!

Our abundant olive crop began ripening in mid September, a full month from our projected harvest time. We were looking to set up workshop dates for late October, but quickly realized the crop would be diminished by then. So we got busy and started harvesting.

The harvest looked like an immense undertaking. Our olive tree bent with fruit. We began midweek with just two of us hand-picking. We picked about ½ gallon.

We continued on Sunday 9/18, with a Meet-Up contingent that included Claudia, who taught us how her Portuguese grandmother harvested olives by tapping the laden branches with poles, and collecting the olives as they fell onto sheets or tarps. We organized ourselves into harvesters and sorters (for green, black, and bicolored olives). Later we washed and destemmed the olives, then abraded their skins as we prepped them for curing.

Wafic offered us a detailed demonstration of how to dry salt cure olives, as his father taught him in Lebanon. We spooned a ½ gallon of olives on a wide, plastic lined tray. The olives were generously covered with sea salt, and tossed, so that all sides of the fruit were covered with salt. Then they were left in the sun to cure. The salt leaches the bitterness from the olives over the course of several days to weeks, depending on the size of the olive.

Everyone took home olives to try their hands at curing or brining them.

Our olive harvest continued Sunday 9/25  with a small crew. We will continue to harvest over the next few weeks. Come join us Sundays from 8:30-10:30am at Throop Learning Garden.

Here are some olive preservation resources:
General Olive Preserving

Dry,Salt Curing Olives

Wafic’s Dry Salt Cure Olive Recipe
It's a simple process but takes time. Here's what we need:
Clean glass bottles to crush the olives
Rack, cookie sheet, or bowl
  • We crush the olives. Soak them in hot water.
  • Once the water cools off, we take them out sprinkle liberally with salt.
  • We place them in the sun on a sheet (or bowl) with plastic wrap underneath.
  • Stir every day for 3-4 days.

— January Nordman

Throop Learning Garden

Photo by January Nordman.

Beautiful Swales

Urban Acupuncture to Cure Drought

Beautiful Swales is a Transition Pasadena initiative to popularize and facilitate the contouring of residential land. Why? To capture rainwater and percolate it to groundwater so that it is not allowed to run off into the street to storm drains and the ocean.
Sylvia and I are the dirt diggers pushing this idea, and we have happily discovered that Melanie Winter of Water LA has already figured out how to build coalitions to get the word out and to organize neighborhoods for workshop trainings and mutual, community-building effort. Removing a 2-foot section of curb ushers gutter water into a trench in the parking strip studded with river stones to keep the dirt sides of this “swale” from falling in. A tree at the bottom gets occasional deep watering during storms; native plants add beauty. Or, if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, Melanie will train installers in a green jobs program.
60% of the urban area is residential properties, so the amount of water conserved will be considerable, and a better plan than just using less of the water imported from Northern California. If each household creates a parking strip swale, this “Urban Acupuncture” will reduce the amount of water reaching storm drains. LA County now requires each city to clean water that reaches their drains, so Pasadena will save time and money by working with Water LA to reduce runoff.
Beautiful Swales has told Pasadena Planning and Water and Power Departments about the work of Water LA and invited their staff to hear Melanie Winter describe her program in detail at the Environmental Advisory Commission meeting at 6:00 pm October 11 at the Permit Center, 175 N. Garfield Ave. Please come to learn how you can make a swale in your parking strip and to show the Commission that Pasadenans support conserving rainwater, a precious resource. And visit to see more photos that show why we call them beautiful swales.

— Lin Griffith

Photo by Sylvia Holmes.

Repair Cafe comes to East Pasadena

A Real Example of the Sharing Economy

Saturday, October 29 — 10:30 am to 1:30 pm

Boys and Girls Club
3230 E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena

Bring your broken things and get them fixed for FREE at Repair Cafe Pasadena, which is coming to the Boys and Girls Club, Pasadena.  Appliances, clothing, electronics, dull tools and knives--Repair Cafe volunteers will try their best to fix them all.
Why not learn to repair your own stuff with skilled volunteers? Tools are available for fixing, or just watch and learn. Join the fun.
Bring something, take something at the Really Really Free Market where everything is 100% off! For this Halloween, assemble a totally new costume outfit without spending a dime. If you have a lightly used costume, bring it to exchange for a new one, or get the old one fixed.

Also seed giveaway and garden advice.
When something breaks, keep it out of the landfill and save money on a replacement by bringing it to Repair Café. Come on out and see your neighbors: everyone is welcome. It helps if attendees indicate that they plan to attend. Visit for more information and to respond.
The volunteers enjoy doing good while spending time together; a warm community has developed. You can volunteer even if it is your first visit to Repair Cafe. Indicate your talents here:

— Ginko Lee

Contact: Ginko Lee - (626) 788-2737 -
Repair Cafe is a project of Transition Pasadena. Co-sponsorship by Neighborhood Connections.

Repair Café Pasadena

Zero Waste Initiative

Good To-Go Campaign Update

Michiko Lynch continues with the Zero Waste booth at the Altadena Farmer’s  Market on the first Wednesday of every month from 4-7pm. She encourages people to use reusable containers and demonstrates how they can make their own. She also gives away multiple use cloth produce bags.

The booth is an opportunity to engage with a number of environmental groups; Citizens Climate Lobby, Beautiful Swales, Mulch for the People, and Repair Café. Conversation is always lively.

We are getting information out on statewide plastic bag ban initiatives on the ballot Nov 8.
We urge everyone to vote to keep the ban in place:
        NO   on Prop 65
        YES  on Prop 67

For more info check out:

— January Nordman

Good To-Go Campaign

Throop Learning Garden

Kombucha Brewing Workshop

with Cynthia Crosswhite

Saturday, November 59:30 am to 11:00 am

$10 donation requested for materials.

Cynthia will discuss the science of  scobies, brewing, and, materials needed to brew successfully. She will demonstrate simple techniques and recipes for brewing, flavoring, and serving kombucha. Class size is limited.
$10 donation requested for materials.

For more information and to reserve a space in the workshop email:

— January Nordman

Walk and Talk in District 1

Strong connection to neighbors makes a resilient community

For this reason a number of neighbors in Pasadena’s District 1 organized a “Walk and Talk” to highlight three neighbors’ homes that are embracing sustainability and community spirit. The area they covered is bounded by Woodbury, Garfield, Elizabeth, and Montana in NM Pasadena. A group of about 30 people assembled at the corner of Elizabeth and Garfield at 6pm on 9/17. Among those present were Pasadena City manager, Mr. Steve Mermell; Pasadena NW Manager, Ms. Lola Osborne; District 1 Councilman Tyrone Hampton’s Field Representative, Ms. Cushon Bell; as well as neighbors and presenters.

The first home visited belonged to a couple who have transformed their bungalow by adding passive solar, active solar panels, energy efficient appliances and lighting, water harvesting and reclamation(grey water), an ample vegetable garden, and public access in the front yard with an inviting bench and free library.

The second home belonged to an artist and his family. They have transformed their front yard to native drought tolerant plants with swales. Their focus centered on how to redesign your yard.

The third home belonged to a family that redid their yard to incorporate art, lush plants, and have a low water profile.  They used yucca as dramatic accents. This family revolves around art. They, too, have instituted  welcoming seating to invite their neighbors in, and surrounded it with original art.

Many thanks to Jill, Anthony, Eric, and Robert, and their families for sharing their homes with us.

We ended the walk with an opportunity for coffee and conversation at 6:45 at Sidewalk Café in the historic Hen’s Teeth Plaza. Pasadena Water and Power was on hand with information and a short presentation on Pasadena’s “Laundry to Landscape” rebate offer. Rolan Solayan and John Hoffner answered questions. Conversation ensued. The neighbors were interested in the program, and discussed ways to help each other install grey water systems.

Neighbors networked and came up with great ideas for the neighborhood. Jessica pitched the idea of organizing a gardening circle, that would be based on neighbors helping neighbors to install and maintain food gardens. Ed, a neighbor who serves on Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission, urged everyone to attend a commission meeting.
Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 6pm in the
        Permit Center Hearing Room
        175 N. Garfield
        Pasadena 91101
He reminded his neighbors that each voice can make a huge difference.

This type of sharing and interaction builds strong relationships. Strong relationships are the backbone of resilient communities.

— January Nordman

Transition Pasadena is a community group working to make positive changes in our community as we face global climate change, peak oil, and economic uncertainty. We share our skills working on projects to increase local resilience and strengthen community connections. Our members live in Pasadena, Altadena, and nearby neighborhoods including Highland Park and Eagle Rock.