Monterey County Gives! Sustainable Seaside’s 2020 “Big Idea”: Making Seaside the Best Bee City in California

The Big Idea

Pollinators are responsible for 1 in 3 bites we eat and the reproduction of 90 percent of the world’s flowering plant species. In addition to making it easier to be a backyard beekeeper in Seaside, the city of Seaside proudly became an affiliate member of Bee City USA in April 2019. Sustainable Seaside—one of eight local affiliates of Communities for Sustainable Monterey County—seeks to secure funding to support the continuation and expansion of pollinator gardens in 2020 and beyond. Funds are used to purchase drought-tolerant flowering plants that are recognized attractors for pollinating bee species, butterflies, birds and other insects. The volunteers also hope to install rainwater harvest systems where possible. In addition to beautiful pollinator gardens, this project will foster healthy, outdoor community-building opportunities for all ages.

CSMC honored as an outstanding nonprofit at NAMC’s 6th Annual Nonprofit Awards Celebration

The Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County honored Denyse Frischmuth and Communities for Sustainable Monterey County (CSMC) at their 6th Annual Nonprofit Awards Celebration September 13, 2019, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Monterey Bay in Seaside.  The award recognized CSMC as an outstanding nonprofit for promoting and advancing environmental sustainability.

CSMC’s work includes advocacy to our elected officials at the county and municipal levels to bring about green environmental policies resulting in reduced CO2 emissions and the decrease of ocean plastic pollution; awareness-raising programs and projects on issues central to climate change and the decline of our natural resources, and about solutions everyone can participate in, e.g. Green Living Tours, community organic gardens, local organic food farmers’ markets, waste reduction, composting, tree canopy coverage, and more.  

The impact of CSMC’s thousands of  volunteers’ work  is felt from Big Sur, to Marina and Salinas.

Joseph Grainger, Executive Director at Harden Foundation, presents the award to CSMC President, Denyse Frischmuth.
Catherine Crockett and Cathy Rivera (both with Sustainable Seaside chapter), stand with Denyse & Robert Frischmuth. (both with Sustainable Pacific Grove)

Youth-led Climate Strike – Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 – Listing of Central Coast rallies and actions

Youth-led CLIMATE ACTION STRIKE rallies are planned nationally, globally, and locally to urge governments and leaders to take real steps to end fossil fuel dependency and to transition to renewable, sustainable energy sources that promote climate justice and equity.

Show solidarity with students and young people in our own community by participating in one the several rallies planned on the Central Coast.

Friday, Sept 20, at 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM: CSUMB Otter Climate Strike & Sit-in on the Main Quad – the lawn in front of the Student Center, 3116 Inter-Garrison Rd, SEASIDE, Take a stand for our planet by walking out of class or work this Friday. Join millions of people around the globe demanding a shift away from fossil fuels. We will sit and have a discussion about the changes we want to see on this campus and in our lives.

Friday, Sept 20, at 3 PM – 6 PM: Students from SALINAS High School and the Sunrise Movement are hosting a #ClimateStrike. Join them and March 1.5 miles from Salinas High School (726 S. Main St., Salinas), to City Hall. Contact:
Event link:

Friday, Sept 20, at 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM: Women’s March Monterey Bay will hold a #ClimateStrike rally at Window on the Bay in MONTEREY, near the corner of Del Monte and Camino el Estero. Bring signs or poster paper and markers if you have some to share.
Event link:

Friday, Sept 20, at 3:30 PM to 6 PM: Youth Climate Rally for Global Student Climate Strike Day at City Plaza Park, 358 Main St, WATSONVILLE, CA. Hosted by Regeneration-Pájaro Valley Climate Action, Save Our Shores, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Bike Santa Cruz County, and Watsonville Film Festival. Pajaro Valley youth, from preschool to college age are invited to speak out about the climate emergency we’re facing and actions we can take in response! Adults are warmly encouraged to come and listen to the youth who will be leading this event. Event link:

Friday, Sept 20, at 5 PM – 6 PM:  Climate Strike Rally for Immigrants and Refugees at Window on the Bay in MONTEREY. Rally in solidarity with the worldwide youth-led Climate Strike and Immigrants’ Rights. We join together to demonstrate our commitment to kindness and responsibility for racial and economic justice. Climate change is Issue #1 around the world — hitting poor people of color first and worst. Signs provided or bring your own.
Event link:

Friday, Sept 20, at 5 PM – 7 PM: Another great way to support our youth: Art Opening of “Build Bridges, Not Walls” at the Monterey Peace & Justice Center, 1364 Fremont Blvd in SEASIDE. Featuring artwork by Carmel High School students on social justice.themes.
Event link:

4th Annual Flavors of the Harvest Celebration

Everyone’s Harvest invites all to the 4th Annual Flavors of the Harvest Celebration, Saturday, September 21, 2019, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the Goodwill Garden, 249 10th Street Marina CA — located between Monterey and Santa Cruz, just off Highway 1.

Free event. All proceeds support Everyone’s Harvest’s mission in Monterey County.


For more information, call 831-384-6961 or email

This year’s event will also feature a healthy cooking workshop with chef Sherrie Ransom of Green Being Cuisine using garden-fresh produce, and delicious appetizers from local chefs at Wild Fish, Parker-Lousseau Pastries & Cafe, and wine from Il Vecchio.  

All proceeds support Everyone’s Harvest’s mission in Monterey County.

September 21, 2019

Monterey County Hospitality Association recognizes Colleen Ingram

Colleen Ingram, a member of Sustainable Pacific Grove steering committee, was the recipient of a certificate of recognition awarded by the Monterey County Hospitality Association.  Colleen was recognized for her work to bring sustainability practices at Bernardus Lodge and Spa such as promoting recycling, repurposing items like shipping packages into storage containers and raising awareness about the plastic pollution.  Thanks to Colleen’s efforts, Bernardus has become a No Plastic Straws venue.  Congratulations Colleen!  You are an inspiration and model to follow.

~ MC Gives! Salinas Urban Forest Restoration Project

Visit the MC Gives! website for more information. Donate through December 31st, 2018 midnight.

CSMC is proud to be once again selected to participate in the Monterey County Gives Campaign!

Thanks to generous matching contributions, your year-end gift-giving to Communities for Sustainable Monterey County will have an even greater impact. Our BIG IDEA for 2019 is to improve the urban tree canopy in Salinas.

The benefits of a healthy tree canopy go far beyond providing oxygen, filtering water and increasing property value. Recent studies show that urban vegetation, including trees, slows heartbeats, lowers blood pressure, encourages outdoor activity and relaxes brain wave patterns. 

A healthy urban tree canopy is between 25-30%. According to a report in early 2015, the City of Salinas had a tree canopy of 7.6%. To make matters worse, on February 17, 2017 Salinas had a devastating wind storm which resulted in a loss of between 800-1000 trees.

The good news is the City of Salinas has recently committed to planting trees in sidewalk easements and parks over the next several years. Sustainable Salinas wants to help support the City in their efforts to increase the urban forest.  Sustainable Salinas will use money raised to: 

  • purchase trees
  • purchase automatic irrigation systems
  • provide information to residents about city tree permits and requirements
  • educate tree stewards about proper care and planting. 

The City of Salinas has agreed to match funds raised up to $10,000. Help us beautify and Restore Salinas’ Urban Forest!

~ Sustainable Salinas Honors the Legacy of César Chávez

On Friday, March 23, 2018 César E. Chávez Elementary School hosted its annual César Chávez Peace March & Celebration.  The event commemorated Chávez’s birthday, March 31.

A series of activities honored the birthday of the late American labor leader and civil rights activist. Students participated in a Peace March – ending up at Soberanes Park to plant a flowering cherry tree donated by Sustainable Salinas.

Chávez Elementary Principal Petra Martinez-Diaz said she wants the students to follow the same peaceful ways of Chávez.  “We want to make sure that students know that there are ways to effect change.” Martinez-Diaz said. “If there’s something that you see that is wrong and you want to try to fix it, there are ways to do it without having to be violent.”

Speakers included Salinas Councilman Scott Davis, Leti Hernandez of Sustainable Salinas, and Daniel Hernandez of  Salinas Local Urban Gardeners project.

Excerpts from the article appearing in the March 22, 2018 article by Juan Reyes in the Monterey Herald. Read more HERE.


~ Plastic Pollution Activities

CSMC partners with many other non-profit organizations to educate our community and influence legislation to reducing plastic pollutions in our oceans. Progress on this issue includes Carmel City’s passing of an ordinance to require restaurants to serve compostable straws and service ware.  Other cities in Monterey County are working on similar ordinances.   To help restaurants make the transition to paper or reusable straws, CSMC is working with our partners and has created a straws section on this site to learn more and take actions that will help and support restaurants make these changes.

To educate the public on single-use plastics impact on the environment, CSMC has created an interactive exhibit that debuted at Whalefest and has been hosted at Earth Day events and schools in Big Sur and Seaside.  The display educates visitors on the devastating impact plastics have on marine life and our environment, dispels misconceptions of plastics’ recyclability, and offers viable solutions and actions that individuals and groups can take to reduce plastics waste altogether in everyday life.

CSMC volunteers have created an owner’s manual for those who would like to be trained and host the exhibit at their event or school.  The recommended school format is to have the display hosted by a class who will receive training and then share it with other classes for a week.

The vertical and horizontal display spans two 6’ tables put in an L-shape with the interactive activity on one side and on the other, a solutions display that includes plastic alternative samples, tips to reduce single-use plastics, give-aways of a skip-a-straw/save-a-turtle buttons, Life Without Plastic catalogs, and Last-Plastic Straw calling cards to leae behind at restaurants.  It also includes some plastic pollutions related dvds for viewing and the beginnings of a library of collective actions groups can take to protect our oceans.  If you would like to host the display at your event or school, or contribute a recommended collective action to add to the display, please contact us at or 831-200-3655.


Here are some actions individuals can take to reduce single-use plastic straws.

                                                 Advocate to your local restaurant

 Wear this button when dining out and give to your servers to wear as a reminder of

a simple thing we all can do to curb plastic pollution.  If you would like buttons, please click here to tell us how many buttons you would like and to what address to have them delivered.The Last Plastic Straw site has more best practices and resources for restaurants.


                                            Carry your own reusable straw 

Until reusable straws become more widely available we recommend you check out sites like the Last Plastic Straw,, or etsy’s AandEStraws from a Salinas local woman.  Local stores where you can buy reusable straws include Monterey Bay Aquarium and Lilify in Monterey, Bookworks and Pavels in Pacific Grove, EcoCarmel in Carmel and Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing.


Reward and Thank Ocean Friendly Restaurants   

CSMC expresses our gratitude to the environmentally friendly restaurants in the Monterey Area.  Though this list is not exhaustive, we thank the following restaurants for their sustainable practices that often go beyond this plastic straw initiative:  In Pacific Grove:  Passionfish (no straws served at all), Jennini’s (reusable metal straws), Pavels, La Mia Cucina, Fandangos, The Beach House, Happy Girl Kitchen, Julias, Taste Cafe, Holly’s, Mandos, Bookworks Cafe.   In Monterey:  The Aquarium’s Cafe and Cindy’s Waterfront, Montrio Bistro, Hula’s, Clement’s C Restaurant and Bar,  Alvarado Brewing, Abalonettis, Schooners, Sand Bar & Grill, Melville’s Tavern.  In Carmel: Basil Seasoning

We will work with our cities’ hospitality organizations to publish a list of Ocean Friendly restaurants for our eco-conscious residents and visitors. If you see other restaurants who have switched, please send an email with their name for us to include in this list.



~ Sustainable Seaside and the City of Seaside partner on Roberts Lake Eco-Recreation Project

Seaside >> By this time next year, a section of Roberts Lake in Seaside will have been transformed into an outdoor classroom offering environmental education programming and a nature-based play area.

The city of Seaside, along with Sustainable Seaside, is one of three U.S. cities that has been selected as a Building Better Communities grant recipient and awarded $150,000 from the American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association.

“The Roberts Lake project is important for Seaside because we noticed there are children who never experience water — whether it’s the beach or our lakes,” said Gloria Stearns, Seaside’s economic development manager. “This project gives us an opportunity to help them become exposed to water, water conservation, water ecology and water quality.”

Stearns said the city had been toying around with the idea for some time and when they approached Sustainable Seaside to collaborate, they jumped at the chance to become involved.

Sustainable Seaside is a group of concerned citizens working toward solutions to environmental challenges in the region, promoting sustainable living practices since 2008.

The grass-roots group has been on the forefront of several environmental issues including opposition to the Monterey Downs project in Seaside, work as proponents of the closure of the Cemex sand-mining operation in Marina and now its partnering with the city of Seaside to revitalize and maintain its parks.

“It’s quite gratifying,” said Catherine Crockett, chair of Sustainable Seaside. “We’ve been working to build support and educate people and its finally coming to fruition.”

The projects were chosen based on several criteria including water components, play value, education value, proximity to American Water’s service areas, relevance of the project to the request for proposal project parameters, use of natural play materials and opportunities for American Water employee volunteer involvement.

“We are proud to help these communities create public projects that provide environmental education opportunities in a fun and engaging way,” said Laura Martin, president of American Water Charitable Foundation, in a press release. “The projects will not only benefit the children and families in these communities, but they will also encourage greater interaction with and appreciation for our nation’s water resources.”

The Roberts Lake grant will be used to establish greater use and awareness of the lake for water-based ecology education for children, as well as offer nature-based recreation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

“Successful communities invest in their parks,” said Craig Malin, Seaside’s city manager, in a release.

The grant funding will help Seaside leverage investment in its parks and programming, especially for youth and seniors, he said.

The new Roberts Lake Eco-Recreation Station will occupy 8,500 square feet of the 5.7-acre park, and will be designed with the purpose of creating community, including an outdoor classroom structure and nature-inspired play equipment.

The project will be a collaboration between the foundation, the National Recreation and Park Association, Cal Am, and the city of Seaside with Sustainable Seaside advising on course content and age-appropriate materials.

Stearns said the project is required to be completed within a year and envisions the eco-recreation station opening in July 2018.

The other two U.S. cities that received funding are Palmer Park in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, which is receiving $150,000 to revitalize the neighborhood park and Peoria, Illinois, which will also receive a grant in the same amount to build a new public park.

The American Water Charitable Foundation was established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water — Cal Am’s parent company — and the National Recreation and Park Association is a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity.

James Herrera can be reached at 831-726-4344.

~ Safe Ag Safe Schools

Safe Ag Safe Schools or SASS (formerly The Safe Strawberry Monterey Bay Working Group) is a coalition of 30-plus organizations and individuals working together to reduce pesticide exposure threats to the Monterey Bay region’s residents. The focus of SASS is to keep school children safe from hazardous pesticides that cause harm such as asthma and developmental delays.  The group was originally convened in response to a proposal to approve the carcinogenic fumigant pesticide methyl iodide on agricultural fields in California.  SASS seeks to inform and mobilize the people in the Monterey Bay region to make change and together keep schoolchildren safe.

As Safe Strawberry Monterey, the group successfully pushed the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution calling on the state to ban methyl iodide.  This local campaign was an important part of the statewide movement that successfully forced methyl iodide’s withdrawal from the market in 2012.

Currently, SASS is focused on increasing grassroots pressure on government decision makers to phase out hazardous drift-prone pesticides over the long term, and taking action to reduce hazardous pesticide use near schools and residential communities in the shorter term. To better protect our school children, we are calling for policies to be enacted by the County Ag Commissioners and the Department of Pesticide Regulation. These policies are to create a one-mile “buffer zone” around schools and a one-week advance notification to schools of any pesticide applications within one mile of school grounds.


A 2014 California Department of Public Health report found that 1 in 4 Monterey County schoolchildren attend school within 1/4-mile of fields that apply some of the most hazardous agricultural pesticides on the market.  That is the highest rate in the state.  The report also showed that Latino schoolchildren are most heavily impacted–320% more likely than white children to attend schools  near the heaviest use of hazardous pesticides in Monterey County.

Childen at Risk


Help SASS inform and mobilize the people in the Monterey Bay region to make change and together protect schoolchildren from the health threats of hazardous drift-prone pesticides.

Most immediately, help lobby our County Ag Commissioners or the Department of Pesticide Regulation to enact two policies:

1)     One-mile protective “buffer zones” around schools that are free from drift-prone hazardous pesticides; and

2)     One-week advanced notification of schools of any pesticide applications within one mile of school grounds.

Attend Meetings

Safe Ag Safe Schools has branches that meet in both the Salinas and Watsonville areas.  SASS consists of hundreds of community members who work on a voluntary basis.    Anyone interested is welcome to attend meetings.

Contact Us:
Sarait Martinez 

Organizing Director for Californians for Pesticide Reform

Cell: 831-512-3316 


December 2, 2016 – Salinas Public Hearing on California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s proposed new rules to limit the use of pesticides around schools:

Monterey County Herald

 May 10, 2016 – Salinas News conference at the Ag Commissioners headquarters on a pilot program to notify schools of pesticide application:

Telemundo TV



Monterey County Herald

The Californian

Visit the Safe Ag Safe Schools website for more information: