~ 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

Email:  sarait@pesticidereform.org 
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   http://www.montereyherald.com/health/20161202/salinas-hearing-on-pesticide-use-draws-300

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

Telemundo TV http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/-revelan-programa-para-mejor-proteger-a-nios-contra-las-pesticidas-en-la-costa-central/39478746

KION TV http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/new-program-to-warn-families-about-pesticides-near-schools/39479922

KSBW TV http://www.ksbw.com/news/pesticide-exposure-in-children-studied-in-new-report/39480046

Monterey County Herald http://www.montereyherald.com/business/20160510/monterey-ag-leaders-announce-pilot-program-to-notify-schools-of-pesticide-application

The Californian http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2016/05/10/county-launches-pestcides-pilot-program/84210574/

Visit the Safe Ag Safe Schools website for more information:

~ Water Conservation Help

Watergreyorg Saving Information

The Greywater Guild is on the scene, a group of professionals banded together to ensure that the quality of their work remains at its highest.

Their goals include:

  • Education of the public about the value and availability of greywater conservation.
  • Promotion of the successful installation of the large number of simple sustainable greywater systems necessary to significantly reduce the amount of water drawn from local rivers and aquifers.
  • Providing a means for the homeowner to maintain their landscapes through greywater irrigation  instead of fresh water irrigation
  • Encouragement of the use of simple sustainable systems that minimize environmental impact and maximize longevity.
  • Providing sustainable livelihoods to environmentally concerned individuals and companies working toward water conservation.

You may learn more about them through their website: http://www.montereygreywater.com/ or call 831 373 6752.


Contact the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District for conservation classes and devices. Businesses get a discount, residents must do everything they can to conserve.

Upcoming Classes:

Rainwater harvestingSee Events & Education page for more details and locations.

CalAm offices and MPWMD offices both offer free water saving devices.

California American Water’s local office – 511 Forest Lodge Road, Suite 100, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Monterey Peninsula Water Management District – 5 Harris Court, Monterey, CA 93940

Free Devices

  • Showerheads
  • Kitchen faucet aerators
  • Bathroom faucet aerators
  • Hand-held showerheads
  • Automatic shut-off hose nozzles (positive action or trigger nozzles)
  • Hose timers
  • Dye tablets
  • Rain sensors for automatic irrigation systems
  • Shower timers
  • Soil moisture sensors
  • Water wise gardening for Monterey County CD
  • Rain gauges

~ Monterey Seed Library


Seed LibraryHave time to volunteer? We received a generous donation of seeds that need to be stuffed into packets and labeled. Whether you have 30 minutes or 3 hours, your help is appreciated. Stop by or call Francesca at the library and we’ll arrange the rest.

Thank you for being a part of the Monterey Seed Library community! We hope that you’ve enjoyed growing plant seeds checked-out from the Library and would love to hear stories or see photographs that you’re willing to share with our growing community.

Francesca Garibaldi
Monterey Library, 625 Pacific Street

The TPP Trade Treaty & Environmental Law

Diverse groups such as the Sierra Club, Electronic Frontier Foundation, health care professionals, environmental advocacy groups, unions, and numerous other organizations, along with both conservative and progressive legislators are all opposed to the TPP Fast Track, called a Trojan Horse trade treaty.
See below for details why.

You are strongly urged to write Congressman Sam Farr a letter urging his NO vote on fast tracking the TPP. Your hand written letter is worth 100 emails.

100 W. Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone calls are good too, and keep calling: 831-424-3339

The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) is a so-called trade agreement that would grant transnational corporations the power to challenge virtually any environmental law, regulation or court decision that negatively affects their expectation of profits as a “regulatory taking” through international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems.  It is being negotiated in secret, with some provisions having been leaked to the public. It is being written by 800 corporate advisors.

Clean Green and Fair TradeSo far, portions of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act have already been successfully rolled back under similar “trade” provisions. The TPP goes further by giving individual corporations the power to challenge democratic policymaking through a tribunal system that takes precedence over domestic courts and elected legislatures.

Transnational corporations are attacking clean air rules in Peru, anti-mining laws in El Salvador and a court decision against the oil giant Chevron in Ecuador, among many other cases. The TPP extends this system throughout the Pacific Rim.

View the Sample TPP Letter for talking points.
More information is on this website: Citizens Trade Campaign.

The TPP will set up a NAFTA style tribunal of corporate attorneys who can overrule any and every local jurisdiction whenever profit or PROJECTED profit is threatened. Here is how these “courts”  are working for Canadians.

  • Canada wanted to ban the neurotoxin MMT, a gasoline additive, and was sued, apologized and forced to pay a $13 million settlement.
  • A U.S. waste disposal firm challenged Canada’s ban on exporting toxic PCB waste; Canada was fined $.605 million.U.S. Lumber company Pope and Talbot was awarded $870,000 for challenging Canada’s lumber export rules.

    Canada is liable for as yet undetermined damages for their requirement that energy companies invest in research and development.

    AbitibiBowater was awarded $130 million when it refused to return timber and water rights to the Crown after closing its last mill in 2008.

    $15 million was awarded to St. Mary’s after a local zoning ordinance was enacted to prevent their quarry from polluting groundwater near Hamilton, Ontario.

Keep calling Sam Farr: 831-424-3339!

~ Santa Rita/Bolsa Knolls Watershed Group

We are a local group raising awareness about the impact of urban and agricultural runoff on our local watershed. Through grants we are able to hold events like the Santa Rita Creek Fair, as well as rain barrel building work shops, storm drain stenciling,oral history project, and educational presentations.

Here are some photos from our recent Fair. More information about us is at our website.


2014 Santa Rita Creek Fair

Robin converses on the significance of “Watershed.”

2014 Santa Rita Creek Fair (hOURbank)

Catherine Crockett of hOURbank tables with a friend to explain the benefits of a sharing economy.

2014 Santa Rita Creek Fair (kids' corner)72

Kids Corner at the fair

2014 Santa Rita Creek Fair (SSAL table)72

Sustainable Salinas is the sponsoring action group for this project.

Commentary by Heidi Zamzow

Heidi Zamzow:
Solar energy potential gains traction locally

Monterey County Herald
By Heidi Zamzow, Guest commentary

POSTED: 12/12/14, 4:25 PM PST

Scotland now gets more of its energy from renewables than from coal, gas and nuclear sources combined. Here in the U.S., the Golden State continues to lead the charge in photovoltaics, more than doubling its already sizable solar capacity in the last two years. Yolo County recently became “grid positive,” producing far more power from solar than it uses. And Stanford researchers propose California could be powered with 100 percent renewables (half from solar) by 2050 while netting 220,000 new jobs and saving the state $150 billion per year.

Yet in Monterey County, only a handful of solar installations are in place — a fraction of projected capacity. Daunted by high upfront costs and a complex landscape of financing, technology and market drivers, small municipalities with limited resources may turn a blind eye to the sunny prospect of energy independence, despite chafing under the budget burn brought on by rising utility bills.

While some may be feeling the heat, others are seeing the light. Last month, representatives from 18 local and regional agencies attended “The Economics of Solar,” an invitation-only forum which brought together decision-makers and experts with the knowledge needed to turn Monterey County into a solar powerhouse. The event was conceived and organized by Communities for Sustainable Monterey County (CSMC), an all-volunteer grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to “meet the challenge of declining resources and climate change by helping communities transition to sustainable practices.” CSMC’s bold goal is to see public buildings throughout the county generating their own power from solar panels. Any publicly owned site might do: schools, libraries, senior centers, town halls, police stations, parking lots. The forum focused on the economic benefits of switching to renewables using proven strategies that can be adapted by virtually any organization, regardless of size. The game changer? Regional collaboration.

Collaborative procurement has become the go-to approach for taking on the financial and technical challenges to public investment in solar energy. When agencies coordinate resources and put multiple sites out for bid, economies of scale are captured on every level, from competitive bidding to project management. Savings in administrative costs can be as great as 70 percent. Standardized documents, financing, and installation are more efficient, so communities achieve their goals more quickly and easily.

Silicon Valley is already seeing the benefits of such collaboration. In 2012, the region successfully completed the largest multi-agency procurement of renewable power in the nation, whittling installed cost per watt to as little as $0.08 per kilowatt-hour, far below the going rate with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Collectively, the project expects to generate roughly $70 million in local economic activity and more than 300 jobs. The estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to planting 2,800 acres of trees.

Since CSMC’s November forum, a flurry of activity has sprung up on the solar front. Elected officials and public agencies have begun to recognize a golden opportunity to don the mantle of forward-thinking leadership under the cover of negligible risk to their constituents. Participants can fully evaluate pros and cons before committing any resources to the procurement effort. A regional solar project provides a way to fulfill fiduciary responsibilities to guard the public coffers and meet mandates for reducing emissions at the same time.

If our community leaders want to get with the program, however, they’d better hurry. The target closing date for expressing interest (by submitting a simple site survey) is Dec. 19, and project coordinators plan to launch the initiative by the end of January 2015.

Heidi Zamzow is the communications and outreach coordinator for Sustainable Pacific Grove, one of CSMC’s eight member groups. For more on the regional collaborative, see solarroadmap.com/seed2.

Kay Cline & Sustainable Seaside – Hall of Fame

Kay Cline AwardSustainable Seaside and Kay Cline (2nd from the left) have been quite honored to be inducted as members of the Fort Ord National Monument (FONM) Hall of Fame on National Public Lands Day on November 15, 2014.

In spite of that day starting with a good rain, about 100 people showed up to help with BLM projects and to celebrate this beautiful place.

Seaside feels fortunate to have wonderful open space so near their city and to have it protected in perpetuity as the 111th National Monument established in the United States as proclaimed the Fort Ord National Monument on April 20, 2012 by President Barack Obama. If you haven’t visited there yet, take a hike from the easily accessible Gigling and 8th or from the Intergarrison parking lot. A member of Sustainable Seaside will gladly lead you on a hike!

We strongly urge our groups, and the interested public, to read the detailed documentation of the work and involvement over the years Sustainable Seaside undertook with Fort Ord and the National Monument to bring them this recognition. This shows focus and perseverance.

Also, check out www.fortfriends.org for more information on trail bike rides and other ways to enjoy this wilderness in Monterey Bay backyard. Also, look for information on the monthly FONM support meetings held at the Oldemeyer Center, 968 Hilby, by FORT Friends.

Connect with Sustainable Seaside for more on their other activities.


Desmond Purpleson


Locavore pinterest chambray affogato art party, forage coloring book typewriter. Bitters cold selfies, retro celiac sartorial mustache.