Farm To Table Dinner & Auction: Food. Fun. Friends. Awesome!

October 5th’s Farm to Table Dinner & Auction was a blast! A community function with local support and a local twist.

Delectable local food. Community table dining. A chance to meet friends or sit with those you know. An evening capped off with a riveting auction with outstanding offerings.

Thank you to all who attended. We think the pictures tell the story.

GTLA F2T photo 10.14

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Learning History While Biking? You Bet.

Another Fun Historic Bike Tour of Los Altos

Almost 20 cyclists enjoyed another Historic Bike Tour of Los Altos on the last weekend of September.

Hosted by GreenTown Los Altos and the Los Altos History Museum, it was a great way to get mentally and physically healthy with a short bike ride that took a close look at some historic properties and learn a little history.

The approximately 8-mile ride ended at the History Museum for lunch and a tour of the bicycle exhibition, “Pedal Power: From Wacky to Workhorse”.  The show, now closed, was very popular and well attended.  Noting that this was the 3rd historic bike tour, several people asked, “Will there be a tour next year?”  Gary Hedden, event organizer, only replied, “We’ll see.”


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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun — Repairing Bikes!

Egan Cadette Girl Scout Troop Hosts Bike Maintenance Class

Last Friday, if you were in the right place at the right time, you would have seen a Bike Train of Girl Scouts riding from Egan Middle School to Performance Bicycle Shop on El Camino Real. They met Friday after school, decided on a safe route to the bike shop, and rode together to their class. There, Troop 61058 was met by other Girl Scouts from Troop 60785.

Instructor Bobby from Performance, led the girls through a variety of topics ranging from proper helmet fit to overall bike safety to practical maintenance issues, including how to change a flat tire and

GTLA 10.14 bike maintenance

correctly put a chain back on.  He even touched upon good biking practices such as effective gear changing and the benefits of correct air pressure.

The girls were guided through hands-on real world scenarios.  Everyone had a chance to get her hands dirty.  All left with a new knowledge of bike care,


bike repair, and properly inflated tires.

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Blue, Green and Purple Are the New Orange!

By many measures, the First Annual Glass Pumpkin Patch Sept. 13 & 14 in Lincoln Park was a huge success. An imGTLA 10.14 Glass Pumpkinspressive array of glass pumpkins of all sizes, colors and even shapes. Hundreds of people who attended, buying the pumpkins that were just right for them.

If you attended you saw the  beautiful glass work displayed on tables spanning much of the park. Just walking through the displays you could feel the excitement in the crowd collecting and organizing a special display to take home. There were first time buyers, along with veteran collectors, eager to attend a Glass Pumpkin event held in their Los Altos/Los Altos Hills community. Lincoln Park created a natural ambiance for the glass pumpkin displays with light filtering through the trees, illuminating the colored glass.

There was also a full table of Sea Shells and several glass bowls intermixed within the displays. Don’t worry if you missed the Glass Pumpkin event in Los Altos this year. It will return again next year with its magic, beauty, and charm.

GreenTown Los Altos is grateful for the benefit provided by Walker & Bowes to our programs supporting outreach and education for green initiatives for the Los Altos community. Without these funds, the programs and events GreenTown volunteers initiate and support, would not be possible.  Get added to our mail list at, or look for announcements about next year’s event!

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Gov. Brown Rocks! Signs Plastic Bag Ban for California!

It’s been thought about, talked about and passed in local legislation. But statewide? No one but California has totally banned plastic bags.

Governor Brown did what no other state has done to date: completely banned plastic bags. Californians Against Waste reported this today:

Just this morning, Governor Brown signed SB 270, the first single-use plastic bag ban approved by any state legislature, into law.

It’s a history-making moment that signals a change in the way we address single-use problem products that are polluting our environment and wildlife–and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you for your calls, letters, and contributions in support of these efforts over the years! This is indeed a day of celebration for all of us after more than a decade of work on the issue.

Forty years ago there were no plastic grocery bags; four years from now, we’ll forget there ever were.


Mark Murray
Executive Director


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This Year’s Legislative Session – Good News for the Environment

This year’s California legislative session ended with some significant victories for the environmental community.

Bad Community Choice Energy bill (AB2145) failed to come up for a vote

GreenTown advocated against AB2145 which posed a significant threat to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs.  CCAs enable local governments to manage procurement of electricity for residents and businesses. CCAs in California (Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power) have resulted in a significantly greater share of electricity coming from clean, renewable sources (50%+ compared with PG&E’s 19%) often at a lower cost than electricity from PG&E. Los Altos staff is closely watching an effort spearheaded by Sunnyvale to assess the feasibility and one day create a local CCA. Los Altos Council member Jan Pepper illustrated her support for these programs in an article she wrote for the Mercury News.

“Community Choice is the state’s most powerful tool to give communities local control over electricity supply, and rapidly build clean energy programs that will put Californians back to work, and combat the climate crisis.” said Margaret Okuzumi, Sunnyvale resident and member of a coalition Californians for Energy Choice.

California passes landmark single-use plastic bag ban (SB270)!

If Gov. Brown signs SB270 into law (and it is anticipated he will), California will be the  first state in the country to outlaw plastic bags. About 1/3 of the state’s population are already subject to local bag bans, which made the legislature’s job a bit easier. As a result of local bans, plastic bag use in California has dropped from approx. 30 million bags in 2006 to about 13 million bags now (source: Californians Against Waste).

Other successes

Important successes this year include the passage of the following bills [excerpted from California's League of Conservation Voters]:

  • SB 270 (Padilla, de León, Lara) bans single-use plastic bags
  • AB 1739 (Dickinson) SB 1168, (Pavley) & SB 1319 (Pavley) regulates groundwater
  • AB 1471 (Rendon) places revised water bond on the November 2014 ballot
  • SB 1204 (Lara, Pavley) invests cap-and-trade auction revenues into zero emission truck, bus and other heavy duty technologies
  • SB 1275 (de León) helps put 1 million clean, electric vehicles on California roads
  • SB 1019 (Leno) requires disclosure of flame retardant chemicals in furniture
  • AB 2188 (Muratsuchi) streamlines permitting for residential rooftop solar energy

The session was not without its notable disappointments, including the failure of a fracking moratorium bill SB 1132 (Mitchell) that had near-universal support from environmental and environmental justice groups.

Double Rebates for Beautiful Low-Water Landscapes Until Sept. 30

As part of its Sustainable Living Speaker Series at Los Altos Library, GreenTown Los Altos recently hosted a seminar on high- to low-water landscape conversions. Speakers Frank Niccoli, adjunct instructor at Foothill and Merit Colleges, and Lori Morris, owne of landscape design company Beneficial Gardens (, detailed the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) rebate process and introduced a wide variety of low-water plants to replace water-guzzling landscaping favorites.

Carpenteria - a California native, with rose-like flowers

Carpenteria – a California native, with rose-like flowers

With landscaping accounting for up to 70% of residential water use and an “exceptional drought” in full swing, the SCVWD earlier this year doubled its landscape conversion rebates to encourage homeowners to replace lawns and other high-water landscaping with less thirsty alternatives. The $2 per square foot rebate (even more in some areas) could cover a do-it-yourselfer’s planting and water-saving irrigation costs; the rebate is available to those whose projects are approved by September 30th. The SCVWD offers everything from garden design tips to lists of nurseries and irrigation supply stores to assist you in the process. A list of local landscapers who have completed three or more low-water conversions is there, too, for those who would prefer to watch the transformation from a comfortable chair.

Dwarf Pomegranate

Dwarf Pomegranate


As Niccoli and Morris pointed out, your low water landscape can be as beautiful as the thirsty landscape it replaces. The plants pictured here are all on the SCVWD’s 15-page list of approved low-water plants. Additional images can be found at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency’s Water-Wise Gardening Guide. To take advantage of double rebates (until September 30), visit the SCVWD’s landscaping page.

Lawn alternative, creeping red fescue

Lawn alternative, creeping red fescue



Find Your Perfect Glass Pumpkin! Sept. 13 & 14, Lincoln Park

GPPWith fall and Halloween soon approaching, we thought it was the perfect time to have an art event to celebrate the season. Enter the First Glass Pumpkin Patch in Los Altos.
Come enjoy this one of a kind event, to be held at Lincoln Park on University Avenue, September 13 -14, 10am-5pm. San Jose glass artists, Walker & Bowes, have handcrafted hundreds of beautiful glass works for sale. Discover the magic and colors of glass art! Find gifts for family and friends.

A percentage of the proceeds from the Glass Pumpkin Patch will benefit GreenTown Los Altos, a local non-profit working to make our community more environmentally healthy today and for future generations.

Find out more information visit

This event is sponsored by: Los Altos Community Foundation, The Hitz Foundation, Passerelle Investment Company, John McBirney DDS, and many individuals in the Los Altos community.

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GreenTown Energy Day at the Farmer’s Market

GreenTown Los Altos hosted an Energy Day at the Farmers’ Market, August 14. It was

a chance to promote the latest in good energy saving practices in solar, electric vehicles and home energy efficiency.

Energy Day Sign

Our fearless leader, Mike McTighe and the Energy Day sign

Mike Balma with SunWork, a local non-profit solar installation company explained

that it can make sense even for homes with low energy bills. If you have sun on your

roof, you should consider solar. His work is featured in a January blog post.

Waidy Lee brought her RAV 4. She has been driving electric cars for 15 years and

said, “I have never run out of charge!” Joel Bartlett showed off his brand new BMW i3,

introduced just this year. He got the range extender, so he can drive to San Francisco

and back without stopping for a charge.


Looking at a map of available plug share stations.

Patti Sexton with Acterra showed off updated versions of LEDs. These lights keep

getting better and the cost keeps coming down. With their 20-year life, the life time

operating cost easily beats conventional bulbs. See an earlier blog post for some good

information. Patti and Lisa Dorn, also with Acterra, told visitors about Green@Home. This program

looks at your energy use and suggests changes that will save you energy and money.


LEDs are SO easy to light up!

Check it out here.

Greywater Seminar for Homeowners and Design Pros

GREYWATER SEMINAR for homeowners and design professionals
June 4, 7-9pm, Los Altos Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Save water, money and get a rebate by reusing water at your home. Learn about simple laundry to landscape greywater systems as well as more complex systems. Three greywater professionals will share their experience and knowledge on every aspect from the plumbing modifications to plant selection and irrigation decisions. Sign up for hands-on workshops at end of the seminar. As a special bonus, Paul Kephart from Rana Creek, designer of Academy of Sciences green roof will present innovative and beautiful greywater options for residential and commercial installations.

Deva Luna, EarthCare Landscaping
Forrest Linebarger, VOX Design Group
Paul Kephart, Rana Creek

Sponsored by GreenTown Los Altos, Los Altos Hills Water Conservation Committee, Acterra, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, Purissima Hills Water District, CalWater
Questions? Contact Kit Gordon

Speaker Bios:
Deva Luna, Manager, Horticulturalist and Principal Designer, EarthCare Landscaping. Deva Luna has a degree in ‘Plants and Art’ from U.C. Davis, as well as continuing studies in Permaculture, Landscape Design, and Edible Gardening. She is also a Master Gardener, lecturer, credentialed teacher, certified greywater installer and Bay Friendly Landscape Designer.

Forrest Linebarger, CEO, VOX Design Group: A graduate of UC Berkeley, Forrest has spent decades committed to sustainable design and building.  He has created environmentally sensitive designs that are cost competitive with conventional construction.  He is nationally known for his design of zero energy homes, use of green roofs, and innovating means of creating healthly indoor air environments.

Paul Kephart, President, Rana Creek. Paul is one of the country’s foremost ecological authorities on green roofs, living walls, and watershed management systems. A trained biologist, he has a profound understanding of natural processes and sustainability, and how they impact developed landscapes. With almost thirty years of master planning, architectural design, landscape design, and project management, Paul uses art, ecology and science to reclaim natural resources  Paul is the creator of the Green Roof for the California Academy of Sciences and numerous other world-class projects.

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