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   Novato Live Well Network: Nurturing the Body, Sustaining the Community
(415) 897-2302

Novato Live Well Network
P.O. Box 1647
Novato, CA 94948-1647

David Selzer
Dietrich Stroeh
Donna West
Charlotte Torgovitsky
Veronica Valero
Vicky Meblin

Clark Blasdell
Nancy Boyce, RN, MA
Nancy Niche
Nichole Marelich
Steve Quirt
Fernando Agudelo-Silva, Ph.D.
Miguel Villarreal
Rita Widergren


Veronica Valero

Updated: 10-10--2012



THE VISION of the Novato Live Well Network is to build a healthy, sustainable community where people from diverse backgrounds come together to reconnect with the land, procure, grow, and preserve food in a sustainable manner for themselves and others, and cultivate a truly integrated community. We define sustainability as, "meeting the needs of all people "without threatening the health of the natural environment or the well-being of future generations." (Source: Worldwatch Institute)

THE MISSION of the Novato Live Well Network is to: build and support a network of local community gardens that enable people from diverse backgrounds to grow food and foster community in a sustainable manner; work with and educate families, schools, and our community about the positive benefits of choosing sustainable ways of eating, gardening and living by providing programs that support nutrition education, our local food-shed, school and community gardens, and sustainable living practices.

FEB. 23, 2013 EVENT:Grown In Marin Workshop:
Building Raised Beds & Learn How to Garden On a Grid Layout

When: Saturday, February 23, 2013 (In case of heavy rain – the class will be held the following Saturday, March 2)
Time: 10AM – 12 Noon
Location:  Green Point Nursery, 275 Olive Avenue, Novato.
To learn more: visit our Community Garden Page

OCTOBER 10, 2012:
City Council Approved the Novato Community Garden Project:
With over six years of hard work by a core group of Novato Live Well Network volunteers, on June 12, 2012 the Novato Community Garden Project finally met all the City of Novato requirements and received a unanimous approval of their plan. This includes a 25 year lease of City property at O’Hair Park off of Novato Boulevard, adjacent to the Dogbone Meadow Park. To learn more, visit our Novato Community Garden webpage.

Novato Community Garden Challenging Businesses to "Match the Patch"    
As a current ad running on network TV touts, "Small businesses are the life-blood of the community," volunteers of the Novato Community Garden Project (NCG) are counting on this as they prepare to send out solicitations to local businesses in hopes of an 'infusion' of that 'B-Positive' blood-type.

The earliest support in the fledgling fundraising effort came from Patch, USA, the parent of our own Novato Patch. "We believe in this," said Erika Perkins from Patch, New York. "It's really important for us to support community projects like these and we like to be seen as a trend-setter. It's pretty typical for media outlets to donate 'visibility,' but you can't build a raised bed with that, can you?" Patch donated $500 in cash in August read more...

WOULD YOU LIKE A GARDEN PLOT in the Novato Community Garden? We are accepting "Applications of Interest." You will be the first to know about the progress in obtaining funding to build the garden and the first to receive information on how to apply for a plot. You will also be added to our email list to keep you updated.
Click to Download a "Application of Interest" In English
Click to Download a "Application of Interest" In Spanish/Espanol

APRIL 15, 2011: The Novato Community Garden Committee is excited to announce we have completed Phase One of our project. Working with the City of Novato, and with support of our City Council, a suitable garden site has been identified and reserved at O'Hair Park, the site design approved, a well has been drilled with services generously donated by Clear Heart Drilling, and final negotiations for a long-term lease are underway.

NEXT STEPS-PHASE TWO: We need your community spirit: your talents, support and services. Please join in our efforts to raise the funds necessary to complete Phase Two of this project. The City is ready to lease us the land, but at a cost of $5,000 to write the lease, another $2,500 for building permits, and $2,500 is needed for required insurance. An approximate $175,000 is needed to build an access road, parking area, garden pathways, and a perimeter fence. To read more...

AUGUST 8, 2010: Thumbs Up for Community Garden in Novato!
On August, 4, 2010, we presented our Novato Community Garden site design to the City of Novato Design Review Committee (DRC). They loved our project! TO LEARN MORE and to see the submitted site design and an overview of the project, Visit our Community Garden Page.

APRIL 22, 2010 EARTH DAY EVENT titled: "Our Local Food Shed: The Hidden Bounty of Marin" was a success. We learned about "food sheds." View the award-winning 30-minute video documentary, "Hidden Bounty of Marin" written and directed by Steve Quirt and Ellie Rilla, and produced by Novato Public Access Television. And had a great dialogue with local farmers, educators and Locavores about the importance of supporting our local food shed.

Whole Foods Novato has selected Novato Live Well Network for their "Nickels for Nonprofits" program. Every time you shop at Whole Foods Novato, make sure you bring your reusable grocery bags. At checkout you have the option of receiving five cents credit (per bag) or donating the money to a selected charity. During the first quarter that ended on June 30, 2010. Over 3,958 bags where brought in on behalf of our Novato Community Garden Project! For each bag, 5 cents was donated and $197.50 was raised for the Novato Community Garden Project. Keep bringing in those bags! For this quarter (July-Sept. 2010). We encourage you to donate to the Food And Nutritional Services (FANS) Department of the Novato Unified School District--they are in charge of the school lunch program. Since our inception, we have worked collaboratively with FANS to improve the school lunch food and the lunchroom environment, while teaching children the importance of developing good nutritional habits. To learn more visit our School Kitchens page.

January 13, 2010: Water Found at Garden Site! The Novato Community Garden (NCG) Committee has determined that a water aquifer exists on the proposed site for its community garden. The discovery of the aquifer significantly reduces NCG’s projected costs to develop the garden, and allows the group to move negotiations forward with the City of Novato for site plan approval and lease initiation.  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GARDEN PROJECT CLICK HERE.

LUNCHROOM WASTE: THE WORM STORY: It's been one year since Lu Sutton Elementary School in Novato had a Waste Audit. And, 6 months since the hungry worms came to the school. Read about one mom's effort to save the world one-bite-at-a-time: The revealing story with pictures!

Played critical role in bringing the Conservation Corps North Bay "School Lunch Waste Audit" program to the Novato Unified School District.

2. THE SCHOOL LUNCHROOM: Sat on the Novato Unified School District "Sustainability Committee" and provided invaluable information, resources and support to the district and local schools around issues of School Lunch Waste, Recycling, School Lunch Composting, and improving the Lunchroom environment to improve the eating habits of the students, while reducing lunch room waste.

3. SCHOOL GARDEN SUPPORT: Provided consultation, support and resource information to local schools on building, growing and maintaining school gardens.

4. COMPOST CLUB WORKSHOP: Hosting the second "Compost Club Workshop" in collaboration with the Conservation Corps Northbay with a grant from Northbay Corporation.

In the Fall of 2008 the trustees of the NUSD created a Sustainability Committee to discuss challenges and seek solutions for implementing sustainable principles in the schools. In addition to having a representative from each school at the table, Novato Live Well Network and Sustainable Novato both have a representative on this committee. Recycling, school lunchroom waste, composting, school gardens, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are some of the areas we are addressing. To learn more about "greening" schools, visit THE GREEN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE at

2. GARDENS IN THE SCHOOL: In 2007 Novato Live Well Network was instrumental in assisting all schools in the Novato Unified School District in applying for the California Instructional School Garden Grant. All the NUSD schools were awarded a grant. Our two high schools each received $5,000 and all other schools received $2,500. Novato Live Well Network continues to provides school garden support through email notifications of grant opportunities and workshops; by posting resources, workshops, how-to's and school garden links on our website; by providing email & phone consultation; and by sponsoring the Compost Club Workshop. See our gardens page for more info.

3. A COMMUNITY GARDEN IN NOVATO?: When Novato Live Well Network formed in June 2006, one of our initiatives has been to acquire a site to build a community garden in Novato. It has been a bigger challenge than we anticipated. After 2-1/2 years of hard work, we are close to acquiring a site. Visit our Community Garden webpage to learn more.

4. LUNCH BUDDIES, CONTINUED: We continue to work with NUSD School Food Services Director, Miguel Villarreal and school principals and parents to find ways to create a healthier eating environment during lunch time. Visit our School Kitchens webpage to learn more.

5. COMPOST CLUB WORKSHOP: On Saturday, May 17, 2008 a group of dedicated teachers, parents and students attended the "Compost Club Workshop". We learned all about school lunchroom garbage: the plastics, papers, leftovers, and uneaten food that ends up in the trash. Did you know food scraps and other organic material take up about half of all landfill space?! They produce methane gas, 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills are considered the lead human source of methane emission, according to the US EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program. To learn more about the solutions in the school lunchroom, see our "Gardens Page".

6. LU SUTTON ELEMENTARY SUCCESSFUL MCC WASTE AUDIT: After months of planning, on February 28, 2008, Novato Live Well Network rolled out the School Waste Audit project in collaboration with Marin Conservation Corps (MCC) and the Novato Unified School District (NUSD). Lu Sutton Elementary (1800 Center Road, Novato) was the first of several schools to participate in MCC's School Waste Audit program. “As part of our 'Caught Being Green' environmental program, the waste audit will help conservation 'come alive' for our students!" said Suzanne Thompson, Principal at Lu Sutton. Thompson added, "We hope to empower our students to take action when there is a problem, and to understand that their collaborative efforts with our community can have significant impact beyond right here, right now.” The Waste Audit event involves the school staff, teachers and students. A date is picked and all garbage for that day is collected, sorted, weighed and documented. This will provide a benchmark for schools and departments to improve on. Read our press release and watch a video clip of the event (scroll down) and see the results: Lu Sutton Waste-in-one-day.

If you'd like to bring this Waste Audit program to your school, please contact Jennie Pardi, Community Recycling Program Coordinator for Conservation Corps North Bay (formally: Marin Conservation Corps) at (415) 454-4554 ext 282.

On Thursday, January 31, 2008 Harvest Market, located at 155 San Marin Drive (415-898-1925), began selling produce from Marin County Farmers Market. We want to thank Heidi Kertel our "Locavores of Novato" Chair, for her instrumental role in bring this about. See our letters to the editors we sent to the Marin Independent Journal and to the Novato Advance. When you go to Harvest Market, please let them know how much you appreciate this. Also, let them know what products from local farms and agricultural businesses you'd like them to carry.

8. GREEN SCHOOLS: Novato Live Well Network continues to be an active voice in greening our schools: From addressing school lunchroom waste & recycling to being advocates of school gardens and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles. We participated in Sustainable Novato's Green Schools Coalition of Novato formed the Fall of 2007 and we continue to advocate for a healthier and safer environment for our children. We tabled at Sustainable Novato's Green Schools forum held January 30, 2008 and at San Marin High Schools Earth Day event on April 25, 2008

Statistics show that green schools create a healthier learning environment, raise test scores, increase attendance, save school districts money in the long run and reduce global warming impact. With climate change and environmental toxins threaten our children’s health and future well being, schools can take a leadership role in both education and practice in greening our schools. Fortunately, proven and effective Green Schools programs already exist. For more info: visit THE GREEN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE at

We sponsored Green Sangha's ( presentation of their "Rethinking Plastics, Rethinking Our Lives" forum. The event was held on January 12, 2008. It was rebroadcast throughout the Spring of 2008 on Novato Public Access Television (NPAT) -- Novato Comcast Channel 26 ( Why do we need to care about plastics? A lot of our food is wrapped in plastic products and many of us put our local organic produce in plastic bags. But plastic is not only bad for the environment, now scientific evidence shows that toxins found in plastics are also leaching from the plastics into our food and into our bodies. We learned about doable life-style changes that we could make to protect ourselves, our family, and the environment. For those who missed the event or broadcasts: DVDs are now available of the event , cost $10. Contact Veronica Valero for more info: 415-897-2302 or

To learn what you can do regarding this plastic dilemma, visit Green Sangha, our presenter's web page on plastics: There are many handouts that you can download to learn what you can do to reduce your plastic consumption. In the next few weeks we hope to provide additional information and resources.

You can also purchase organic cotton canvas produce bags, stainless steel water bottles and other non-plastic items from EcoExpress. Another informative web site on living beyond plastics is:

DECEMBER 10, 2007 NLWN UPDATE, see PDF document for details:
1. The New Word is "Locavore"
2. Your Support, Shopping Power, & The Story of Stuff
3. Rethinking Plastics Forum: Save this date: Saturday, January 12, 2008, 7-9PM
4. This Fall in the Schools
5. Novato Community Garden

JULY 07 UPDATE: see PDF document for details:
1. Health Forum July 21, 2:00-4:00 PM: Health in A Balance: The Effects of Toxins…
2. $45,000 Grant for Novato School Gardens
3. A Year of Success in the Schools: NLWN Accomplishments 2006/2007

Novato Live Well values open dialog and the sharing of ideas. We respect differences and the different choices people make around food issues. We encourage learning all sides of an issue, collaborating to find solutions, and the sharing of resources. To learn more about our Vision, Mission, and who we are see our "About Us" web page.

The Novato Live Well Network is a sponsored project of Marin Link, a California nonprofit corporation, exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended.

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We participated in Whole Foods Novato's "Dimes for Donations" program in the spring of 2012 and raised about $1,500. Thank you for bringing your reusable bags when you shopped at Whole Foods Novato, and giving your credit to nonprofit organizations such as ours. Keep it up: keep bring your reusable bags to Whole Foods and donate your credits to benefit other community organizations. To learn more:



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on January 12, 2008
is now for sale on DVD.
If you couldn't attend the event,
here's a way to watch it.
Cost. $10
Contact: Veronica



short video

that explains lots of stuff about stuff...
A must see!
A must Share!!