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   Novato Live Well Network: Growing a Healthy Community from the Ground Up!

(415) 897-2302

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






APRIL 22, 2010: THANK YOU FOR CELEBRATING EARTH DAY WITH US: Our event titled: "Our Local Food Shed: The Hidden Bounty of Marin" was enlightening. Viewed 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. We learned about "food sheds" and had a dialogue with local farmers, educators and Locavores.

TOXICITY IN AMERICA Forum:On Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008. Speaker Peter Greenlaw spent over 4 1/2 years researching this topic. He shared with us about the many toxins that are in our food, water, air and everywhere in our every-day lives. There are currently over 100,000 chemicals in commercial use and less than 15% have ever been tested for what they do to us. Although not an "upbeat" topic, this seminar made participants aware of the variety of toxins we are exposed to and what research is saying about what they are doing to us. The seminar focused on some solutions that we can incorporate into your every-day lives.

Why do we need to care about plastics? A lot of our food and drinks are wrapped and stored in plastic products. We are finding that plastic is not only bad for the environment, now scientific evidence shows that toxins found in plastics are also leaching into our food & drinks and into our bodies. At this forum we learned what we could do to protect ourselves, our family, and the environment. We saw a 9-minute “Synthetic Sea” video and learned what our plastic consumption is doing to our oceans and the ocean creatures. We saw what Sweden has done and were encouraged to learn that change is possible. We also saw a how-to demonstration of "alternatives to plastics" in the kitchen & beyond. The event was sponsored by Novato Live Well Network, Green Sangha & the Novato Unified School District.

This Rethinking Plastics forum presented on January 12, 2008 is now available on DVD for $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:

We Learned about the connection between nourishment, the environment and our local economy. Learn how "Locavores" can make a difference at our first first Speaker Series and fundraiser!

On November 14, 2007 Novato’s Flour Chylde Bakery at 850 Grant Avenue, in Downtown Novato hosted our event (see flyer). Participants enjoyed locally made organic Pastries, Cheese, Wine, Beverages, while listening to our featured speakers: Helge Hellberg, Executive Director, Marin Organic; Barbara Clark, Certified Nutrition Educator, 9 Corners; Catherine Bragg, Owner, Flour Chylde Bakery. The event was facilitated by Miguel Villarreal, Director of Food And Nutritional Services, Novato Unified and San Rafael School Districts.

We had an interactive discussion on the value of eating local foods and how it impacts our environment and local economies.  Helge Hellberg shared how our purchasing power affects local agriculture, our economy, environment and health. Barbara Clark discussed how nutritional choices enrich the health and well being of both adults and children.  Catherine Bragg shared about how her health was affected by her food choice and how it led her to open an alternative bakery that uses local, organic ingredients.

The NLWN is expanding its education outreach by participating in health forums. NLWN co-sponsored a forum titled: "Health In A Balance: The Effects of Toxins in the Environment on our Bodies and our Lives." It took place Saturday, July 21 at the Novato Unified School District on 1015 7th Street in Novato. Assemblyman Mark Leno spoke about his bill AB-706, which bans the use of all brominated and chlorinated fire retardants in upholstered furniture and bedding products. He was be joined by other panelists to increase public knowledge and awareness about how pervasive toxins are in our everyday environment and what we can do about it. See flyer.

On May 20, 2006 people from throughout Marin and beyond flocked to Northern Novato to find out how to improve their eating choices and how to get their kids to eat their veggies. They also heard from nutrition and healthful eating experts including an internationally influential speaker. And, they enjoyed practical and fun cooking demonstrations. Meanwhile, the children enjoyed engaging in outdoor fitness, art and garden activities and even planted a seed they could bring home to care for. The whole family tasted and learned about some of the most delicious, healthy foods Novato and Marin have to offer. The first Novato Eat Well Festival: Eat well, Live Well, Be Well—Sustaining the Body, Sustaining the Community Was co-produced by Novato Eat Well Festival Committee (an out growth from the Novato Healthy Food Coalition) and EECOM’s Marin Food Systems Project (MFSP). The free event took place at Pleasant Valley Elementary School (NUSD), 755 Sutro Avenue, Novato.

“Parents need easy and delicious ways to provide for a healthy family,” says MFSP’s Hannah Doress, “Our goal was to provide practical tips and local resources for healthy and delicious eating.” Novato Live Well Founder and festival organizer Veronica Valero elaborates, “The Novato Eat Well Festival inspired parents and adults with great ideas to use at home through a dynamic program of speakers, cooking demonstrations and kids’ activities. During the Festival we were treated to a cornucopia of tastes, information and activities from local businesses and organizations." Valero, a Lu Sutton School parent, is well known for her major role in Novato Healthy Food Coalition's campaign to bring Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to Novato.

Sponsors for this event included: Food and Nutrition Services (FANS) of the NUSD, the North Bay Children’s Center, The Novato Healthy Food Coalition, Meridian Sports Clubs Rolling Hills, Fitwize 4 Kids and North Bay Chiropractic and Acupuncture Center.

The event included cooking demonstrations by Heidi Kertel of Sustainable Kitchen and others. A raffle was held that included 3-month memberships to Fitwize 4 Kids. Fun kids’ and outdoor activities were provided by the North Bay Children’s Center, Meridian Sports Club Rolling Hills, Fitwize 4 Kids, Girls on the Run, Master Gardeners and others. Attendees enjoyed a festive environment where they could visit tables to learn more about the resources offered by local organizations and businesses.

A panoply of tablers provided delicious tastings and helpful information. There were dairy delights from Straus Family Creamery, organic beef from Marin Sun Farms, and tasty treats from Oasis Natural Foods, Apple Market, Trader Joe's, Novato Farmers Market (Marin County Farmers Market Association), Marin Vegetarian Education Group and others. Parents were able to get their questions answered by three expert speakers as well as Registered Dietician Nicole Britvan, Kathryn Chipman from Laptop Lunches, Randy Gibson of 9 Corners Center for Balanced Living, Kerry Beissmann-Bacho of First 5 Marin and the Novato Human Needs Center, and Leah Smith of the Marin Food Systems Project of the Environmental Education Council of Marin. Speakers included Marin Organic Executive Director Helge Hellberg, Dr. Rick Dina, D.C. and Emily Bender, N.C.

Helge Hellberg made the headlines last year by orchestrating a visit from Prince Charles to key organic sites in Marin County via Marin Organic. His talk elucidated the connections between nutrition, agriculture, food production, and environmental and human health.

Dr. Rick Dina, D.C. has a private practice at Vitality Health Center in San Rafael, CA where he conducts nutritional consulting and wellness programs and offers one-day nutrition retreats. He also teaches through Tam Community Education and was an instructor at Bastyr University. Dr. Dina’s talk was titled: “Establishing the foundation for a lifetime of abundant health”.
Emily Bender, N.C. of Gourmet Helping Nutrition Consulting is a certified nutrition consultant who works with families to develop individualized, delicious and realistic nutrition plans, teaches “Help my child only eats grapes!” and is on the faculty of the Hawthorn Institute for Health and Nutrition, and authored the food and nutrition chapter for the 2005 edition of bestseller Our Bodies, Ourselves. Bender’s talk was on how to get kids to eat more healthfully.

The event culminated with a forum on school lunch. Presenters included Miguel Villarreal, the Director of Food And Nutrition Services (FANS) of the Novato Unified School District (NUSD), Leah Smith of Marin Food Systems Project of Environmental Education Council of Marin and Susan Gilmore, Executive Director and David Haskell, Master Gardener of North Bay Children's Center. The panel was moderated by Annan Paterson.


NEW Fest Committee

NEWF Committee: Front Row: Annan Paterson, Hannah Doress, Veronica Valero, Leah Smith, Marlese Ramirez-Carroll. Back Row: Norma Eckert, David Haskell, Annie Spiegalman, Heidi Kertel, Barb Curtice, Frank Burrous, Eileen Burrous, Vicky Meblin, Miguel Villarreal.


DVD of
The Rethinking Plastics Forum
For More Info:
Veronica Valero, 415-897-2302