314. Green TEAM Academy | Online Earth Summit| Climate Action Breakthrough Joan Gregerson | Denver, CO





Tell us a little about yourself.

In Denver CO, one of a big family

I’m 59 years old

we were nature kids

IDK if they understand that they are nature kids

being one of 8 kids ~ my poor mom trying to cook for 10 people 3 times a day

  • climbing trees
  • digging holes in the backyard

At age 10 got my first job working for my dad if I needed a dollar

He was a petroleum engineer, so I plotted all the data. You plotted a curve on logarithmic paper and draw it out to 0. No wonder I’m such a nerd! and I’m on my 5th grade. I ask him

  • what are you doing?
  • why are you focused so much on this?

I was age 10 that was 1970 he said, I’m talking to people at the oil company.

I thought the adults have it under control

first earth day was in 1970

10% of the population

it was really started as a teach in

series of teach in

people just get together and talk to each other

what do you feel like is important

what do I feel is important 

and what do we need to make the environment personal to them

working on projects together

demanded the government change them?

That was the start in 1970 under Republican Nixon

  • started the EPA
  • clean air act
  • clean water act

I thought great we got this thing together!

1978 President Carter came to colorado

opened the solar energy institute

I went to the University of Colorado and said I want to work in Solar and they said we don’t have it so that should have been my first clue, that maybe the adults don’t have it under control

got into engineering

my way to make a big impact

results weren’t just the water saving projects didn’t have the results I expected

no culture around it we just did projects and left

we didn’t ever deal with the people

I wasted a lot of years trying to do things in my community on my own

spending up a lot of effort and not having much impact. 

I ended up in Longmont

became a non-profit

in less then 2 years

I don’t think I heard the word community when I went through engineering. That’s sort of what brought me what I am doing now, I learned what works in Longmont, I went to my hometown, and want back to Denver where we had similar amazing results!

We’re told for climate action to do these things, but the first climate action should be:

start a TEAM

climate action

  • grow more food
  • do recycling in your kids school or start a community garden
  • bike share
  • make a huge impact

that’s why I started the Green TEAM Academy

EWS20-Banner-12nd year of doing this Earth Week Summit


the Green Organic Garden Podcast is one of our sponsors! That’s so exciting.

That’s how near and dear to my heart this is, and do you know the senator who got that started is a play I have about Senator Gaylord Nelson. The play is about this little Bear Sally Bear who is upset about not having anything for earth day prepared and her bother billy bear is like why do we celebrate earth day anyway and she explains everything you just said and the other is the Turtle Mishap about a turtle stuck in a six-pack holder.

The Turtle Mishap Play

And then I have a video on YouTube about the science Earth day and its based on Bill McKibben’s book Fight Global Warming Now on how to start an earth day event in 3 weeks.

This is so exciting I haven’t met a lot of earth day nuts like me.

that was a long answer

doing so much already

One of the big things that changed things in Longmont was having an earth day festival

What was so weird for me was, as an engineer, the biggest thing I had ever organized was a family birthday party we ended up with this fairgrounds space and it was like 10 times bigger then we wanted, but the deposit wasn’t due till 6 months later which is why we picked this space

none of us had ever written grants before, but we learned how to write grants and we had over 1000 people come to our first earth day festival

  • city council
  • mayor
  • 35 youth booths
  • eco hip hop performers
  • school choirs
  • climbing wall
  • teaching about everything from marine animals
  • recycling trivia

non-profits and the local government

A combination of that and people had said before that nobody in Longmont cares about sustainability but to have 1000 people, obliterated that myth.

That’s one of my tips, if you are trying to build a community, you are trying to get partners to work with you, best way to do it is to have an event!

it’s like Hallmark for Valentines Day, they wouldn’t consider not doing something on valentines day, so if you are trying to establish yourself and get some partnerships around Earth Day which is April 22.

the timing of the summit starts on April 10-18

Earth Day is

What I love Earth Day for me is that is when I need to plant my sunflowers if I want them to go to seed in the fall.


Also, our first Earth Day, although not a lot of people showed up but we put the pictures etc in the paper and then people learned that there were backpacks made of recycled bottles for sale at the local office supply store and there was a green builder in town, so the publicity after made sure everyone learned about it anyway.  

That’s a sneaky trick. That’s a good point, all the promotion befoer the event, sending them to the

  • schedule 
  • showing them all the different organizations

that’s all part of the awareness building

I was gonna say, that my husband grew up in Colorado, and Boulder has a big spot in my heart because they really supported my hemp business back in the 90’s

so so excited about this whole thing

  • main vibes that I am committed to is that this is a 
  • creative
  • collaborative to be online together

in this specific time

  • fear
  • risk
  • which we need to know about a lot of those aspects

This is going to be such a nice contrast for people to dive in here

  • live workshops
  • happy hours
  • when people register you are going to get access to last years speakers too! There were incredible speakers there!

website is earthweeksummit.com 

If you click on the schedule you will see how it all lines out

The first day there is a keynotes

2 hour live sessions

We’re going big this year, as you said the first time its kind of like, we had a couple hundred people last year, this year we are gearing up so we can have 1000s on these live sessions

happy hours will allow you to break out in break out rooms so you can talk in small groups

Facebook group

April 10th is our kickoff

Hip Hop Forestry

omg I need to find this guy and bring him to our community. I ended up adding a day to the summit to feature him

Dr. Thomas Richard

  • musician
  • professor at Yale university
  • forestor
  • diversity professional

How to make the environmental movement more inclusive

he’s the keynote speaker yes on Friday April 10th

Wait can you just explain a little. 

I am on there too talking about

One World Wellness

what’s happening in this moment

  • virus
  • environment and our health
  • things we should have bene thinking about

You’ll have to check it out

He is an African American guy his message a lot of the environmental movement is a lot of white people coming at it from a certain perspective.

Michelle romero

Green For All started by Van Jones

on the admin with Clinton

her background was working in racial justice an immigrant issue

friends living near refineries

kids suffering from environment pollutants

bigger social justice issue

key part is that if there are only a few people working on this were not going to make it happen

Just like the original Earth Day, Senator Gaylord Nelson how is the environment personal to you?

You might be thinking polar bears and someone else might think childhood asthma

how is it personal to how we can relate is the way we can make a bigger impact and turn this around.

OK, what other workshops are there?

good mix

Americas for Conservation and the Arts


using your plays and bringing in these other aspects

spoken word artists

Americas for Conservation and the Arts

promotordas verdes

spanish speakers

works in all the americas

went in after the hurricanes in puerto rico

solar spaces

to help start gardens and

including the arts

Michael Alc

project motivate to plant 1,000,000 trees on one day in colorado

solar coop – coalition of people who own solar

island micrograms

individual areas

feed their own power to themselves

Franklin cruise is a spoken word artist

I mentored 22 green teams

  • faith based
  • schools
  • businesses

sustainable highlands was one of our teams

after going through our process they started seeing issues that were beyond what their own level so they started the Northside Community Alliance so they started a collaborative meeting with all the different teams in their area

used to

bike share

We should be able to do that thing somehow here

  • Other projects they are taking on include policy review
  • in any of the planning processes going on
  • for sustainability


So that is Northside Community Alliance which is, Tuesday April 14, from 12-2:00. In our town, they want to build a school and it’s been voted on 3 times and one of the things my husband and I are concerned about is if we are going to be paying for this building till 2040 we want something that is going meet sustainable design and requirements of the future with a green design.

They’ve had people come in and tell us it might not be safe for kids, and the repairs are 14 million dollars, a new school is 17 million so we just keep spinning our wheels so fixing things instead of building a nice new school you are saying what we should do is start a sustainability committee for our town.. 

YES! Once you know the solution is always start a team

It’s like YES we can do this! I can give you example when we were working in Longmont, CO. They had a sustainability plan they had started 2 years ago, the council sort of shifted and said we’re not going to continue ~ they shelved it and told the city staff do not work on sustainability. So when we were reaching out to city staff and they were unresponsive, we couldn’t figure out what was going on.

We didn’t know that history, so once we became a TEAM. We did things one day there was a meeting and you could stand up and speak for 3 minutes. So, one day we had 6 of us lined up you could speak for 3 minutes

We each said we want you to have a sustainability plan

  • the first person said you took the funds from the federal plan and you never did it
  • the next came on and talked about children’s health
  • and another who talked about economic competitiveness with cities around us who had a plan and new workers who wont want to work in our town
  • and the next…
  •  and we got to the fifth one and they said ok, we were like wait we have one more speaker but they said ok, well do it.

when we go individually, I had never been to a council meeting, the first one I was probably in my late 40s

The way that our school districts and city governments work if individually we reach out and tell them something they feel bombarded but is we form a team together we represent this group of people.

we’re gonna ask you

we want our school to be net 0 energy meet the energy star rating of 99 and be a well school something like that based on a rating system. You an easily research some kind of those rating system and come up with something

TEAM ~ everyone comes up and says that same message!

Ask will you sign the petition to ask the school? Then you go back to the school board and say, now we have this many people have signed this thing, we’re telling you we want this. At some point they realize we work for you, we’re the boss and your the employees not the other way around.

It’s us, figuring out we are the ones who have the power that actually can do this.

In my book, in the course and coaching I do, my course is empower

Yes Jackie that is exactly it, start a TEAM!

You know what I was going to say too, most people are not going to do it, so when you step up you represent more people. I frequently say when you write a member of congress you represent like 22k people because that many people are NOT going to write so when you pick up the pen, or the phone, or write that email you are really making an impact. 

Afterall what did Margaret Mead say?

And look at all that you have done! It’s great when you talk about expanding incrementally! Tell me about your book!

in the book


step by step

such a great point when you show up, especially when you say I’m part of a team, it’s like you have 100s and you become an amplifier for invisible people behind you. A lot of times, school board meetings will be broadcast, so you are getting this message the more you put it out there

the book is super exciting!

not gotten a lot of uptake

I do not want to do it again! So I am in a program so I have a development editor and different editors so I make sure that the book that I am writing is going to resonate

Climate Action Breakthrough

really what we are talking here

if people understood that this thing when you tell somebody I want to take an action well you should bring your coffee cup, that was back when we could go to coffee shops, but you can say:

  • bring your coffee cup
  • recycle more
  • install a LED light

That’s ok, but we need massive transportation, so when you focus on that personal level, first of all

  • it’s exhausting!
  • you know it’s not enough it’s depressing
  • policy level it’s important but its’ slow so again it’s depressing and frustrating

there used to be a thriving garden! And a small group of people could revive that in a year that could demonstrate and go to the school board and say hey

this is what we are doing

mission of the school so 

  • student leadership
  • understanding biodiversity
  • aligning with the schools missions always come back to that
  • having kids take initiative
  • integrate all the science and math
  • grant writing

When you do that you are leading by example, maybe you will inspire another school to do it or there’s a faith community we could convert these large lawns!

A new guy who came who was a master gardener, you’ll love this! He was like, I don’t care about battery recycling it’s great but I want to feed the poor and I am a gardener!

He convinced the church and they delivered

fresh produce

mostly neighbors who are immigrants from African

growing greens

  • collard greens
  • mustard greens
  • nutritional greens

coking classes

helping them re-invorgorate

traditional recipes and share it with each other

doing that kind of stuff

I could be doing this at work! I could do this at school! I could do it in my neighborhood!

this to me is why I call it climate action breakthrough! Because what we are doing now isn’t working, we are on the path of failure! We need to do things different and this is the thing!

Awesome! I love all this. I have actually ben listening to non-profit podcasts and thinking about making this into a non-profit instead of a business.

Yeah! Get those Earth Day Plays out there! The cool stuff that you’re doing making it more of an educational resource that could be funded. WE have talked about having an education center. Especially I am by trade an elementary school teacher and we recently partnered with Patti Armbrister who teaches high school agriculture.

in this point in human he history

there are so many things that are being

ok, humans

we can teach you the easy way

or you can learn the hard way

support that are growing or support the people around you who are doing it or maybe getting something from countries away because it’s 5¢ a pound cheaper

this moment is going to be invigorating their own food! I think that is a great idea!


has anybody talked about victory gardens for this kind of coronavirus time? Has anyone come up with that idea. 

I did get an email yesterday and I immediately wrote back to them and ask her to come on and you can listen to that here:

Victory Gardens 2.0 interview #315 with Diane Blazek |National Garden Bureau

And Johnny’s everything was on backorder, and Baker Creek Seeds was shut down over the weekend and I talked with Ira Wallace who runs the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

It’s so beautiful because people are home more!

what I love about this moment are essential are:

  • the people bringing us food
  • health people
  • back to those basic what it is
  • taking care of your own wellness

Start of seeds

went got the little seed starter plastic thing, I have a couple of packets of seeds, I got the little seed starter, I live in an apartment, other people are probably wondering too, 

My entire garden is one huge pot that is going crazy with 

basil and mint

that’s good

if I wanted to start something that would be good in my apartment? I have a little sun in a south facing window, so it doesn’t have a lot of sun in the summer, it has an awning.

I’m gonna be sharing with on the Green Team Academy Podcast

Well, I am like you and I like to have herbs in my windowsill, and one of the bonuses to having it in your windowsill is it’s close to water, but I suppose you just said a window, not necessarily the kitchen…on a patio in an apartment…

Where did you say your window is? What is that called? A fire escape? A balcony?

I was gonna say a cherry tomato plant would be perfect but if you have an awning and no sun, that’s not so good.

My daughter has a little balcony.


I love a cherry tomato because they get ripe over time. What I learned form my podcast, you can take a cherry tomato and slice them, put them on a baking sheet, freeze them, and then they make a great sauce in winter, easy, don’t even have to blanch them.


Cherry tomato we get so many but regular tomatoes we have a hard time getting them to ripen. Another good potted plant you could do chives, rosemary is tough but my friend Nola is great with rosemary.


Arugula Love

I always like something that is going to give me a fresh taste in winter, I like arugula!

Arugula planted July 27, 2017 Harvested December 2, 2017

Arugula Planted July 27, 2017 Harvested in December


We just planted it in my classroom. You can eat the sees when they are the size of your nail on your pinky full of flavor put 4 tiny leaves on a sandwich but also the leaves get big enough to make a full salad.




The one thing for basil for us, we can get a frost maybe any day of the year, except for maybe 2 weeks in July, we’ve had a frost August 8th that would kill basil. But it also will grow well starting from seed except for maybe in Dec and January. I just love the taste of fresh herbs.

Especially in winter. You get up your bored I would eat a cookie if I had a cookie so I can eat some basil or mint and chew on that. The other thing I do, is I like to do sprouts.


those of us just starting

so when you’re picking something

does it matter who you pick it

do you try to break off the top part

whole stem of it

especially in the winter

try to use it the way I would a cookie

get up and I’m bored I would eat a cookie

I can walk over and pinch a bit of mint and chew it

has more nutrition

whatever else I’m gonna eat next

other thing I like to do

is sprouts

I have a hack for doing your own sprouts

don’t’ have the sporting kit

2 kind of seeds

  • lentils
  • mug beans

whites are so great with this hack because they are bigger

  • soak them overnight
  • rinse them
  • put them into a small plastic colander, if it was able to hold water it might hold a quart

seeds or beans in there

set them because it has a handle I just set it over a bowl

anytime I come by I rinse them, and within a few days that whole thing is going to be sprouting

so amazing!

the other sprout things

smaller sprouts, it’s more of a production because the seeds are so tiny this little thing

sprouting hack

We’re in lockdown, we can go to the grocery store, idk about you, but I have beans in my cupboard I can always sprout them if I have water, so I always have somethign.

IDK if that’s gardening but it’s growing.

Can you just put regular lentils. Cause to me that’s the challenge. I have not been able to find alfalfa seeds that I can sprout, I finally found this radish, clover, fescue mix I bought for my little scientist kid because I knew he would be excited to see how fast they fill up the jar.

I forgot the seeds, I’m trying to stay home for 13 days, I did go to the bank today, so I am trying not to go back to my classroom for 2 weeks, but I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.

  • teaching in South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • buy them

organic ones

if possible

bulk section

where you would get everything else

now the bulk section sometimes the beans are wiped out

at natural grocers in the

whole bulk section

a little rice left but all the beans are gone

If you lentils in your cupboard

try it

they are very tasty

and more substantial

bigger they are

I think people might have some beans left when this is over because people went and bought a bunch of beans and then won’t cook them and will have them leftover after this is over so they might end up doing it then too.

I love sprouts!

focusing on our wellness

vegetable that you have

sprouts have some crazy amounts of nutrients 

we’re all trying to boost our immune system!

And I love how it adds some diversity to your salad if you want something different, I really like alfalfa sprouts with sunflower seeds, dry roasted sunflower seeds, it makes it elegant or decadent I think. Adds some texture!

Whatever you would use on your salad, eat them with a fork or wrap it up in a wrap!

Perfect, what else have we not talked about today you wanted to talk about?

back on the summit

one fun part is happy hours

The whole focus is grassroots climate action

people that have been signing up

earth week summit

Once you sign up you get access to our green team cafe and our Facebook group

People are already getting in there and introducing themselves

all the cool projects they are doing around the world

it’s not presentations but lets get on and meet each other! We are going to use zoom break out rooms, so during that happy hour you will suddenly be in a groups with 4-5 people from around the world that are interested in this thing

I am excited about that we are isolated! We are not able to go in our classrooms or hang out and meet for dinner or cafes etc.


And it’s so hard! 

I know people just feel like I am just going to sit and listen

evening sessions

it is hard that we have this way that you can hop in there! 

You might have said they were talking about this and that that they were thinking our new school how to push the school board or something and someone might say oh yeah! We just did that!

that’s gonna be a fun part of it!

really honored to be offering the community when so many other people’s earth day events got canceled

excited for all the people with outreach

alliance center

gathering hub for non-profits in Denver

Metro Denver Nature Alliance

a lot of activities for getting kids outside

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the GREEN Organic Garden Podcast


So last year we wrote the Organic Oasis Guidebook. It’s 12 lessons 

There’s a challenge for new gardeners

This is my 5th year, it was always the Organic Gardener Podcast and in December we became the GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast, so we teach people how to create an organic oasis, a place you want to hang out and enjoy maybe not necessarily vegetables unless you want to maybe you live in California or somewhere where farmer’s markets and fresh food is plentiful but you want a nice landscape etc.

I usually work full time, so I take what I have learned from my guests that I’ve talked to and then talks about what Mike has done at our place over the last 27 years plus lots of pictures and worksheets for you to fill in!

Sounds like no matter where people are in their journey. You are doing the same thing I am doing. Learning from other people.

I had this idea of the Green Team Academy but I was like I need stories and to find people who are actually doing it, talking to them on my podcast I was like oh now I got it!

Sounds like with your podcast you have been able to share

  • through learning through everybody’s individual skills
  • bring all these tips
  • distills those best practice guide

you can interact with it with all the worksheets.


Buckwheat before chop

It is designed to take it out there with you in the garden. One of the tips people have said over and over on my show is that their journal is one of their most valuable tools and resources even though with climate change things don’t always work as they used to, but another thing, people are surprised about is that cover crops are not just for big farms but for small gardens like even a bed that’s only 4×4.


The Online Earth Week Summit share with your friends

What is the UN75?

This is another whole cool part of the summit it keeps getting more and more so I can barely hit all the cool parts

the UN is getting ready to turn 75 and they are doing something called a global consultation, they have not done one for like 30 years. What they are doing is surveying the world and saying what should we work on?

what things need international cooperation?

  • what things do we need to do to make it a better world?

As one of our partners for this event is the UN Association of Boulder County

support the mission of international cooperation of the UN

as part of this global consultation people who sign up as part of this summit will also get to complete this survey so it will be compiled, what do you think is important for the UN and made available for other decision makers.

city council

another way to do this

have this

We should do more about climate action, this will be delivered to the US Congress and other folks so it’s another tool that we can be using that is advocate this is what people care about and this is what we should be working on.

Well the UN is something that is near and dear in my heart, and if you look back in my journal what is one thing I would like to see, support the International criminal court, I tell my students why are we not worried that Texas is going to attack us? Or that NJ is going to start a war? Because we have a Constitution and courts of law and if we would just support the ICC we could abolish war in one fell swoop.

Awesome I didn’t realize they were turning 75.

More so now then ever we see, luckily, finally that we have to work together

no one person that can solve it

Again, if we come together and make our voices heard

As you were saying Jackie if you call your senator, you might be representing thousands of people in the same way as if you complete this survey. If we can say 

we had 1000 people and they think about 

  • climate action
  • local food
  • protecting water
  • k-12
  • criminal justice

that gives them a little more information because again, they are working for us

supporting those goals that people believe in

  • corona virus 
  • international cooperation
  • value of true leadership and risks the lack there of in a nutshell to not to get off on another topic


That is another exciting part of the Earth Week Summit!

Thanks for all you are doing!

When you were saying caring about water, we have the inland ocean because what we do inland affects your ocean, and the Colorado watershed and how to be part of these groups that determine the quality of your watershed

can’t wait to introduce you the whole group with the green organic garden podcast, I love that your are GREEN FUTURE GROWERS because we can all do that together.

To get a copy of Joan’s Book the Climate Action Breakthrough just click here

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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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