About SFZCCity CenterGreen GulchTassajara

Support Zen Center
Become a Member
HomeCity CenterZen Meditation & PracticeSitting Meditation & Sesshins

Zen and Urban Ecology Panel: Finding Your Ecosystem Where You Are, CC 4/24

Wednesday, April 24th, 7:30pm
City Center Dining Room

In 2011, the UN Population Division reported that 82% of all North Americans dwell in urban areas! What does that mean in terms of environment care? 

As urban Zen students, how do we widen our awareness to include the urban as Earth and empower ourselves and others to be urban stewards in our daily life?  Explore with us the meaning and significance of urban ecology. Panelists Kevin Bayuk, Nora Brereton, Alan Hawkins, Wendy Johnson, and Ezekial McCarter join Marcia Lieberman to share their work practices as urban ecologists mindfully cultivating a loving awareness of Earth in the heart of the city.


Marcia Lieberman is a lay-ordained practitioner who has been affiliated with SFZC since 1989. A staff gardener at Green Gulch Farm, she is currently head gardener at City Center where she oversees the Gardening at the Urban Temple project, is environmental steward, and beekeeper of rooftop hives. She works with landscape architects documenting public spaces and is an aesthetic pruner (anything under six feet tall). Her career as a photographer has included academic positions at University of California, Berkeley, and California College of Art teaching about time and space. She has two books that have been published: When Divas Confess, Rizzoli, and Being Still, ORO editions. Her work has been collected and exhibited in numerous museums.

Alan Hawkins received the bodhisattva precepts (jukai) in 1992 and works with bees at Green Gulch and in Tracy. In 2011, he facilitated the establishing of hives and harvesting honey at City Center in San Francisco.  For him, the city began to come to life when he started keeping bees at City Center.  Everywhere, an urban ecosystem burgeoning with life!

Wendy Johnson has been practicing Zen meditation since 1971. As a lay ordained Dharma teacher in the traditions of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and the San Francisco Zen Center, Wendy is engaged in public school education and leads retreats in Dharma and ecology throughout the United States. She currently teaches organic agriculture at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden Project of the College of Marin. She is the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate.

Kevin Bayuk works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets cooperative organizations that address human needs while supporting conditions required for all life. He is a partner with LIFT, providing growth strategies and guidance for social enterprises. Kevin teaches classes and workshops, does public speaking, facilitates meetings, plans events and provides one-on-one mentoring as a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco. He has helped design and start gardens as well as create public learning experiences reminding people that they too are nature.  Kevin is as fluent with information technology as he is with perennial polyculture agroforestry.  He raises ducks in his small urban garden in San Francisco.

Nora Brereton has been an environmental educator for CommunityGrows since 2006 and the Programs Manager since 2008. She began garden education in 2003 as an Instructor in the Children’s Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. After working at many farms and gardens over the years, Nora started a community garden program from scratch in 2005. She is certified in CBEST (School Curriculum), CPR/First Aid, and Peer-to-Peer Child Abuse Prevention Training. As Director of Programs of CommunityGrows, Nora helps develop and oversees the garden sites, works closely with staff, volunteers and interns, and represents CommunityGrows in the community. She also does seasonal contract management, helping to develop financial sustainability for all the programs. She will be completing her BS in Business Economics at the USF School of Management in Spring 2013.

Ezekial McCarter came to CommunityGrows in 2011 to participate in our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) Program.
In 2012 CommunityGrows offered Mr. McCarter employment as a part-time garden assistant at Rosa Parks Elementary School. When he in not working at CommunityGrows, his attends City College of San Francisco as a Business/Music student. He is also a musician and band-leader in San Francisco.