Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Classes, A Baby Update & the Rise of Transition Detroit!

Evolve Detroit

January 28th, 2008
(The Moon Waxes Crescent)

The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.
-Wade Davis

We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.
-Malcom X

Inherent within the challenges of peak oil and climate change is an extraordinary opportunity to reinvent, rethink and rebuild the world around us.
-Rob Hopkins

Greetings Detroit and all those who grace us here!
Welcome to another edition of Evolve Detroit. It has been some time since we've been able to put together a full edition. The buzz around the Lab is even more palpable than usual and we're pleased to have a moment to sit down and share with you here. There's a great deal of info to impart, so we'll dive right in.

To the great many of you reading this for the first time, thank you so much for joining us! At the Lab, and in our newsletter, we do things a bit differently. When we 'press return' on the first edition of Evolve Detroit on 07.07.07, we decided to do something simple that turned out to be rather revolutionary. We elected to actively ask our readers to take a moment and mindfully interact with us. We put our hearts into our work and invite you to meet us at that same level. We appreciate heartfelt communication and interaction with others and that's what we strive to share here and in all aspects of our business and our lives.

Rather than simply blast you with information (with apologies to our Facebook friends) about this event or that happening, all involved with the Lab have elected to engage and share with you all at a deep and meaningful level. We've been blessed by a great deal of media attention and the Lab's been defined as a socially and environmentally conscious business, but for us it is so much more than a business model. It is the way we live and, without dogma or judgment, we posit the return of heartfelt meaningful interaction to our culture. We belive this to be a vital aspect of the change requisite to weather the multiple crises at hand. There exists multiple grassroots communities of entrepreneurs, artists and activists in Detroit who interact within their own ranks at this level, but now is the time expand this type of interaction beyond ourselves. It is time to bring heartfelt sharing into all aspects of our lives and into life on our block, in our neighborhood, into the City Council and the Mayors Office, to our entire region, Lansing and beyond. We know these are tall words, but based upon our findings in what is admittedly an experiment, we think we're onto something.

Evolve Detroit is a weekly, or as needed, publication produced by the Detroit Evolution Laboratory and dedicated to Health, Joy and Liberation.

Subscribers this week: 808!
Please share Evolve Detroit and encourage your friends and family to subscribe.

Evolve Detroit is evolving into an online Urban Transition Fieldbook that will help facilitate the development of our community and support the Transition Movement in Detroit. If you are interested in taking an active role in Evolve Detroit we're looking for like-minded organizations, bloggers and artists to get involved. Please contact Gregg

Detroit Evolution Laboratory
1434 Gratiot Ave #1
Detroit, Michigan 48207

The Detroit Evolution Laboratory promotes Active, Aware, Healthy and Sustainable Vegan and Raw Food Lifestyles in the city.

The husband and wife team of Angela Kasmala and Gregg Newsom created "the Lab" in 2007 with the intention to share their talents and raise social, environmental and spiritual awareness. With an invaluable Development Team, a large Volunteer Corps, and the recent addition of partner Alan Scheurman the Lab is growing to meet the needs of our city.

The Lab shares classes on Vegan and Raw Food, Yoga, Meditation, Shamanism, and Body Awareness. We also offer Bodywork, Nutritional Counseling and Sustainable Lifestyle Training. We also provide Sustainable Vegan and Raw Food Catering for any sized event.

Featured in Hour Detroit Magazine, Model D, The Metrotimes, Fox 2 Sunday Morning, Real Detroit Weekly, and WDIV's 2008 4 the Best, Detroit Evolution Laboratory has been recognized as a community-based, healthy and incredibly tasty alternative for the people of Detroit.

So, with that verbose explanation we're honored to ask our new readers and seasoned veterans alike to take the arrival this Evolve Detroit as an opportunity to look at things from a slightly different perspective. Step away from the computer for a moment to fill up a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and as you do so shift your awareness from what you were working on to the present moment. When you return, sit back in your chair and take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax into this. If you are not already, consider reading Evolve Detroit in your browser. The intended design and flow of text on the page will make it easier on the eyes. This time around we also invite you to take Evolve Detroit's arrival not only as a break but also as an opportunity to suspend disbelief and step into a space of great potential. As you read below, breathe in all the wonderful things happening in and around the Lab and our incredible city and give yourself permission to mentally explore simple local solutions that can alter massive global threats that many of us are now beginning to know as personal threats. Allow yourself to consider that it is possible to weather the storm at hand and at the same time deepen the meaning of our lives by reaching out to our neighbors and taking care of one another without recourse to class or creed. Most importantly here, we invite you to bring to mind a world where we can do more than simply weather this storm, but by learning to shift our focus and intention, we can empower ourselves as we assist in the empowerment of others.

And if that's too heavy handed, that's OK, inclusion is easy when we all take personal responsibility for the level at which we interact with the world around us. So, you can, without judgment, give yourself permission to simply check out how we're all getting ready for our son Aya's arrival and scroll through the awesome events and groups we're involved with and promoting in the city. It's all good, and more than that, we thank you for taking on that personal responsibility because it swings the other way as well, it allows us to sincerely ask those who see the value in engaging with depth to lend a hand and help take these concepts from theory to practice. The Lab has survived thus far because others have asked us if we need help and we have said yes. We have actively sought assistance from our own growing community and our brother and sister communities with whom we are interwoven.

Another important aspect of Evolve Detroit and the Lab in general is our constant quest to express our Gratitude for all of the wonderful people and groups that help us to stay afloat. We've found that active gratitude helps to lay the foundation for more meaningful and heartfelt interaction with the world around us. We hope reading these expressions of gratitude will inspire and assist in lightening any weight you may carry. This week, as usual, we have many people to thank.

First, we again want to thank all of our new subscribers and everyone who recently discovered what we affectionately call the Lab. We've been blessed by an great deal of attention by the media, Fox2 News in particular, and we want to thank all of you who have taken the time to look us up and joined us here. Over and over again we state that we would not be here if it were not for each of you. We understand the value and importance of your even minimal attention to the continuation of our work and for this we are extremely grateful. For this we also thank those of you who recently joined us and those who've been around since day one. We thank you for continuing to be present with us and our work. We are honored to share all the changes that we have already been through and the awesome changes on the horizon. We also must thank too many of you to mention by name for having the courage to get involved with the Lab and share a little bit of yourselves and your talents with the community we're growing together. We think that it takes great courage to try new things and reach out to others these days. Thank you all so much!

We also must heap great amounts of gratitude on our dear friends Carla and Ward for gifting us their van! Carla's been coming round the Lab since we first opened up and has supported and inspired us since we met. Sadly, our blessings come due to Carla and Ward's decision to head to what appears to be the current Green Mecca of Portland. Of course, in Green Mecca a family doesn't really need a vehicle, let alone two! Their gracious decision to gift us their second vehicle is almost too incredible for us to process. Though we are part of a large community working to change this, Detroit without a car is challenging and when you add business needs and a winter pregnancy into the mix it becomes even more intense. We want to wish Carla and Ward all the best in their new home. Our love and deep gratitude to you and yours!

In the same breath and with the same emphasis we must thank our co-conspirator Danielle for the use of her Jeep on and off again for the past 4 or 5 months! Many of you know Danielle from our booth in Eastern Market's Shed 2 in the Fall and our other events. She's easy to spot because she is the one who is always helping someone or taking up the most challenging aspects of a project. The Lab wouldn't have made it through to 2009 without this generous and nearly unheard of level of compassion and concern for Angela, Aya and Gregg and our work here. Thank you so much Danielle, you're cut from rare stuff to be sure! There are also a host of others who has helped us by taking Angela on supply runs, picking things up for us, or making deliveries and we thank you all as well. The effect of your kindness have made all the difference to us here.

Finally, though we could go on and on, we want to thank everyone who has visited the Lab in the past few weeks. We're a bit off the beaten path because that's where we thrive and, whether it be for yoga, bodywork or kitchen classes, we thank you for taking the time to find our little sacred space in Eastern Market. It really does mean the world to us!

Please check out all our new offerings below and the great classes we just added! Have a wonderful week and know that we all look forward to seeing you soon!

In Health, Joy and Liberation
Gregg, Angela & Aya, Alan & the entire Lab Crew
Aya Ultrasound GandAandA

Angela & Gregg's
Baby Product Guidelines

Toys and Books:
Stay away from plastic toys, rather consider positive and educational toys made from natural materials. Please read the guide included below from healthytoys.org

Conventional cotton crops alone account for $2.6 billion in pesticides used each year. Even though cotton only uses 2.4% of all cultivated land, 25% of the world’s pesticides and 10% of the world’s insecticides are used on it yearly. The problems with clothing production do not stop in the field. During the conversion of conventional cotton into clothing, numerous toxic chemicals are added at each stage – such as harsh petroleum scours, softeners, brighteners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia and formaldehyde. With this in mind please consider items made of organic cotton, hemp, wool (second-hand), or bamboo. We would appreciate gently used clothing as well. We are asking for clothing size 0-12 months.

Baby Personal Care Products:
Recent studies have shown that traditional baby personal care products include unhealthy ingredients such as parabens and pthalates. We have included products we trust on our registry. A good rule of thumb is to stick with products made with only natural, organic ingredients.

For more fun urban vegan baby info check out Angela & Gregg's baby blog Aya Rising

Aya Rising!
A Baby Update from Gregg

We're pleased to share with our new readers that Angela and I are 9 months pregnant and are joyfully preparing for our son Aya's arrival at the end of February. It has been a while since we have given an update and we are very pleased to share that Angela and Aya are doing very well. The challenges and opportunities pregnancy and child rearing have brought to our pursuit of a healthy, humane, and sustainable lifestyle are utterly monumental. We're blessed to know so many mindful mothers and fathers and want to thanks them for their suggestions and support. For the past few months we have been working closely with our wonderful midwife and are preparing for a water birth here at the Lab. (This of course, brings up logistics that we will get to in an upcoming special Evolve Detroit)

Due to our lifestyle and Angela's overall health we have chosen the path of natural childbirth and have sought the most minimal engagement with western medicine possible. We have been very blessed by following this path as it has been very smooth and Angela's nutrition levels have satisfied not only our midwife, which is most important, but also many of our friends in western medicine. Aya's extremely active and seems to be into dancing quite a bit. We've already begun working on spatial development by using vibration and directional chanting, reiki and the like. Thanks to our blurring of the line of work and life, we've already been able to shift our sleep schedule to meet Aya's in utero patterns to ease the transition. We could, like all new parents, go on and on about the incredible rite of passage that is pregnancy so we created Aya Rising, our urban baby blog, to share more and we invite you to check it out.

We also want to sincerely thank all of you who have inquired about our baby registry and for your offers of assistance as we prepare for Aya's birth. We're registered at http://www.myregistry.com/ and http://www.target.com under Angela Kasmala or Gregg Newsom.

As you all know we have dedicated our lives and work towards social and environmental justice and strive to share this with others through example and education. A few friends have graciously gifted many of the larger requisite items to us so we have focused these registries on specific staple items that we feel are important. We've also put together a few guidelines for purchasing baby items. We highly recommend you share this with others you know who have little ones. We thank you for the extra time and effort that these considerations require. We’ve found the benefits of this path worth the extra effort and we appreciate your care, support and love as we welcome Aya and move into this new illuminating phase of our life together.

Healthy Toys

Vegan & Raw Food Classes

Vegan and Raw Food Classes with Angela & Gregg
Our classes are about much more than just food preparation - learn how to reduce waste through composting and recycling, explore sustainability, meet like minded people, and share great food, information and resources. We will prepare a four-course meal from start to finish, and then sit down together to enjoy the fruits and veggies of our labor! We offer our students a unique experience and an opportunity not only learn, but also to connect with others and realize the importance of food in our lives and the world. The food you choose to eat can change the world! Space in these intimate classes is limited and full payment is required to register. Please call 313.316.1411 or email to arrange payment.

Angela Kasmala Vegan and Raw Food Chef

Winter Restoration - This is Angela's last official class before Aya's arrival!
Saturday, January 31st, 4 - 7 pm - $45
We just added this class, but there are only 4 seats left!
Winter is the hardest season in which to cleanse, especially in a colder climate like Michigan where more fuel is needed to keep the body warm. It is possible though, and cleansing in the proper way can be extremely beneficial in keeping the body healthy through the winter months. In this class Angela will share information and recipes designed to support the body nutritionally so it can cleanse in a gentle, safe way.

Announcing Gregg's first class for Men!
The Hearty Vegan
Saturday, Feb 7th, 4 - 7 pm - $45
Though veganism is accessible to and, we feel, beneficial for everyone, in our culture men are confronted with unique challenges. We'll break through the protein myth, discuss proper male nutrition, the importance of body awareness, and have a great time doing so! In this class Gregg will share hearty yet healthy recipes that will assist in the transition to a vegan diet or help current vegans to expand their repertoire. Think homemade Brats grilled in peppers, onions and Red Stripe.

Register soon as these classes sell out quickly!

Yoga and Pranayama

These secrets of yoga are within the hearts of everyone. ~Yoga Rahasya III.29

Yoga sessions at the Lab are always dedicated to the health, joy and liberation of all beings. Special attention is paid to the act of doing yoga in Detroit and sharing the personal change achieved with change in the community. Our classes are taught specifically for the students in attendance. Yoga is first and foremost about the breath and does not refer to our experience or physical flexibility. In the Lab we find common ground daily and practice from that point.

Market Saturdays are particularly energetic and our practice reflects and contributes to that energy. What could be better than visiting the market, doing yoga and picking up all your fresh fruits and vegetables?

Yoga Schedule:
Please NOTE: We will be closing the Lab on February 14th and will transfer our yoga sessions to an exciting close temporary location TBA. Stay Tuned!



10 a.m.

5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m.


Doors open a half an hour prior to class and are locked promptly at the start of class! All classes begin with Sun Salutations or a similar breath and body warming flow (vinyasa). All classes are an hour and fifteen minutes long. We also make time for individual assistance and discussion after every class.

Class Fees:
Walk-ins: $10.00

Your Yoga Instructors:

Gregg Newsom
Gregg connected to yoga at a young age but began his focused study and practice in 1994. In addition to asana, he pursued pranayama, meditation, tantra and more esoteric studies. In 2004, he began to teach at yoga studios and medical centers across the Metro Detroit area. Though teaching many styles of yoga, his personal practice is Ashtanga. In 2006, Gregg traveled to Mysore, India to study with Ashtanga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. His time in India enhanced his connection to the traditional practice of yoga and he strives to share this with all of his students. He's been blessed to practice and study with Matthew Darling, Manju Jois, David Life, Sharon Gannon, Tim Miller and R. Sharath Rangaswamy. Gregg writes on yoga and other topics in his Detroit As A Portal blog.

Gregg Newsom

Community Events

What Is The Transition Movement?
An evening with Michael Brownlee and Lynette Hanthorn
of Transition Boulder
This Thursday, Jan 29th 7:30 - 9:30 pm

Please join us in Eastern Market's heated Shed 5 on Thursday, January 29th from 7:30 - 9:30 pm, for a very special and important talk with Michael Brownlee of Transition Boulder County. The Transition Movement is proving to be the most inspiring and fastest growing social movement in human history. The Detroit Evolution Laboratory shares its vision whole-heartedly and has already been working to reach many of the same goals, long before we even knew such an organized movement existed. So, what is Transition?

Now in all 50 states, Transition empowers communities to squarely face the challenges of peak oil and climate change, and to unleash the collective genius of their own people to find the answers to this momentous question: For all those aspects of life that this community needs to sustain itself and thrive, how are we going to drastically reduce carbon emissions (in response to climate change), significantly rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil), and greatly strengthen our local economy (in response to economic instability that we are so familiar with in Detroit)?

Transition Initiatives, designed to achieve relocalization at the community level, represent one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities in strengthening themselves against the effects of these monumental challenges, resulting in a life that is more fulfilling, socially connected, and resilient. Hundreds of communities around the world are joining together in the fastest-growing social change movement in history, unleashing their collective genius to meet the greatest challenges of our time.

Michael Brownlee is co-founder of Transition Boulder County, a non-profit organization whose mission is to catalyze, inspire, encourage, network, support and train communities as the consider, adopt, adapt and implement Transition Initiatives. Transition Boulder County recently became the first Transition Initiative in North America. A catalyst for relocalization - developing community resilience and self-reliance in food, energy, and economy - Michael spearheads the organization's campaign to rebuild community and strengthen economies.

This is an awesome opportunity for Detroit's Activist Community to come together and talk Transition. Please join us!

Read More About TRANSITION!

The Power of Community
How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Transition Ann Arbor Screening & Talk

Please consider joining the Lab as we 'road trip' to Ann Arbor to support Transition Ann Arbor who have assisted us greatly in bringing Michael and Lynette to Detroit. If you're interested in Vanpooling with us in the new Lab Van please get in touch asap!

Details: We will be showing The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil at Detroit Abides in March!

Time: Friday, Jan 30 at 7:00pm
Location: Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
Street: 1420 Hill Street
City/Town: Ann Arbor MI 48104

Come see an inspiring example of how an entire country pulled together in response to the cutoff of their energy supply. Discussion follows, led by Michael Brownlee and Lynette Hanthorn of Transition Boulder County.

About the film: When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half - and food by 80 percent - people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call "The Special Period." The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis - the massive reduction of fossil fuels - is an example of options and hope.

Detroit Abides
On the third Wednesday of every month DETROIT ABIDES screens a movie on a sustainable topic, explores the topic at the local level through discussion and support from regional groups and businesses, and creates a space to meet like-minded people from all walks of life & grow an active, healthy community.

Detroit Abides - A FREE Monthly Sustainability Gathering in Eastern Market
Wednesday, February 18th, 7 - 9 pm
Eastern Market's Heated Shed 5
Please join Detroit Evolution Laboratory, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, and Eastern Market Corporation on the 3rd Wednesday of every month for our FREE sustainability gathering, Detroit Abides. This month to focus our celebration of Black History Month we will screen two parts of the three part documentary, Race the Power of An Illusion. After this powerful film, we will lead an open discussion on Race as a construct and explore the opportunities and challenges offered by Detroit's wonderfully diverse population. For this casual event, please bring a comfortable seat. Though Shed 5 is enclosed and heated, it’s a large space so bringing sweaters, blankets and friends is advised. Shed 5 is located at the corner of Russell and Alfred St. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Shed. If your non-profit group or socially conscious business would like to table at this event please contact us. For more information or to get involved call “the Lab” 313.316.1411


Purposeful (Not Random) Acts of Kindness
Garie Thomas-Bass, Kertia Thomas-Black and Kirtis Thomas III

Please check out Garie's new website
for more Purposeful Acts of Kindness!

We have copies of Garie's book in stock at the Lab for $16 or if you're out of town you can order a copy through her new web page.

"Even though our book may not be considered politically correct, it is written with the hope that some ideas that used to be called “common sense” will again become the behavior of choice. There is one rule presented for each week of the year. The fifty-two “suggestions” Our hope is that each person will use in his/her life some of these straightforward and easily applied ideas after it is understood why they are important. Truthfully, these rediscovered actions will allow us to live together in society with as little confrontational stress as possible."

Map & Directions

1434 Gratiot Avenue #1, Detroit MI 48207
Our entrance is behind our building NOT on Gratiot!

We use google maps for directions, they're much better at it than we are. If you need assistance please email or call 313.316.1411.

Map to the Lab

The Lab entrance is well marked and located off the cobble stone service drive behind our building on Gratiot. Please pay attention to parking signs and meters if you elect to park on Gratiot or behind the building.

Please help keep the Lab Up and Running!

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