Greetings "Change your thoughts and you change your world." ... Norman Vincent Peale Dear friends and supporters, I've learned over the decades to

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"Change your thoughts and you change your world." ... Norman Vincent Peale

Marissa In the Green Hills

Join me on Bay Area Green Tours' maiden voyaage to CUBA!

Dear friends and supporters,

I've learned over the decades to cope with loss and frustration by focusing on all the positive realities around me. This has been more challenging to do than usual In this year of tragic loss, including: the devastating Oakland Ghost Ship fire, the unexpected results of the presidential election, and the loss of an unusually long list of political titans, sports legends, writers, famous musicians and Hollywood greats. Perhaps it’s the nature of my upbringing (filled with Christian Science “mind over matter” messaging and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” sermons, which my mother took me to as a child) that I find myself searching in this moment for what is inspiring instead of what is bleak.

At my core I'm a teacher, and teachers must believe in a brighter future. This commitment fuels my passion for teaching and sharing positive information in the world, focused on what IS working to create a hopeful and sustainable future, versus what’s not!

This philosophy also inspires my work with our wonderful volunteers and interns who keep the fires burning in our small operation. Behind the scenes we foster a mentor program, of which I'm extremely proud! One such volunteer expert is UC Berkeley IT mentor Fred Lee, who has worked with our international interns from: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Congo, Thailand, France, The Netherlands, Germany and soon Korea. It’s extremely rewarding to see these young people move on to do great things in the world, such as running successful school garden programs and working with the World Wildlife Foundation in Sydney, Australia.

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Devon,Youth Radio Intern

We create a learning incubator for local interns and are appealing to you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help fund 19 year-old Devon McGriff, our beloved Youth Radio intern. Devon’s three month paid internship will cease at the end of January and the only way we can keep him on board is by raising additional funds. We would like to hire him for 10-20 hours a week, depending on how much we raise. With just $2,000 we could retain him part-time for 4 months at minimum wage ($12.55 hr.) This would extend his opportunity to continue to work on our website, learn good work habits and hone his many skills -- all to our mutual benefit.

May you find light in the darkness to illuminate your path, and always keep the flame burning within.

Warmest wishes,

Marissa LaMagna
Founder and Executive Director


Please Support our Youth Radio Intern!

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Devon working with our German Intern Katja at our office

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Devon at Workshop Residence in San Francisco

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IT Guru Fred Mentoring Devon

Here’s What Devon McGriff Wants You to Know:

What I’ve learned so far during my BAGT internship: I’ve learned that networking, taking risks and having fun is very important. I’m learning about time management and am working on accountability and how to prioritize. I’ve learned how to use the Salesforce database and helped create some graphics for BAGT’s upcoming tours of Cuba and SF’s Dogpatch neighborhood. I’ve improved my Wordpress ability by working on BAGT’s website with our IT mentor Fred Lee. I’m also learning more about social media and how to use Kanban, our project management tool. Because BAGT is a small operation, I’ve been able to be work with different people, and to get a sense of what it takes to operate a small a nonprofit organization. I’ve learned to be open to learning something new everyday, and to be truly grateful.

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Devon and Katya at Hacienda San Gregorio

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Katja and Devon at Green Fest

Why this internship is so valuable for me: This internship has provided me with an opportunity to experience the best of the Bay Area -- since I’ve been able to connect and learn about local heroes of the “Green Scene” like Van Jones, to preview and evaluate amazing tour stops (sometimes even going on incredible overnight adventures!), and to attend inspiring events such as the Brower Youth Awards and the Green Festival.

Why I want to continue my work with BAGT and what I want to learn in the future: I would love to continue at BAGT to improve my people and communication skills, and to develop other skills that can help me build my personal brand. I really want to expand my media skills so that I can take what i have learned with me out in the field. I’d also like to learn excel formulas with our IT mentor Fred, and to deepen my knowledge of Salesforce with Ted, our other volunteer mentor. Once I have a laptop of my own and Photoshop I hope to continue to help with graphics, which I learned about at Youth Radio. I also want to learn more about environmental issues, since in BAGT’s office I’m surrounded by a variety of green nonprofits -- maybe they would even hire me to help them also, down the line. Lastly I would love to be able to learn more about how to run an organization that possesses a mindset to positively affect the world. Thank you for considering making a contribution to help fund my continued work with Bay Area Green Tours!

Please help sponsor Devon’s internship HERE at whatever level works for you, to help BAGT bolster the growth and career development of this particularly bright and dedicated young man. We would also welcome a donation of an apple laptop for him to use. Thank you very much for your consideration!

Other vital ways to support our efforts:

Volunteer or intern with our warm and wonderful team
Rent the fabulous Sabor Mexicano home/retreat center
Join or refer qualified people to our co-working space which currently has a vacancy
Help organize your friends to plan a trip to Cuba with BAGT
Let us know about great models of sustainability in your world!


Volunteer with Us!

We're always eager to hear from talented and motivated individuals with the skills, drive and enthusiasm to support our work! In return we provide valuable knowledge and experiences to create a win/win collaboration which enables volunteers to gain new knowledge and access to a variety of resources and mentors. Currently we're looking for help with:
Marketing, Social Media, Graphic Arts, Fundraising and Research. We are also looking for board members.

If you're interested in volunteering with us, please contact:


Farm Rental

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The Historic Armstrong House, Sabor Mexicano

Book Now Before the Summer Dates Fill Up!

Retreats, Family and Girlfriend Getaways, Reunions, Birthdays, Weddings & More!

Do have a special group you’d love to spend quality time with in a magical spot in nearby Sonoma County? Now's the time to plan a stay at the beautiful Sabor Mexicano Farm, which has received only 5 star ratings!

Gorgeous views
2 hours from the Bay Area
5 minutes from the Russian River and the charming town of Guerneville
20 minutes from Jenner-by-the-Sea, where the river empties into the ocean
Nestled along Fife creek in an idyllic valley
The Farm’s hiking trails wind through a forest of Douglas firs, madrones and redwood
Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve is right next door!

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The farmhouse has been thoroughly remodeled to combine historic touches with modern amenities, and sleeps up to 18 guests. We can organize an apple pressing nearby (in season), a walk with a local naturalist, a tour to local farms or organic wineries. We might even be able to get Jorge Saldana (owner of Cancun and Tllac Restaurants) to cook for you using fresh produce straight from his gardens!

For more Information: HERE and HERE.

Your stay helps support our nonprofit work!

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Sunny Office in Downtown Oakland


Share an Office with BAGT!

339 15th Street @ Webster Street

We're called Ecocity CoLab and we're looking for a few more people to add our lovely cooperative work space.

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Price: $250 per person a month / $300 for a designated desk
Address: 339 15th Street @ Webster Street between Frank Ogawa Plaza & Lake Merritt
Public Transportation: Between 12th & 19th Street BART and various bus lines
Parking: Bike parking in basement and racks on streets; Street parking ($2/hour) and paid lots nearby
Amenities: WiFi, Accessibility, Print/Scan/Copy, Small Conference Room, Mailbox, Kitchenette, Coffee & Tea

* Close to public transportation and beautiful Lake Merritt
* In a bustling, historic business district with numerous business resources such as printing, banking, design, mailing and legal services
* Numerous restaurants and other local businesses in a 5 block radius
* Near to headquarters of other urban/green organizations such as TransForm, Urban Habitat, and, as well as Oakland City Planning and Development offices
* Close to yoga studios and gyms


Please help us spread the word and curate a mission driven group of people who collaborate and support each other's work!


Learn About Cuba From Cubans!

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Upcoming Trips to Cuba

Trips can be scheduled for May or October, 2017, or February, 2018. We can work with you to craft a made to order tour for you and ten of your friends. If you gather the group YOU can go at a drastically reduced price or possibly for free!

Let us help you customize your trip according to your special interests, with a focus on the arts, agriculture and sustainability!

To learn more about the trip, click HERE


TOUR FOCUS: Sustainability, Agriculture, and the Arts

Meet eco farmers, artists, filmmakers, musicians,
government reps, nonprofits & educators
Learn about Cuba’s agro ecological transition, organic farming & the arts
Explore beautiful beaches & natural sites

Check out a sample itinerary: HERE



10 Days Double accommodations
All breakfasts, large lunches, cultural activities and some cocktails
Welcome & farewell dinner, Salsa Lessons, Private Rooftop Concerts
Transportation & charismatic local Cuban guides
Donations to partnering non profits who will be hosting us
Learn about Cuba’s agro ecological transition, organic farming & the arts

$ 2,975 @ homestay with local chosen family
$ 3,775 @ 4 star hotel (Single room supplement: $720)

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Malia Everette

Don't miss this insider's view of the real Cuba!

Our host will be the fabulous Malia Everett, CEO and Founder of Altruvistas. Malia has been bringing people to Cuba since 1992 when she was the Director of Global Exchange's Reality Tours. She will arrange house concerts with her long time friends, and our group will be hosted by innovative thinkers, documentary filmmakers, organic farmers, and artists who are the masters of creative reuse. Maria serves on the Women’s Earth Alliance, Food First and the BAGT Board of Directors.

To register for this amazing trip, please contact:


BAGT Gratitude

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Marissa, Sarie, LIndsey and Anna

This is truly a labor of love!

We could not exist without our treasured interns and volunteers who consistently support our small yet steadfast staff.

To this year’s foreign interns: Wendy (Congo), Bastien (France) and Katja (Germany). Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm, perspective and culture. We hope that you return home inspired to make positive changes and pursue your dreams!

We are sad to say goodbye in January to dear Katja, who arrived in September from a Social Innovations program in Munich. We will miss her exuberance and passion for the Bay Area, (especially Oakland). She and Devon worked hard to improve our website, and she leaves behind our beautiful new catalog as her legacy.

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Pita & Wendy

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Devon, Rachel, Katja, Sarie, Batya, Marissa


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We would like to extend our deepest gratitude specifically at this time to:

Fred, our IT guru from CAL for teaching us so much and mentoring our team
Lindsey and Sarie, whose contributions have been unique and vital
Pita, Michele, Aaron and Peter for your many hours of dedicated work in marketing
Arlen and Becky, our awesome CAL students
Ted for streamlining Salesforce and sales support
Tony, Pam, Susan, Anthony, Patricia for your consistent help with event outreach
Joel for photos and video and Kari for graphic help
The 30 volunteers who showed up in the rain at our May fundraiser at Ghirardelli Square and helped raise $11,000! A huge thank you!
Jorge and Carmina Saldana of Sabor Mexicano for our partnership and their consistent support of our work
And John, for your continual support and love!

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Patricia & Dixie

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Lastly I want to thank our two key players and part time staff who support BAGT on a daily basis: Rachel, a multi-talented woman who began as a volunteer more than five years ago and has worn a variety of hats in our small operation, and Batya, who has worked with BAGT for 8 years and, besides being a talented writer and editor, is one of the kindest people on the planet -- the perfect person to recruit and vet interns and interface with the public while overseeing our farm rentals. Thank you both for your many patient years, your great sacrifices, and your unwavering dedication to our mission.






Bay Area Green Tours Mission

Bay Area Green Tours 501(c)3 provides educational tours and events that demonstrate the sustainable economy in action, inspire support of local green businesses, and empower people to incorporate environmental responsibility and social justice into their personal and professional lives.