“What’s For Dinner?” 2018 Workshop Schedule

Solano County Library, The Friends of the Vallejo Public Library, in partnership with Sustainable Solano and UR what U eat bring you the next series of “What’s For Dinner?”- healthy cooking workshops aiming to educate the community on healthy, nutritious food choices using seasonal ingredients. Classes will take place quarterly at John F. Kennedy Library (505 Santa Clara Street) in downtown Vallejo. This series will be taught by Chef Lisa Núñez-Hancock, a culinary arts instructor, natural food chef, food activist and a member of Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Movement Advisory Board.

2018 Healthy Cooking Workshop Schedule

(June 30) Eating Clean 101- Techniques and recipes to “clean up your act”

(August 18th) Super Foods & Super Recipes- Kale, beets, berries and more

(September 22) Riffing on Ramen- How to make healthy ramen bowls

(November 10th) Going with the Grain- Recipes and techniques for cooking with unusual healthy grains

*Please refer to our events calendar for more details, dates changes or updates regarding these workshops.

Lisa Núñez-Hancock is a culinary arts instructor, natural food chef, food activist and founder of UR what U eat. Lisa has recently moved to Vallejo and is very excited about bringing her skills and knowledge about nutrition, food preparation and the politics around the food movement to the community. She has taught nutrition and healthy cooking classes for over nine years in inner-city after school programs, museums, libraries, homesteading hubs, at community centers, and as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s curriculum.

In her mission statement Lisa describes UR what U eat as a culinary program which provides hands-on healthy cooking and nutrition workshops to children, teens and adults. UR what U eat workshops teach basic cooking skills and fundamental principals of nutrition, while utilizing math and science skills as they relate to food preparation. Rooted in the fundamentals of the Slow Food Movement and the writings of Michael Pollan, UR what U eat embraces the philosophy of growing, preparing and eating real food. Workshops take participants through the complete food cycle, while at the same time preserving healthy multi-cultural culinary traditions. It is a program that promotes healthy and conscious eating for the entire family.

The Power of YOUR Voice: June 15th Deadline to Apply to Serve on the Vallejo Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members recommend to the City Council how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. Developed first in Brazil in 1989, Participatory Budgeting is now practiced in over 1,500 cities around the world.The City and Vallejo residents’ involvement in Participatory Budgeting has made Vallejo a model for city and government institutions worldwide. Through new partnerships with universities and educational institutions, non-profit organizations, generated recognition from The White House, The AtlanticSlate Magazine, Time and National Public Radio, Vallejo has become the gold standard for public participation and collaborative government.
What is the Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee?
The Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee facilitates the PB process, which includes recommending program rules, planning public meetings, and conducting outreach with diverse communities.
Members work with City Staff to ensure that PB Vallejo is transparent, fair, and inclusive.
The committee has a total of 11 seats, comprised of organizational and at-large members.
Committee members serve for 2 cycles of Vallejo’s PB process (Approximately 2 years).
Currently, there are 6 member vacancies and 3 alternate member vacancies.
If you would like to serve on the PBSC please fill out the PBSC Application .
Applications must be received no later than close of business on Friday, June 15, 2018.
City Council interviews have tentatively been scheduled for the weeks of July 2 through July 16 starting as early as 5:30 p.m.
Applicants must attend the interview in order to be considered for appointment.
We are also inviting Federally-designated 501(c) 3 non-profit organizations to apply to be potential implementing partners click here for the Prequalification Requirements and here for the NPO Application

From Airman to Daisies: Suisun Wildlife Center Pollinator Project Draws in Community

By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Backyard Program Manager

The work at Suisun Wildlife Center was the most interesting and busiest installation yet! As we were learning, working, and getting to know each other, the raptors and a one-eyed coyote were watching us.  Volunteers stopped by to get bottles for the baby squirrels and raccoons that are receiving in-home care and wounded baby possums, squirrels, raccoons and birds arrived as we installed the pollinator food forest.  We saw first-hand the service that Suisun Wildlife Center provides to California native wildlife.  Throughout the three days, city council members, board members, and community members interested in water-efficiency and wildlife visited us.

Andrew Torres, a student from the Airman Leadership School Globemaster class contacted me a few days prior to the installation and asked if we had a community service project available for the class to join.  This healthy crew of young men and women studying to be sergeants delivered 15 yards of tree chips and dug 60 feet of swales in only two hours! Each year 35, 263 gallons of water will be diverted from the roof to the swales.  Suisun City Vice Mayor, Lori Wilson, coordinated lunch with local eateries and McDonalds donated chicken salads (yes they were tasty!).  At lunchtime, we spoke to the Globemaster class and learned about the important role that community service plays in becoming sergeants. The foundation of this garden was completed and the class learned how to harvest water in-ground and build soil by adding tree chips.

The next day, we did not have the help of the Globemaster class, but we did have a few solid participants that have been to our previous workshops ready to wrap up this project.  Kevin brought his nifty drill that helped dig the holes and made planting in clay soil effortless.  We planted over 30 different types of plants to attract pollinators.  Rose from Morningsun Herb Farm recommended Newleaze Coral.  This plant blooms from spring to fall and attracts many different types of bees including native bees.  After we had our pizza lunch donated from Mountain Mikes, the Daisy Girl Scouts arrived to work on their honeybee award.  The girls worked as a team to plant Russian Salvia; this plant attracts butterflies, hover flies and bees.  Then they sprinkled laughter, joy and pollinator seeds all over the garden.  Thank you to everyone that helped get this pollinator food forest installed at Suisun Wildlife Center.  Vice Mayor Wilson supported the Suisun City Sustainable Backyard program from the beginning by introducing us to local organizations, launching our program at Denise Rushing’s speaker event and serving on the Advisory Board to help select both the private and public site in Suisun City.

This demonstration pollinator food forest at Suisun Wildlife Center is a public project funded by the Solano County Water Agency. The garden will serve as a community asset where people can learn simple techniques to design a resilient, water-wise landscape.

The Search for a Business Model – Three Stone Hearth, Co-ops and Holacracy

By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan

As many of you know, Sustainable Solano has been working on a USDA Local Food Promotion Program planning grant, for what we’ve been calling “Community Food Centers”.  We are in Phase 2 of the project, which includes exploring successful, relevant business models, from which we hope to glean ideas for our own model.  From May 23-29, Elena Karoulina, Kristin Kiesel and myself dove head-first into Three Stone Hearth’s “Week-long Kitchen Intensive,” to see how they run their worker-owned cooperative in Berkeley.  For seven days straight we – along with 6 other people – listened, observed, discussed, questioned, chopped, jarred, and cooked in their commercial kitchen.  By the end of the week, we had new information on “Holacracy” (a form of democratic leadership – more on that later), Co-ops, nutrient dense food, and everything in between.

But first, a little history.  Three Stone Hearth is the nation’s first community supported kitchen.  It’s mission is to “heal our community, our planet, and ourselves by building a sustainable model for community scale food preparation and processing that honors culinary traditions and provides nutrient-dense foods for local households and beyond.”  Inspired by diverse cuisines and cultures, Three Stone Hearth produces weekly menus of prepared foods, along with fermented beverages such as kombucha, kefir, beet kvass and the like.  While there last week, I helped prep an Ethiopian Beef Stew, mixed lime into polenta, and jarred green beans for pickling.  A recent menu included Chicken Posole, Mexican Albondigas Soup, a Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, Tuscan White Bean Soup, Braised Pork with Saurkraut, Beef Liver Pate with Mushrooms and Thyme, various condiments (pestos, pepper jelly, mayonnaise, salad dressing) and more.  For more information on Three Stone Hearth, visit www.threestonehearth.com.

The food prepared at Three Stone Hearth is informed by the research of Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), a Cleveland dentist who was interested in finding the secret to good health.  He was also interested to know why second and third generations of people (down from his original patients) had markedly more dental decay and teeth issues.  For nearly 10 years, he and his wife travelled the world and analyzed diets of secluded populations, as opposed to studying those who were ill.  He visited 14 different countries, including remote villages in Switzerland, Eskimos and Indians in North and South America, African tribes, Melanesian and Polynesian South Islanders and Australian Aborigines to name a few.  His research found that people who were isolated and not yet touched by commercialized agriculture and food production – in other words, those who followed a traditional/ancestral, nutrient-dense diet – had properly spaced teeth, very little tooth decay, good dental arches, better immunity to tuberculosis, and overall excellent health.  In contrast, people who consumed processed food had more dental caries, deformed jaw structures, crooked teeth, arthritis and a low immunity to tuberculosis.  After this extensive research, he identified eleven characteristics of traditional diets that crossed over among all cultures, including methods such as soaking/sprouting grains, nuts and seeds; avoiding refined or denatured foods; consuming equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids; consuming some sort of animal protein, and more.  Additional information on his work can be found on The Weston A. Price Foundation website https://www.westonaprice.org/

Day One of our Kitchen Intensive included a presentation by Jessica Prentice (founding member and worker-owner of Three Stone Hearth) on diets of traditional peoples around the world, and how those diets influence the dishes made at Three Stone Hearth.  Jessica also spoke of the role of dairy products in traditional diets.  On Day Two, Jessica delved into the history of Three Stone Hearth – how it was founded and how their business plan emerged.  She also spoke about their organizational structure and governance, Holacracy, which removes traditional management hierarchies and replaces them with distributed authority, where authority lives as close to the work as possible (not up to the boss/supervisor, etc).  Everyone becomes a leader of their respective “roles,” but also becomes a follower of other people’s roles.  (Visualize five or six small circles – like departments – within the larger circle of the organization.  These are the “roles”; however, no role is more powerful than the others.)  As a result, operations within the organization have more transparency.  The Holocratic model focuses more on “sense and respond” instead of “predict and control”.  Another way Jessica discussed Holocracy was “of the organization, through the people, for the purpose.”  Structured as a worker co-op, no one may be an owner without being a worker.  Members of the co-op don’t own a percentage of the company, but they do receive profits, which are distributed via “patronage”, based on hours worked.  The size/scale of Three Stone Hearth is also specific – it strives to be a community kitchen, which is larger than home kitchens, but not at a factory level; it is a smaller community making food for a larger community, much like community bread-baking facilities of years past.  Day Two concluded with some hands-on learning about fermentation, preservation, and the making of lots of sauerkraut!

Day Three continued the discussion of traditional diets, focusing on fats and the use of bones and braising in traditional cooking.  We then moved on to a presentation on Dietary Protocols, led by Nutritional Therapist, Joey Anderson.  Joey discussed the differences between various diets, including GAPS, Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, etc., and how they relate to traditional diets, as promoted by Weston Price.  Then, we were off to the kitchen for jarring of bone broth, pickling green beans, processing liver for pate, and learning methods for culturing dairy products.

On Day Four, Jessica was back to discuss Budget and Finance within Three Stone Hearth, and how the numbers intersect with the organization’s values of People, Planet & Profit.  Like many organizations and commercial kitchens, they strive to keep a balance between income and various costs.  Three Stone Hearth’s sales are comprised of Housemade products (like the broth, pickles, soups and stews described above), Retail products (made elsewhere and sold in-store), Fermentation and Preservation products (made in-house), Educational classes, and also “Homestead” products, which are bodycare items and household products like candles.  She discussed challenges and opportunities within their model, such as the need to create “rescue recipes” to ensure little to no food waste.  Another worker-owner named Mud walked us through how they source ingredients, which are organic and local whenever possible.  It was challenging for some small-scale farmers to work with them, due to the quantities needed.  At the same time, certain distributors were challenged with them because of their smaller scale.  In other cases, Three Stone Hearth had the opportunity to work with smaller producers to develop certain products, and then guarantee the purchases of these products.  We saw this in action in the afternoon, when we visited Feral Heart Farm at the Sunol Ag Park.  The farmer was experimenting with different types of crops for Three Stone Hearth, which can ultimately be a stepping stone for expansion.

Day Five brought our group of nine participants back into the kitchen, where we joined production for chicken vegetable soup, Ethiopian Beef Stew, Zucchini Pickles, West African Peanut-Ginger Sauce, and flavor preps for fermentation and preservation.  In the afternoon, Jessica Prentice walked us through “Mapping Polarities in Organizations,” a process and framework for working through opposition, recognizing the pros and cons of each side, and then refocusing on the larger goal and solutions.  It has been a very useful way for the worker-owners at Three Stone Hearth to get “unstuck” and find a balance that fits the situation.  Examples of polarities that our kitchen intensive group came up with were “hard work vs. self care”, “practicality vs. vision”, and “automation vs. people power.”  At the end of each polarity analysis, we outlined action steps which would move away from one side (or the other), toward balance.

Day Six began with us observing Three Stone Hearth’s monthly “General Company Circle” Holocratic meeting.  There are two types of basic meetings in Holacracy:  1) Tactical Meetings, which focus on operational concerns, ongoing projects, new actions and metrics, and 2) Governance Meetings which focus on the structure of the Circle, looking at roles, accountabilities and policies.  For example, in a Governance meeting, tasks may be moved from one role to another.  Policy issues cannot be addressed in a Tactical meeting, and operations issues cannot be addressed in a Governance meeting.  At Three Stone Hearth’s meeting, topics discussed included wage reviews, monthly profit & loss, professional development, and new policies.  More information about Holacracy can be found at www.holacracy.org.

The second part of Day Six featured Ricardo Nunez, Cooperatives Program Director at The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC).  Ricardo explained how co-op attorneys assist with agreements, risk assessments, employment law and much more.  Co-ops can be 1) a legal entity, 2) a legal structure (even if the business is another legal entity, like an LLC), 3) a tax category and/or 4) a set of values and principles.  He pointed out that the strongest co-ops are networked with other co-ops, and they offer a certain level of economic resiliency and stability.  For example, in Minneapolis, MN, there are 17 food co-ops.  The marketing, finance and other departments of these co-ops come together to share resources, and as a result have leveraged their position in the community, thus keeping certain other grocery chains out of the market.  The last presentation of the day was on menu planning, new product development, costing and pricing, production planning and inventory.  Menu planning at Three Stone Hearth involves almost everyone – a designated planner, product coach, ingredient buyer, people doing costing and several other coordinators.  The challenge is to bring all these ideas together each week in a one-hour meeting to determine what gets on the menu.

Our last day at Three Stone Hearth took us back into the kitchen for some more food prep, and then a  “Business Planning 101” session with Kristina Sepetys, a food writer, consultant and economist.  She gave advice on choosing company names, business structure, accounting and finance/investment.  We also discussed the use of various start-up tools, “pop-ups” for marketing, and community/customer engagement.  We ended our week with a final Q&A session with some of Three Stone Hearth’s founding members and kitchen personnel, and a celebration with house-made cake (a recipe they were testing!)  It was so very generous of Three Stone Hearth to open their doors to us.  We all left with a greater understanding of their role in the community, as well as the local economy.  Now, our challenge is to see how aspects of their model might apply to our project.  Stay tuned!


The Common Ground Team led by TLS Landscape Architecture has presented the “Grand Bayway” vision at the Resilient by Design Challenge in San Francisco, May 17th. The proposal looks at a resilient future for flood threatened and congested State Route 37 connecting the northern edge of San Francisco Bay as well as a vast restored marsh and tidal complex adjacent. The result creates a new Ecological Central Park bigger than the area of San Francisco itself.

TLS collaborated with architect Michael Maltzan, on an iconic bay crossing on a braided, elevated causeway with separated lanes and diverse transit options 25 feet above migrating tidal marshes. It creates a scenic experience of views to bay landmarks like Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tamalpais, and a front door on the immense open space of tidal sloughs and restored wetlands. Bike and pedestrian trail also “unspool” and provide access to trails, boardwalks, kayak routes, floating fishing camps, 19th century ghost towns that provide excursion train stops.

The marsh complex, largest in the Bay Area is also threatened with inundation by rising tides and flooding. Working with the local ecological community, a spectrum of terra-forming techniques for marsh and benthic habitat recovery will create a vast working laboratory for experiments and pilot projects to benefit similar conditions found around the Pacific Basin.

Urban gateways from the diverse and rapidly growing cities of Vallejo and American Canyon invite new populations to this 21st century, ecologically-oriented open space. Visitors can arrive at intermodal hubs by car, ferry, or train and be equipped and launched for explorations into a part of California, previously unknown to the public. First stage projects will take shape with the next 2 years and engineering of larger scale initial phases will be coordinated with Caltrans alternative planning over the next year.

Working with Exploratorium and Rana Creek Design, the team has also released an explorer’s map for the North Baylands as an outcome of this project which allows people to explore hidden cultural and ecological stories as they hike, bike, drive and kayak through the Baylands.

Team Common Ground

TLS Landscape Architecture


Michael Maltzan Architecture

Guy Nordenson and Associates

Sitelab Urban Studio

HR&A Advisors

Lotus Water

Rana Creek Design

Dr. John Oliver

Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley

Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants

Project video: