Sustainable Solano Offers Land and Water Caretakers Certification Course in Sustainable Landscaping

  • Land and Water Caretakers Certification Course
  • Jan. 8 – March 25
  • 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays (in classroom) and 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays (class on site)
  • Benicia (open to those 18 years and older. Participants do not have to be county residents)

Those interested in sustainable landscaping, whether landscaping professionals or those new to the field, will have a chance to gain the knowledge and practical skills needed through the Land and Water Caretakers Certification course starting in January.

Sustainable Solano is offering the program in Benicia through Solano Adult Education. It is open to anyone 18 and older. Participants do not have to be Solano County residents. The course fee is $200 with scholarships available for those who qualify.

Classes will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays and from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays, with in-class instruction on Wednesday nights and on-site, hands-on lessons Saturday mornings.

Participants in the program will have a chance to put what they are learning to use by installing a demonstration food forest garden at a Benicia private residence, converting that property’s water-hungry lawn to a waterwise garden and installing a laundry-to-landscape greywater system. They will also benefit from guest speakers, including a workshop from Travis Credit Union on small business finances.

As a final project, students will use what they have learned to create a garden design under the supervision of their instructor. Those who complete the course will receive Sustainable Solano’s Land and Water Caretakers Certification, making it the perfect fit for experienced landscaping professionals looking for more sustainable practices, those looking to start their own companies or expand their career choices and those drawn to expand their own knowledge.

To register, contact Thelma Bentley at Benicia Adult Education at tbentley@beniciaunified.org or 707-747-8367.

Funding for this program comes from the second amendment to the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement, the Solano County Water Agency and student fees.

About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization, now in its second decade, brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens. 

For more information, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org

St. Patrick – St. Vincent Students Learn About Sustainability and Install Demonstration Food Forest Garden

 

Students at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School are learning about sustainability this school year through a pilot sustainability curriculum and hands-on food forest garden installation. The program started in May with the construction of a cob bench made of clay, sand and straw and incorporating “bottle bricks” — plastic bottles filled with nonrecyclable plastic trash.

This month, students will learn about sustainability in class, including an introduction to permaculture and systems thinking, planetary limits and wise water use. Incorporating science and math standards, the lessons will introduce students to sustainability, where their local water sources come from and how to capture rainwater within an environment. The curriculum development is funded by a grant from the Solano Community Foundation.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of what they’ve been learning in class through the installation of a demonstration permaculture food forest garden on campus. This part of the program is supported through Solano Sustainable Backyards, which is funded by the Solano County Water Agency.

“This collaboration with Sustainable Solano is a valuable learning opportunity for our students,” science teacher Summer Ragosta said. “They are able to get hands-on experience with environmental science concepts, including practical ways to protect topsoil, one of our most valuable natural resources, from erosion and degradation. This has implications that go beyond the garden, and help students gain insight into lessons on climate change, waste management, and biodiversity. I am honored to be a part of this great program.”

The food forest project will demonstrate sustainable urban agriculture and water conservation. Through the installation, students will gain hands-on, practical experience in creating guilds of fruit trees and plants that work together, building earthworks to capture rainwater, build a rainwater collection system and learn about greywater.

The school community is enthusiastic about this exciting program and the connected projects, raising additional funds to build more reinforced and secured seating terraces. The food forest will be at the top of the new amphitheater, creating a welcoming, nourishing space for students and campus gatherings.

“I have imagined this space for many years, as I would be working in the garden at the top of the hill,” said Rick Rodgers, a teacher on campus for 32 years and 1977 St. Patrick alumnus. “Both students and adults will value the serenity of the space. Being tucked away in that back corner creates a sense of privacy and the trees and gardens are beautiful and will become more beautiful each year.”

This demonstration food forest project is supported by a grant from the Solano County Water Agency. The pilot curriculum program and cob bench construction are supported by an ED Plus grant from the Solano Community Foundation.

Photo/interview opportunities:

  • Monday, Oct. 14: In-class introduction to permaculture lesson
  • Monday, Oct. 21: Food Forest installation (planting trees and sheet mulching)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23: Food Forest installation (planting tree guild understory and drip irrigation)
  • Thursday, Oct. 24: In-class introduction to water harvesting (with hands-on soil erosion lab)
  • Monday, Oct. 28: Water harvesting math lesson (a representative of curriculum funder Solano Community Foundation will be attending the first class period)

Students will be involved in these lessons during the following class periods most days:

    • 9:14-10:07 a.m.
    • 11:23 a.m.-12:16 p.m.
    • 1:57-2:50 p.m.

Oct. 24 class times differ: 

    • 9:50-10:36 a.m.
    • 11:46 a.m.-12:32 p.m.
    • 2:04-2:50 p.m.

 

Contacts:

Jaime Kim

Director of Development

St. Patrick-St. Vincent

707.644.4425 x452

j.kim@spsv.org

Nicole Newell

Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager

Sustainable Solano

707.567.3272

nicole@sustainablesolano.org

Allison Nagel

Workforce Development and Communications Manager

Sustainable Solano

805.512.0901

allison@sustainablesolano.org

 

About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens. 

For more information about Sustainable Solano, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org

 

About St. Patrick-St. Vincent School

St. Patrick – St. Vincent Catholic High School is the only diocesan Catholic college preparatory high school in Solano County with a century-long tradition of education that supports the success of 465 students every school year.

For more information about St. Patrick – St. Vincent Catholic High School, please visit our website at spsv.org.

Residents Turn Out in Rio Vista to Build Edible Food Forest Garden, Greywater Workshop This Weekend

 

Around 20 people gathered at a Rio Vista home on Saturday, Oct. 5, to learn about what goes into creating a sustainable, edible, water-wise yard, starting with laying the foundation to capture rainwater in the ground and nourish plants while limiting runoff from the property.

“The first day was filled with community magic,” said Nicole Newell, sustainable landscaping program manager at Sustainable Solano, the organization behind the workshop and garden. “Residents of Rio Vista and surrounding counties came together to meet like-minded people, learn about permaculture and see it in action!”

Newell said participants ranged in age from teenagers to seniors. The homeowners made a taco meal with meat and vegan options.

“One Rio Vista resident said it was truly beautiful to see everyone working together as one,” she recalled.

The day-long workshop was the first of three that will install Sustainable Solano’s first food forest in Rio Vista through the Solano Sustainable Backyards program. Called “Fortune’s Garden,” the food forest will show what can be created from the blank slate of an empty yard in a new development.

Participants Saturday learned about the concept of permaculture, a sustainable design system stressing the harmonious interrelationship of humans, plants, animals and the earth. Designer Lauren Bennett of Bay Wise Gardens talked with the group about food forest gardens and then led them in digging water-capturing swales, moving wood chips onto the site to build healthy soil and hold rainwater and planting trees.

The next workshop will be this Saturday, Oct. 12. Participants will learn how to install a laundry-to-landscape greywater system that diverts water used in each load of laundry to mulch basins around trees and plants in the yard, saving water costs for the homeowner while keeping water on-site and creating a vibrant garden.

The program and the series of installations in Rio Vista are made possible by the generous support of the Solano County Water Agency.

Rio Vista Demonstration Food Forest Installation

10 am-4 pm on Oct. 12 and 19

The address will be available to participants upon registering. Lunch will be provided by the homeowner at each workshop. Please bring hats, gloves, reusable water bottle and sunblock. 

For more information and to register, visit SustainableSolano.org/events

(More details and direct registration links included below)

Saturday, Oct. 12 – Laundry-to-landscape greywater system

Greywater Action will be leading the workshop to teach hands-on how to install a simple laundry-to-landscape system in your own home. You will learn how to install a simple three-way valve in your laundry room, connect the pipe from your washing machine to your landscape, and how to prepare your landscape to receive the greywater. This installation day begins with a lecture about greywater.

Saturday, Oct. 19 – Learn to install a water-efficient in-line drip irrigation system and plants

We will add plants to the ecosystem as well as drip irrigation, and have an opportunity to see a dead, barren backyard transformed into a customized food forest based on permaculture design principles. This installation includes a short lecture from Lauren Bennett, owner of Bay Wise Gardens, on selecting plants and creating a custom design. 

Topics Covered:

  • Planting a community of plants with multiple functions that support a healthy, diverse ecosystem.
  • Surface drip irrigation installation: adding irrigation for young plants and water conservation.
  • Covering the food forest with free woodchips (mulch) to prevent water evaporation and improve soil health.

About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization, now in its second decade, brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens. 

For more information, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org

 

Photos below should be credited as courtesy of Sustainable Solano. Larger files available upon request.

Sustainable Solano Brings Edible Food Forest Garden to Rio Vista

Rio Vista residents interested in learning sustainable ways of building and maintaining an edible, water-wise yard will get that chance in a series of three workshops at one Rio Vista residence. This marks the expansion of Sustainable Solano’s Sustainable Backyards program into Rio Vista.

The series of workshops, over three weekends in October, will create “Fortune’s Garden.” The yard will show what can be created from the blank slate of an empty yard in a new development to use water wisely while creating an ecosystem that is both beautiful and functional.

The Sustainable Backyard Program introduces the concept and practice of permaculture to Solano County. Permaculture is a sustainable design system stressing the harmonious interrelationship of humans, plants, animals and the earth. The core of permaculture is design and the working relationships and connections between all living things.

The program and the series of installations in Rio Vista are made possible by the generous support of the Solano County Water Agency.

Rio Vista Demonstration Food Forest Installation

10 am-4 pm on Oct. 5, 12 and 19

The address will be available to participants upon registering. Lunch will be provided by the homeowner at each workshop. Please bring hats, gloves, reusable water bottle and sunblock. 

For more information and to register, visit SustainableSolano.org/events

(More details and direct registration links included below)

DAY 1: Saturday, Oct. 5 – Laying the Foundation

We will be laying down the foundation of this edible garden: digging on-contour swales, making berms, diverting the roof water and planting trees. Break ground with friends and neighbors and learn how to use water wisely while creating an environment where life-supporting plants thrive. This installation day includes a short lecture from Lauren Bennett, owner of Bay Wise Gardens, on how to build a food forest. 

DAY 2: Saturday, Oct. 12 – Laundry-to-landscape greywater system

Greywater Action will be leading the workshop to teach hands-on how to install a simple laundry-to-landscape system in your own home. You will learn how to install a simple three-way valve in your laundry room, connect the pipe from your washing machine to your landscape, and how to prepare your landscape to receive the greywater. This installation day begins with a lecture about greywater.

DAY 3: Saturday, Oct. 19 – Learn to install a water-efficient in-line drip irrigation system and plants

We will add plants to the ecosystem as well as drip irrigation, and have an opportunity to see a dead, barren backyard transformed into a customized food forest based on permaculture design principles. This installation includes a short lecture from Lauren Bennett, owner of Bay Wise Gardens, on selecting plants and creating a custom design. 

Topics Covered:

  • Planting a community of plants with multiple functions that support a healthy, diverse ecosystem.
  • Surface drip irrigation installation: adding irrigation for young plants and water conservation.
  • Covering the food forest with free woodchips (mulch) to prevent water evaporation and improve soil health.

About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization, now in its second decade, brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens. 

For more information, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org

Sustainable Solano Offers Classes on Sustainable Landscaping in Dixon

 

Sustainable Solano is expanding its Sustainable Backyards program, which creates waterwise, edible food forest gardens, to Dixon. We welcome coverage of this program and what it will bring to Dixon.

In September, Sustainable Solano is inviting those interested in the program and community members to join us for two informational workshops:

 

Building Sustainable Yards in Dixon

6 – 7 pm, September 19
The Barn & Pantry
125 West A St., Dixon

Are you a Dixon homeowner interested in transforming your yard into a thriving,
edible ecosystem fed by secondary water? Or do you manage a public site that could
benefit from sustainable landscaping for the greater community? We are looking for
a site to install a demonstration food forest in the spring of 2020 that will serve as
an educational resource for local residents to learn about sustainable landscaping
and wise water use through an annual public tour. Come learn about Sustainable
Solano’s Dixon Sustainable Backyard Program at this informative talk about building
a sustainable yard!

For more information and to register for this FREE event, visit sustainablesolano.org/events
Direct link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-sustainable-yards-tickets-70505765643

 

Sustainable Landscaping Class in Dixon

6 – 7 pm, September 26
The Barn & Pantry
125 West A St., Dixon

Learn about sustainable landscaping: beautiful, productive, life-supporting
ecosystems featuring trees and a variety of perennials fed by “secondary water”
(greywater and rainwater). Davis-based lead designer/engineer of Whole System
Designs, Derek Downey, will explore how to make a sustainable yard a reality. This
class is for homeowners interested in replacing their lawns or who would like to
make their current yards resource-wise, but open to anyone interested in
sustainable landscaping techniques.

For more information and to register for this FREE event, visit sustainablesolano.org/events
Direct link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sustainable-landscaping-class-tickets-70509486773

 

The Solano Sustainable Backyards program is made possible through the generous support of the Solano County Water Agency.

For more information on the program, contact Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager Nicole Newell at nicole@sustainablesolano.org

For interviews or photos, contact Communications Manager Allison Nagel at allison@sustainablesolano.org

 

About Sustainable Solano
Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization, now in its second decade, brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens.
For more information, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org

Sustainable Solano Seeking Dixon, Rio Vista Residents Interested in Sustainable Edible Gardens

Sustainable Solano is gauging interest in Dixon and Rio Vista for its Sustainable Backyards program, which creates waterwise, edible food forest gardens.

During the month of August, the organization will be assessing the interest in installing food forest gardens at public and private sites. The creation of these gardens serves as hands-on educational workshops for local residents. Community members attend workshops that involve digging rainwater-capturing swales, spreading mulch, installing laundry-to-landscape greywater systems, and planting shade and fruit trees and surrounding guilds of plants that work together to create a healthy, vibrant garden. These workshops help participants gain the skills and knowledge needed to bring these ideas back to their own gardens and neighborhoods.

Dixon or Rio Vista residents who have a private or public site in mind for a garden can fill out the Sustainable Landscaping Interest Form.

The Solano Sustainable Backyards program is made possible through the generous support of the Solano County Water Agency.

 

For more information on the program, contact Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager Nicole Newell at nicole@sustainablesolano.org. For interviews or photos, contact Communications Manager Allison Nagel at allison@sustainablesolano.org.

 

About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization, now in its second decade, brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, sustaining conversations and community gardens. 

For more information, email info@sustainablesolano.org or visit sustainablesolano.org