Sustainable Solano Hosts Virtual Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour, Talk April 25

 

Sustainable Solano is bringing its annual Demonstration Food Forest Garden tour online this year as an interactive talk and virtual tour. Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the nonprofit organization has reimagined the tour in a way that allows participants to join the talk and experience a garden from the comfort of their homes.

About the Tour:

  • Virtual Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour & Talk
  • 10-11:45 am Saturday, April 25
  • The event will feature a talk by permaculture expert John Valenzuela, followed by a short video tour of one of Sustainable Solano’s demonstration food forest gardens and leaving time for a Q&A session with Valenzuela at the end. The event, hosted on Zoom, will be open to the first 100 people who join that morning. Everyone who registers will also receive a link to the recording of the talk and tour after the live event.
  • Participants must register to get the Zoom link. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-demonstration-food-forest-garden-tour-talk-tickets-90835089197

The live April 25 talk from John Valenzuela of Cornucopia Food Forest Gardens will cover permaculture and explore how permaculture follows nature as a guide in the garden, our communities and beyond. He will plant ideas on what participants can do today to begin a journey into permaculture and bring these concepts into their own gardens. Valenzuela will discuss how to design a tree guild of plants that work together, the elements of a food forest garden, wise sources of water and expanding that vision to create Resilient Neighborhoods. Together, participants will watch a guided virtual video tour of a demonstration food forest garden that shows what can be done to create edible, waterwise landscapes that support communities and provide natural habitat. The tour will show how capturing rainwater, roof water and greywater from weekly laundry can support a garden that works in harmony with nature. There will be time for a question and answer session at the end.

Valenzuela is a horticulturist, consultant and educator. First introduced to the sustainable design theories and methods of permaculture in 1989, he has studied, practiced and taught permaculture in Hawaii, Washington, Costa Rica and throughout California. His special interests are rare fruit, home gardening, trees, traditional agriculture, plant propagation and ethnobotany. 

This talk and the video tour will launch a series of virtual garden tours from Sustainable Solano. The organization will post virtual tours of demonstration food forest gardens throughout the county. Each garden is a unique experience: some are compact front yards, others are on a slope, some share space with animals and small children, some are allowed to grow without restriction, while others are more manicured. They all are lush, food-producing gardens that are fed by secondary water sources (laundry-to-landscape greywater and rainwater) that offer inspiration for home gardens!

John Valenzuela’s talk is sponsored by Republic Services; the tour and Solano Sustainable Backyards program are made possible by the generous support of the Solano County Water Agency

 

Useful links:

Solano Sustainable Backyards: http://sustainablesolano.org/solano-sustainable-backyard/

John Valenzuela: https://cornucopiafoodforest.wordpress.com/about-2/

Resilient Neighborhoods: http://sustainablesolano.org/resilient-neighborhoods/

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.

Sustainable Solano Offers Online Farm-to-Table Cooking Classes Featuring Specialty Crops

 

Sustainable Solano is bringing its farm-to-table cooking class series online. The classes highlight how to prepare seasonal, local food in healthy dishes.

While classes were originally planned to start in March, best practices for addressing health and safety with coronavirus (COVID-19) mean that in-person classes have been postponed until a later date. But that has opened an opportunity to reach more class participants by offering some of the planned classes online, starting with live classes on April 9 and April 18. Participants will have the opportunity to see a demonstration cooking class for a seasonal salad made with ingredients directly from local farms in Solano and nearby counties. They will also be able to ask questions over Zoom video conferencing.

Sustainable Solano, a nonprofit organization that has been working to build community interest in local food, plans 88 cooking classes around Solano County in the next two years. These cooking classes include those for the general public taught in the community as well as those taught through employee wellness programs, and are part of Sustainable Solano’s larger vision to create an environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just local food system in Solano County.

The classes highlight local specialty crops, which include fruit, vegetables, beans, tree nuts and culinary herbs.

Class participants will learn about CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs create a way for community members to buy a share of the harvest directly from local farmers. Customers pay a set amount and receive a box of seasonal produce or other farm products in return. Such arrangements help farmers receive a greater share of the money paid, bring customers fresh, local produce and promote health, community and the local economy.

Stay tuned for more cooking classes coming soon at SustainableSolano.org/events and by subscribing to the Sustainable Solano newsletter here.

 

Here is information on the first two classes:

 Farm-to-Table Cooking Class

4 pm, April 9 (Thursday)

Register for a Zoom link

Free

Join Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan for a lively online demonstration cooking class that celebrates spring ingredients and supports local farmers. Learn tips and tricks for storing ingredients and cooking seasonally from a CSA box. Using Solano-grown specialty crops, Chef Steph will prepare a Spring Salad with Peas, Pistachios & Pecorino with Lemon Vinaigrette.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farm-to-table-virtual-cooking-class-tickets-101807757744

 

Farm-to-Table Cooking Class

11 am, April 18 (Saturday)

Register for Zoom link

Free

Join Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan for a lively online demonstration cooking class that celebrates spring ingredients and supports local farmers. Learn tips and tricks for storing ingredients and cooking seasonally from a CSA box. Using Solano-grown specialty crops, Chef Steph will prepare an Asparagus Salad with Sesame-Tangerine Vinaigrette.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farm-to-table-virtual-cooking-class-tickets-101809484910

 

Funding for promotion of specialty crops through cooking classes was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXXG008. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necesssarily represent the official views of the USDA.

 

Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19 and Sustainable Solano Workshops and Events

 

UPDATE: APRIL 1, 4:45 PM: Sustainable Solano has halted all in-person events until further notice. You can find a list of Community Resilience Resources here and upcoming online events here.

UPDATE: MARCH 18, 6 PM: In light of the latest “shelter at home” guidance, we are postponing all events through April 7.

We are aware of the heightened concern in Solano County and throughout the Bay Area about the spread of coronavirus and have been keeping a close eye on the news and releases and recommendations from Solano Public Health on the best ways to keep our workshop attendees, participants, staff and volunteers safe during this time of uncertainty.

To that end, we will be postponing and rescheduling all of our events planned through April 7.

We will constantly be monitoring the latest guidance to make decisions on events planned after April 7 and will provide updates as needed.

We know this is a time of uncertainty and fear. We appreciate that you are continuing to be involved within your community, while respecting the need to protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease within our communities. We hope you can join us at a later date for these workshops and others. Together, we are stronger.

We will update any changes to these plans based on the latest guidance and the local and state level.

Resources:

Find COVID-19 information and guidance from Solano Public Health here

You can find all COVID-19 guidance from the California Department of Public Health here

Visit the Solano County Public Health Facebook page (@SolanoCountyPH) for regular COVID-19 updates

Register for Alert Solano to receive emergency alerts on your favorite mobile device, including COVID-19

 

Sustainable Solano Offers Farm-to-Table Cooking Classes Featuring Specialty Crops

 

Cooking classes highlighting how to prepare seasonal, local food in healthy dishes are coming to Solano County this year, starting with a class March 18 in Benicia. The second class will be April 4 in Fairfield.

Sustainable Solano, a nonprofit organization that has been working to build community interest in local food, plans 88 cooking classes around Solano County in the next two years. These cooking classes include those for the general public taught in the community as well as those taught through employee wellness programs, and are part of Sustainable Solano’s larger vision to create an environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just local food system in Solano County.

The classes highlight local specialty crops, which include fruit, vegetables, beans, tree nuts and culinary herbs.

Class participants also will learn about CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, during the classes. CSAs create a way for community members to buy a share of the harvest directly from local farmers. Customers pay a set amount and receive a box of seasonal produce or other farm products in return. Such arrangements help farmers receive a greater share of the money paid, bring customers fresh, local produce and promote health, community and the local economy.

At the Benicia class, participants will get a brief tour of the existing CSA Center at Heritage Presbyterian Church, while participants in the Fairfield class will learn about the area farms that will be delivering to the new CSA Center planned at The Lazy Barn.

Stay tuned for more cooking classes coming soon at SustainableSolano.org/events and by subscribing to the Sustainable Solano newsletter here.

 

Here is information on the first two classes:

Farm-to-Table Cooking Class

6-8 pm, March 18

Heritage Presbyterian Church, 1400 East Second St., Benicia

$10 per person/$15 for two people

Join Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager and chef Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan for a lively demonstration cooking class that celebrates spring ingredients and supports local farmers. Take a brief tour of the Community Supported Agriculture Center in Benicia, then learn tips and tricks for storing ingredients and cooking seasonally from a CSA box. Using Solano-grown specialty crops, Chef Steph will prepare an Asparagus Salad with Sesame-Tangerine Vinaigrette, Sautéed Radishes and Spicy Quick-Pickled Vegetables. Generous tastings and recipe packets included!

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farm-to-table-cooking-class-and-csa-tour-tickets-97672223249

 

Farm-to-Table Cooking Class

11 am-12:30 pm, April 4

The Lazy Barn, 735 Texas St., Fairfield

$10 per person/$15 for two people

Join Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager and chef Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan for a lively demonstration cooking class that celebrates spring ingredients and supports local farmers. Come see which Community Supported Agriculture offerings are coming soon to The Lazy Barn, plus learn tips and tricks for storing ingredients and cooking seasonally from a CSA box. Chef Steph will prepare an Asparagus Salad with Sesame-Tangerine Vinaigrette and Sautéed Radishes and highlight the health benefits of these Solano-grown specialty crops. Generous tastings and recipe packets included!

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farm-to-table-cooking-class-and-csa-demonstration-tickets-97673230261

 

Funding for promotion of specialty crops through cooking classes was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXXG008. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necesssarily represent the official views of the USDA.

 

Sustainable Solano Brings New Waterwise Food Forest Gardens to Benicia

Workshops, new workforce development programs create new opportunities

Sustainable Solano, a local nonprofit with work in sustainable landscaping, community gardens, building a local food system and bringing these skills to the public and students, is transforming a Benicia garden through a series of workshops that will teach participants how to capture rainwater, how to properly use greywater from the laundry machine in the garden and the importance of selecting plants that work together to create a healthy, fruitful, waterwise food forest garden.

Land and Water Caretakers Course

Sustainable Solano has offered similar workshops throughout the county through its Solano Sustainable Backyards program funded by the Solano County Water Agency. New to this Benicia project is inclusion of the Land and Water Caretakers course participants, who have been involved in the design of the project as part of their instruction on sustainable landscaping. This is the first year of the new Caretakers certification course offered by Sustainable Solano through Benicia Adult Education. Students will be part of the hands-on work of installing this demonstration food forest garden and then use their knowledge from class and skills from the hands-on work to inform creating a garden design for another Benicia home.

Liberty High School internship program

In addition to the adult education program, Sustainable Solano is leading an internship for interested students at Liberty High School to learn about a whole systems approach to problems, including designing for a sustainable landscape. These students will follow a similar program to the adult education class and will also work toward a Caretakers certificate. Local experts will talk to students about everything from water conservation to composting and healthy soil. Travis Credit Union will provide personal finance and small business finance instruction for both of the Caretakers courses.

Sustainable Solano is actively working to bring other leadership and workforce development programs to the county in the coming months. These programs are funded in Benicia through the second amendment to the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement. Republic Services also supports the Caretakers program, and the adult education Caretakers course public workshops are funded through the Solano County Water Agency.

Opportunities for Students and Property Owners

These programs create not only opportunities for those looking to learn more about sustainability and practical skills, but also for local property owners. Homeowners can fill out a Sustainable Landscaping Interest Form to see if their property might fit the needs of various programs. As the leadership and workforce development program grows, Sustainable Solano is particularly looking for sites in Benicia that would benefit from removing water-hungry lawns.

 

Media information:

Contact:

Allison Nagel

allison@sustainablesolano.org

805-512-0901

(The attached photos are of the Land and Water Caretakers class (adult education) testing the soil and starting to prepare the garden. They can be used with credit to Sustainable Solano.)

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