“From conversation, to inspiration, to initiative, to manifestation in the world.”

This is our way to engage the community through series of talks, movies, lectures and guided conversations to inspire and support grassroot initiatives for the good of the whole.

Have an idea for a speaker, topic or movie screening you would like to see as part of our Conversations series? Let us know at info@sustainablesolano.org

Ongoing Conversation Opportunity:

Sustainable Solano became the countywide organization it is today in 2016, when, building on its roots established as Benicia Community Gardens, it adopted the Sustainable Solano name and mission. That milestone was marked in December 2016 through hosting the “Awakening the Dreamer” symposium led by Pachamama Alliance, which helped to inform the commitment and direction of the organization. View a video from that symposium here.

Now, as we reflect upon the current state of the world, the Sustainable Solano team is returning to “Awakening the Dreamer,” this time as a free online course. The program walks the participant through a series of powerful videos and reflection exercises to examine current environmental and social crises, how we got here and what is possible to move forward with a new vision for humanity and how we connect with the environment, each other and ourselves. It asks what we can do as individuals, organizations and communities to shape a better future.

You can register for Pachamama Alliance’s two-hour “Awakening the Dreamer” online course and complete it at your own pace here.

Past Events:


‘Kiss the Ground’ Film Discussion & Regenerative Agriculture Q&A (December 2020)

Poster Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch

Sustainable Solano hosted a conversation around “Kiss the Ground,” a film on how regenerative agriculture to build healthy soil could be the cure for climate change. The online event started with a discussion with Matthew Engelhart, who uses regenerative practices at Be Love Farm in Vacaville, and his son, Ryland Engelhart, who is co-founder and executive director of the Kiss the Ground nonprofit and a producer of the film. The discussion was followed by an audience Q&A.

‘Redefining Prosperity’ Film Screening and Director Q&A (August 2019)

Redefining Prosperity looks at how Nevada City, once a mining town, recovered from its legacy of pollution and moved to prosperity based on building community. The back-to-the-land movement brought together residents to build community through new initiatives in local food, education, the arts and the fight to save the South Yuba River.

This special showing of the film was followed by a Q&A with director John de Graaf, who is currently working on films about Vallejo and co-housing, which were also discussed during the Q&A.

‘Symphony of the Soil’ Film Screening (June 2018)

Symphony of the Soil explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth.

Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

‘Sustainable’ Film Screening (June 2018)

A vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations. The narrative of the film focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago.

Sustainable travels the country seeking leadership and wisdom from some of the most forward thinking farmers like Bill Niman, Klaas Martens and John Kempf – heroes who challenge the ethical decisions behind industrial agriculture. It is a story of hope and transformation, about passion for the land and a promise that it can be restored to once again sustain us.

‘A Quest for Meaning’ Film Screening (May 2018)

‘A Quest for Meaning’ is inspiring film that connects personal growth and social change, and attempts to uncover the causes of the current world crisis to discover ways to bring about change. Attendees of our summer screening went on a journey across the world hearing from environmental activists, philosophers, biologists, and guardians of the ancient cultures on where the disconnect is, where lies hope and what we can all do to influence things for the better. [Read more…]

‘The Economics of Happiness: Local Futures’ screening (March 2018)

In the spring of 2018, Vallejo locals enjoy a special screening of ‘The Economics of Happiness: Local Futures’ which illustrates the social and spiritual impact of economic globalization on local communities and economies, and highlights the many benefits of shifting towards the local. This film screening is part of Sustainable Solano’s community Conversations program bringing inspiring speakers and film screenings to Solano county in an effort to open dialogue and guide community conversations about meaningful topics relevant to global and local sustainable practice, conservation and social policy.


Earth Day Conversation 2020: Awakening the Dreamer

The Sustainable Solano team and board met on Zoom for a conversation about the lessons learned from Awakening the Dreamer and from our path so far. We discussed our own paths to our current work and vision for the future.

Next Economy Series 2019

Our discussion of the Next Economy continued from February-May with Sustainable Solano staff sharing insight gained from workshops they attended on the Next Economy and sparking community discussion. Read the blogs below for more detail.

Integrating Price, People and Profit (December 2018)

Community discussion on what money symbolizes in an economic context, the history of how it became a representative of value and the role of currency as a unit of measure. Attendees took a  journey through the origins of economic life and the emergence of our banking systems. The conversation looped back to our present day economic climate by covering the alignment of purchase with values, how to best determine ‘true price’ for value of goods or services and allocating capital (profits) for mutual benefit. This was the first talk in the series of 5 presentations about the Next Economy.

Water Equity and Access (October 2018)

Public Health Advocate/Consultant, Elizabeth Monteadora, spoke on global and local water equity issues and how they affect the health of our communities and environment. Discussion topics included safe drinking water access in our schools, water management practices impacting our local drinking water, the water impact of commercial farming vs organic farming, Standing Rock, potential grant/funding opportunities for California (Solano County) agricultural operations and more.


Reclaiming the Food and Farm System as a Commons (April 2018)

On a sunny Saturday morning, a group of local community members gathered at Morningsun Farm in Vacaville to have a conversation with a Food and Farm Attorney Neil Thapar from the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

In the beginning, Neil painted a grim picture of the state of our national food system. We produce a lot of food and throw away 40% of it, while the rate of hunger is going up each year. For example, studies show that one in four kids is going hungry in our county. Diet-related diseases are also on a rise, so all we have to show for our latest “advancements” in agriculture and food production is the excess of food and decreased food security and community’ well-being. [Read more…]

Denise Rushing in Suisun City (February 2018)

Author, permaculture expert and former elected official (Lake County Board of Supervisors) DENISE RUSHING helped launch our Conversations and Sustainable Backyard program in Suisun City this year by sharing how to engage, enroll and transform a community from the grassroots by choosing fun projects and initiatives that have the potential to connect across the spectrum.

 Many of these talks were made possible through a Peaceful World Foundation grant.