This August, Sustainable Solano celebrates the expansion of its Sustainable Backyard Program bringing inspirational speakers and free educational workshops and classes to Fairfield. The program will offer Fairfield homeowners passionate about sustainability and community resilience an opportunity to become “food forest keepers” of public demonstration gardens in exchange for a 5-year commitment of public tours and workshops (once or twice per calendar year on a mutually agreed upon schedule). Installations and tours are free and open to the public for a hands-on experience on how to grow food, save water and build community.
The application period begins August 15th and ends September 30th. Installations will take place on three separate weekend dates for each yard in the months of October and November.
Two Fairfield yards will be selected for conversion into edible forest gardens based on permaculture design principles complete with a laundry-to-landscape and rain water catchment system. Rain and secondary water from the laundry will be diverted to mulch-filled ditches, called swales, to slow down and absorb water into the soil using every drop to feed fruit trees, shrubs and plants. Highly visible front-yard lawns are preferred but other types of landscapes (up to 2,000 square feet) are welcome to apply. Households will be evaluated for suitability for a permaculture food forest and a laundry-to-landscape greywater system.
The installation of these demonstration food forests are sponsored by the Solano County Water Agency and are free of cost to selected homeowners. The significant annual water-saving impact of the already established demonstration food forests in Benicia private homes caught the attention of the Solano County Water Agency who supported the expansion of the program to greater Solano County resulting in two additional private demonstration gardens in Vallejo installed in March and April of 2017.
Suisun City and Vacaville residents interested in the program can experience a preview of what is to come to their cities in 2018 by attending these public installations and future workshops after these gardens are established.
Applicants must be available on installation dates and are encouraged to attend the volunteer training workshops offered to the public to learn more about the Sustainable Backyard program, basic permaculture design principles and wise water usage. Fairfield residents may download an application by going to www.sustainablesolano.org or by contacting Sustainable Backyard Program Manager, Nicole Newell at firstname.lastname@example.org.