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

(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 or visit