Our people are passionate and committed!


Our Team


elenaElena Karoulina, Executive Director info@sustainablesolano.org

Elena joined Benicia Community Gardens in 2011, first as a Board member; she became an executive director for the organization at the end of the same year. Elena brings to Sustainable Solano more than twenty years of management and business analysis experience in telecommunication and health care industries, an MBA from Vanderbilt University, her passion for nourishing sustainable food and her deep interest in local economy and community resilience. In her role of the executive director, Elena is responsible for strategic planning, financial and legal aspects of the organization, day-to-day operation and program development and management.

Nicole Newell,  Program Manager
Sustainable Landscaping

Although a longtime Benician, Nicole didn’t feel like she belonged to a community until she discovered Benicia Community Gardens. Having earned her degree in biology and having a personal passion for healing herbs and growing anything organic (especially from seed), Nicole joined the 2015 Land Caretaker’s Training, where she was introduced to permaculture.The concept resonated with her as a caretaker of people, now evolving to being a caretaker for the earth as well. She continued on to receive a permaculture design certificate with Toby Hemenway.

Seeing the interconnection of all things inspires her to continue learning, evolving, and creating with others a fulfilled life. For her, healing and community resilience begins in a garden, and she looks forward to working with others to continue to bring sustainable landscapes into Solano County.

Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Program Manager, Chef
Local Food

Experienced chef and healthy-eating advocate Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan is Program Manager for our Local Food Program initiative. She assists with program administration and oversee operational plan creation. Chef Steph grew up in Nebraska and holds a BA in Communication Studies from Northwestern University. After working in Marketing and PR for several years, she caught the “cooking bug,” and in 2004 earned a Certificate of Professional Cooking from the Illinois Institute of Art.  Shortly after culinary school, she started her own company, Hot Dish Inc., through which she catered numerous private events. In addition to her work with Sustainable Solano, she also serves on the Board of Directors for Healthy Cooking with Kids and continues to cater private events.  As a mother of 2 young boys, Chef Steph is passionate about teaching children to eat healthy from a young age, and increasing the accessibility of quality, organic food to families.  She is an advocate of cleaning up our nation’s broken food system, and works for food justice whenever possible.

Gabriela Estrada, Program Manager
Resilient Neighborhoods, Solano Gardens, Urban Forest, Listening Circles

Gabriela thrives in socially conscious environments where people are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive society and is passionate about identifying and developing sustainable and equitable solutions within her local community. She is committed to serving traditionally underserved communities by improving access to information and resources. She envisions a world where everyone is encouraged to share their voices and stories.

Gabriela holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Communication from UC San Diego. During her time in San Diego, she investigated and identified effective approaches to engaging Southeast San Diego residents in healthy eating strategies, systemic food waste reduction and recovery tactics. After graduation, she worked at the Institute of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, where she researched different approaches to better engage homeless park goers through interviews with different national and local stakeholders that had implemented novel and progressive collaborative methods and trainings.

Through her work with Sustainable Solano, Gabriela hopes to promote a culture of belonging and social justice that is rooted in community.

Allison Nagel, Program Manager
Workforce Development, Communications

As communications manager, Allison focuses on helping the organization expand its capacity to share the latest news, manage the resources it has to offer through the website and help tell Sustainable Solano’s story. She is also launching the organization’s workforce development program to bring sustainability programs into local schools.

An experienced journalist and editor, Allison is excited to bring her skills to Sustainable Solano to bring more awareness to the community of what the organization has to offer among its interwoven initiatives. Allison is inspired by the power of people to create change within their lives and communities toward pursuing a more sustainable way of living. Allison holds degrees in journalism and business, has built a career working for newspapers and other news publications and volunteers her time with local organizations.

Sierrah Abdul, Coordinator
Listening Circles

Sierrah appreciates learning about others’ stories and perspectives. She understands that while not everyone has the same background, everyone’s voice is important. As Listening Circles Coordinator, she assists with organizing communities for meetings and documenting those meetings. In this position, along with her unique point of view, she aims to provide reliability, positive energy and support.

Sierrah holds associate degrees in communication, liberal studies for elementary teacher preparation, social science and arts and humanities and a bachelor’s degree in communication. She is most likely to be found exploring new adventures and following her curiosity. Those interested can meet Sierrah at a nearby Listening Circle.

Cameron Long, Arborist
Listening Circles

Cameron is excited to join Sustainable Solano in developing the urban forest throughout Solano County. Raised in Sonoma County, Cameron spent much of his childhood exploring the oak woodlands and native plant communities of the North Bay. His love for the nature he grew up around inspired him to pursue a degree in Plant Sciences when he transferred to UC Davis in 2018. Since being at UC Davis, Cameron has developed a passion for urban forestry and sustainable landscaping. He currently leads horticulture projects across the campus, focusing on designing and implementing low-maintenance, water-wise, and mostly native gardens.

His interest in urban forestry and landscaping stems from a passion for connecting people with nature. Developing thriving ecosystems within the cities that people live in can be accomplished through thoughtful urban green-space planning, and Cameron strives to be part of the solution.

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Upcoming Events

4:00 pm Bounty of the County – Presentat... @ Online/Zoom
Bounty of the County – Presentat... @ Online/Zoom
Sep 22 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Meet the farmers from Be Love Farm, Chef Joey Jaraba from Two60 Kitchen + Bar and winemakers from Suisun Valley Wine Co-op! This Bounty of the County presentation features a lively cooking demonstration by Chef[...]
all-day Visions of the Wild Film & Arts ... @ Online
Visions of the Wild Film & Arts ... @ Online
Sep 23 all-day
Visions of the Wild goes virtual In a world that’s gone topsy-turvy, the 7th Annual Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival is coming down to earth with a focus on the 38th parallel,[...]
5:00 pm Water Harvesting Design Principl... @ Online/Zoom
Water Harvesting Design Principl... @ Online/Zoom
Sep 23 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join us September 23 for a live presentation on Water Harvesting Design Principles! Holistic watershed management is the critical guiding principle to any ecological design. Come learn the basics of water harvesting on a residential[...]
4:00 pm Bounty of the County Presentation 5 @ Online/Zoom
Bounty of the County Presentation 5 @ Online/Zoom
Sep 29 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join Chef Wyatt Brege of The Barn & Pantry in Dixon for a farm-to-table cooking demonstration using fresh, organic produce from Eatwell Farm! Hear about Eatwell Farm’s sustainable farming practices to raise a diverse array[...]

Sustainable Solano Board of Directors


marilynMarilyn Bardet, Board President

Marilyn, a long-time resident of Benicia, is a civic & environmental activist with a life-long commitment to social and environmental justice. She is a founding member of the Good Neighbor Steering Committee, a local grassroots environmental watchdog, a founding member of Benicia Tree Foundation, an ex-officio member of the Benicia Community Sustainability Commission, and a certified member of the Benicia Emergency Response Team; in the past she served as a council-appointed member of the City of Benicia General Plan Oversight Committee. In her free time, Marilyn writes poetry, gardens, paints and hikes. She is also an active member of Arts Benicia.

Stephen Borostyan, Treasurer

Stephen is a highly experienced and versatile business leader who brings with him a broad range of experience in a variety of specialties and industries. In a career spanning 30+ years, he has held a variety of senior and executive level positions, has worked internationally, owned several businesses (including a franchise) and has helped many small businesses improve their operations and profitability.
Stephen’s early background includes senior level corporate financial positions at Xerox and Charles Schwab. He also served many years as the CFO/COO of the largest and most influential open-access scientific publisher, PLOS Publications, where he was instrumental in guiding the company from startup to over $50M in annual revenue. He now focuses his time on using his experience to help businesses grow and succeed.
Stephen brings with him a broad skill set in finance, operations and strategy. He is a self-proclaimed “quant” and loves building complex financial models, doing financial analysis and budgeting. He is also well versed in operational management, including streamlining operations and building infrastructure to scale for growth. Having owned several businesses, he is very familiar (and empathetic) with the challenges of small business owners and this drives his passion to help small business owners succeed and thrive.
Stephen’s education includes a Bachelor of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology and an Masters of Business Administration from the University of Rochester.

Marlen Otten, Secretary

Marlen is a business executive with a background in the nutraceutical, food and beverage industries and with an understanding for balancing a strategic vision and serving community needs. She is passionate about creating an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling world, and living in harmony with the environment. At Sustainable Solano, Marlen hopes to make a difference by creating a platform for engaging community members from all walks of life in conversations that matter to them and building resilience within the Solano community. In her free time, Marlen is an avid dancer, hiker, mentor and animal lover.

Maggie Kolk, Board Member

Maggie is a dedicated food safety and quality professional with diverse experience in training, auditing and consulting across the food supply chain. She has developed and implemented food safety programs for a variety of food processing, manufacturing and retail facilities preparing for FDA and USDA regulatory compliance. She is an enthusiastic, experienced trainer with a background in instructional design and has developed and delivered accredited courses in HACCP, Advanced HACCP, GMPs, Internal Auditing and related topics. Maggie is an approved training provider for Global Food Safety Initiative standards and is a certified trainer for Seafood HACCP. She is also a lead trainer for the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Preventative Controls course and Produce Safety.

Maggie has volunteered with a many U.S. food and agricultural organizations, including Global Growers, Clarkston, Georgia, and Slow Food Atlanta – Farm to School programs. She was the SQF International Conference chair from 2013-2017. Maggie is the current co-manager of Sustainable Solano’s Avant Community Garden in Benicia with her husband, Jack. Her degrees and certifications: A.S. Business Administration, Peirce College in Philadelphia; B.S. Food Science and Nutrition, M.S. Food Science, SJSU in San Jose; CP-FS, National Environmental Health Association; ATD Instructional Design Certification.

Stann Whipple, Board Member

Stann, a well-traveled Central Valley native, has been an educator most of his life and has taught elementary grade students on three continents. His passion for sustainability and the local economy began in collage where he and other students embarked on various land-based community projects around the seasonal needs of local agriculture.

Stann brings strong business sense and knowledge of local economies from all over the globe having recruited for the Federation of Small Business [UK], managed multiple businesses including a farming company, and consulted numerous nonprofits on how to increase funding.

As a Board member, Stann will focus on integrating the concepts of a vibrant, just and sustainable local economy into all our projects and programs. He believes that a fuller understanding of the economic process will enable a more equitable sharing of the values created.

larryLarry Lamoreux, Board Member Emeritus

Larry, a retired biomedical engineer and a long-time Benicia resident, has been interested in farming since boyhood. In his youth, Larry became a pig farmer through the Future Farmers of America program. Larry’s other passion – engineering – took his life in a different direction and he spent most of his professional career in biomedical field working for the VA and Shriner’s Hospital for Children, designing artificial legs, among his many projects. After retirement, Larry returned to his roots, first by actively gardening himself and later becoming Sustainable Solano Treasurer and our “chief engineering officer”: Larry designs and oversees the construction of all garden beds and other small structures in our programs (and he builds them too! – with help from other volunteers). Father and grandfather, Larry spends a lot of time with his family; he also enjoys cycling, canoeing, and singing.

maryMary Condit, Board Member Emeritus

Mary, a life-long gardener and a long-time Benicia resident, grew up in a farm and used to manage a 35-acre family food garden and orchard in WA State. Mary is very active in our community; Besides serving on the Sustainable Solano board since its creation (Mary recently retired from the position of the secretary of the Board after completing 100 (!) Board Meeting Minutes), Mrs. Condit belongs to the Benicia Friendship Club, P.E.O, women’s philanthropic organization, and Vallejo Choral Society, where she was an active Board member until recently, and is still an active singer.

elenaElena Karoulina, Board Member, Executive Director

Elena joined Benicia Community Gardens in 2011, first as a Board member; she became an executive director for the organization at the end of the same year. Elena brings to Sustainable Solano more than twenty years of management and business analysis experience in telecommunication and health care industries, an MBA from Vanderbilt University, her passion for nourishing sustainable food and her deep interest in local economy and community resilience. In her role of the executive director, Elena is responsible for strategic planning, financial and legal aspects of the organization, day-to-day operation and program development and management.

Advisory Boards

Green Infrastructure

Sustainable Landscaping Advisory Board 

kathleenKathleen Huffman, Sustainable Landscaping Designer

A graduate of the BCG Land Caretakers program, Kathleen’s passion for gardening began many years earlier on her parent’s farm in Oklahoma. Her family raised organic fruits and vegetables and she developed a love of the land and a passion for plants. Kathleen hopes to use her background to help others learn about urban food gardening. She also helps spread the word about using water more wisely, installing laundry-to-landscape systems and retaining rain water by the use of bioswales. Kathleen is a sustainable landscaping designer and a certified laundry-to-landscape greywater installer. Kathleen brings her expertise and her enthusiasm  to her clients and to Sustainable Solano as we embark on defining the principles of sustainable landscaping for Solano County.

Jessica Samra, Sustainable Landscaping Enthusiast

Jessica’s relationship with nature and gardening began with her childhood in Louisiana. She references her Papa often when discussing how Cajuns rely on themselves, each other and the land for food. “You could be poor but eat like a king!” By the time she reached college age, she was aware of how environmental degradation and poor stewardship practices put this way of living, this connection to the land, at risk.

A resident of Fairfield for about 20 years, Jessica attended a talk given by Kathleen Huffman of The RePurposed Okie and “found her people.” Since then she has been a volunteer in the Sustainable Backyard/Landscaping program. The model of neighborhood gardens as community glue and delicious, healthy, self-sufficient food sources resonates with her Cajun core. For her, the work of digging swales and hauling mulch has brought the Zen Koan to life: “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

In addition to a degree in mathematics from Wesleyan College, Jessica has studied physics and philosophy at SJSU and psychology at Solano Community College. She is currently learning soil science at SCC, where she is a member of the Horticulture Club.

Andre Zinkevich, Water management expert

Andy is semi-retired from a diverse career in the water business, both hands-on and in management in water, wastewater and reuse, planning, engineering, finance, operations, construction and manufacturing projects and groups. He worked with Natural Systems Utilities, American Water, and Layne Well and Pump. Andy has served as a project manager, senior managing engineer, manager of a regional office, VP, CFO, SVP and EVP. Andy’s educational background includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering with specializations in environmental engineering and water resources. He obtained continuing education in business management and finance. He is a licensed professional engineer in California and Hawaii, and held the “A” contractor’s license in California.  He is a member of ASCE and WEF.  Andy has made numerous presentations, authored several technical papers, and has offered expert testimony in court and to governmental boards.  He presently serves as treasurer of his HOA, is active in the Benicia Yacht Club and is a Commissioner on the Benicia Community Sustainability Commission.

Vallejo Resilient Neighborhoods Advisory Board

Steve Dunsky has written and directed films for 30 years. As a filmmaker for the U.S. Forest Service, his projects cover a wide range of conservation issues. Along with his wife, Ann, he has produced the award-winning feature documentaries The Greatest Good, Butterflies & Bulldozers, and Green Fire. In recent years, he has helped to organize the Visions of the Wild Festivals and Geography of Hope Conferences, and programs films for the Empress Theatre in Vallejo. He holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.F.A and C.Phil from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He grew up in New York City but has lived in California most of his life.

Amy Hartman is Solano County Regional Representative for Greenbelt Alliance. Over the last two years, Amy has led Greenbelt Alliance’s efforts to protect open space and encourage smart growth in Solano County. She discovered a new calling to environmental work after spending time in the natural wonders of the West Coast and most recently worked as a Regional Field Director for the League of Conservation Voters in Reno, Nevada. Amy also worked in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area in various legislative and political campaign positions. Amy has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Government and Politics and Women’s Studies, with a certificate in LGBT Studies, from the University of Maryland, College Park. In her free time, she is a yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner.

Ojan Mobedshahi is a certified permaculture designer, and a licensed landscape contractor. A second-generation Iranian American, Ojan was born and raised in the Bay Area. Growing up, Ojan got to spend a lot of time exploring the native landscape, hiking and climbing trees. After graduating with a BA in Economics, he returned to the land, working on a small farm, teaching urban agriculture, native landscaping and aquaponics to students in San Jose, and leading volunteers at a community farm called Veggielution. This experience deepened his love for the land, respect for nature and passion for community-led healthy land use projects. Ojan participated in grassroots efforts to push developers to incorporate sustainable agriculture into projects. While finding some success, he also noticed structural challenges around financial feasibility, property ownership and extractive land use, which pushed him to dive into the world of real estate.

After an educational stint in real estate brokerage and development, in 2017, Ojan started his own permaculture-based design-build firm, Happy Planet Landscaping. He also became a founding staff owner and is currently the finance director of the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, working to democratize the access to land and capital across race and class. Ojan is working with Sustainable Solano on the Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative. When he is not following one of these passions, he enjoys making music, taking long hikes and napping on the beach.

Benicia Community Gardens

jackJack Kolk, Benicia Community Gardens Avant Garden Coordinator 

Jack recently moved back to the Bay Area from Atlanta, Georgia, where he and his wife Maggie were avid gardeners and helped cofound Lanier Community Gardens. He grew up in Southern California, so he always has at least heirloom tomatoes growing, a basil vegetable garden and a compost pile, water permitting. With a love of plants, mushrooms and healthy food, volunteering to support Benicia Community Gardens and its vision of community was a natural fit. He works mostly online by day in information security and regulatory compliance, so playing in the dirt at Avant Garden is welcome relaxation! A graduate of UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources with a multidisciplinary focus on environmental microbiology, Jack has worked on biological control of mosquitos and is a former Chairman of the Mycological Society of San Francisco Toxicology Committee, an avid mushroom forager, and sometimes cultivator.

maggieMaggie Ingalls, Benicia Community Gardens Community Orchard Coordinator

Maggie Ingalls has been a gardener for more than 30 years, first in Southern California, then the Chicago suburbs, and for the last 9 years, in Benicia. She grows vegetables, fruit trees, flowering perennials and California natives. She is a passionate advocate for supporting local ecosystems by growing native plants. She volunteers at the Solano Land Trust and the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, where she is a docent.

Local Food Partners

Lisa Núñez-Hancock, founder of UR what U Eat

Lisa Núñez-Hancock, a self described “natural food chef,” is a culinary arts instructor and food activist. After graduation from UC Berkley, she traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Americas, later working in broadcasting and as a print journalist.

After leaving the corporate world of broadcasting, Lisa has worked for over 12 years as a healthy cooking teacher in diverse culinary programs from La Plaza de Culture y Artes museum in downtown Los Angeles, to plant-based culinary workshops at the Napa Library, to a successful cooking series, in partnership with Sustainable Solano, at the JFK Library in Vallejo, a program now in its third year.

Always stressing good nutrition, farm-to-table and Slow Food philosophies, and the work of Michael Pollan, Lisa has taught her UR what U eat classes to children, teens, adults and families in English and Spanish. Her hands-on and demo workshops stress the garden-to-fork concept, sustainability, cooking with natural, organic foods, basic concepts of plant-forward eating, and artisanal food traditions from different cultures. She is currently working on a “garden to table” book with friend and master gardener Rick Perrillo.

The photo shows Lisa hanging out with the famous French Laundry chickens.

veronicaVeronica Bearce, Veronica’s Veggies Catering

Retired educator for 24 years…mother…grandmother…cancer survivor on a mission to bring vegan comfort food to those in need, the elderly, those with physical maladies, or even those who are too busy to cook.


Community Local Food Advisory Board

 Dayna Sykes
Born and raised in Vallejo and throughout the Bay Area, Dayna is a mother of two boys and a MSW graduate from UC Berkeley (GO BEARS!). She has been working with youth for the past 8 years at schools, in a group home, within juvenile hall, and now with children and families as well. She attended undergrad at Arizona State University and when she returned home, she was disappointed to see the lack of progression in the city of Vallejo. Through an effort to improve Vallejo’s food scarcity and lack of access to affordable, quality food, Dayna teamed up with Krechona Westbrook and Sustainable Solano with the intent to increase grassroot efforts by teaching gardening, cooking and composting to youth in the community. Dayna is a firm believer in fairness, equity, equality and the concept of TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. African Americans are disproportionately affected by the American systems (i.e. education, health, criminal justice). Dayna believes we can help ourselves through education and collaborative community efforts by incorporating food sustainability not only to heal ourselves but to heal our families. She enjoys being creative, reading books, watching TV, exploring the world and teaching her children new things so they can continue to keep the positivity going in this world.

Elizabeth Monteadora
Elizabeth is a Public Health Advocate/Consultant who has partnered with various nonprofits, community organizations, community clinics/health centers, public health departments, school districts and individuals in the arena of health equity: chronic disease prevention/early detection and HEALE (Healthy Eating Active Living Environment). She is passionate about making a difference by creating healthy change for our communities and environment, especially for our children and future generations.

Elizabeth also has a corporate wellness background, having partnered with countless executives, empowering their workforces to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. While she has received awards for her work in the corporate arena, one of her chronic disease prevention projects, which impacted over 10,000 lives at a major northern California health system, received a nationally recognized Excellence Award.

Elizabeth has been part of Sustainable Solano’s Community Conversation series, where she has spoken on Water Equity, Access and Safety. She holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Solano Local Food System Alliance


The Solano Local Food System Alliance includes a wide variety of stakeholders committed to fulfilling the mission of creating an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just and equitable local food system in Solano County. Learn about the work the Alliance is doing here.

Volunteer Support Team

constanceConstance M. Beutel, EdD, Memory Keeper

With a 50 year professional career that spanned Active Service in the USAF (highly decorated Vietnam Veteran), Telecommunications and Higher Education, Constance was strongly influenced by a great love and responsibility to the Earth as modeled by her parents, education and her hero, R. Buckminster Fuller.  Constance helped to bring higher education to thousands of employees on corporate premises throughout the State of California, served as the Associate Dean at Golden Gate University’s School of Technology, was a Hewlett Scholar at Menlo College and completed her Academic career as a founding Faculty member in Union Institute & University’s Doctorate in Education emphasizing Social Justice.  She initiated and held Benicia Emergency Response Team (BERT) training for several years, is a licensed amateur Ham radio operator, and was a founding member and Chair of the City of Benicia’s Community Sustainability Commission.  She is a passionate videographer with over 300 videos on her Youtube.com/cmbeutel channel.  Constance is committed to the advancement of women and the preservation of our planet.

namNam Nguyen, Communications Committee Member

Nam is a writer, developmental editor, polydidact, and mother of two. She has a Masters in Publich Health from Touro University and is interested in environmental health and food systems. Passing by Avant Garden one evening coming from the Farmer’s Market with the kids in the wagon and her garden enthusiast husband beside her, she came upon Sustainable Solano soliciting applications for their permaculture demonstration project. Intrigued, they applied and have met many lovely people and learned so much about gardening and more. When the word came out that the organization needed some writing help, she was delighted to volunteer and join the Communications Committee. Her favorite garden book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Julie Batsel, Communications Committee Volunteer, Artist-in-Residence

Julie Batsel began her artistic interests when she had an epiphany as an 8 year old: she was aiming to draw one thing and it wasn’t manifesting the way she had planned. At first she felt frustrated and wanted to throw a hissy fit. Then she actually saw what the drawing was becoming. Though it was not what she had originally intended, it looked like something equally interesting, perhaps even more beautiful. She went with it and has been enjoying the journey with art in various ways ever since: painting murals for the California Conservation Corps; illustrating calendars and bandanas for Mountain Camp II; tearing paper to create colorful bulletin boards in the Berkeley public schools. Her latest artistic passions involve working with the living landscape and with the hardscapes that wend their way through it… in other words, in designing and shaping her garden, her paths, and outdoor spaces. This, she must do the SLOW way. Nothing has been more rewarding.

CSA Program Volunteers

We are grateful to the people who keep our Community Supported Agriculture drop sites running smoothly. Additional thanks to Annette Batchelor and Wendy Cunningham for their volunteer help at the Benicia CSA site!

Veronica Bearce, CSA Program

 Veronica, “V” to most anyone who knows her, is a self-professed foodie and tends to stick to cooking a plant-based menu. She has been affiliated with Sustainable Solano for five years now. Veronica is involved with the Benicia Old Town Theater Group and enjoys her time in the garden. Her grandson, Chance, often accompanies her to the garden to harvest and water.

Sheila Clyatt, CSA Program

This is a photo of Sheila pruning the apple tree at Mary Farmar Elementary School. Sheila runs a program at Mary Farmar teaching students how to grow food and pollinator beds with the help of the Master Gardener Program and community volunteers. As a Master Gardener, she also teaches sustainable food growth at Benicia High School, Liberty High School and Kaiser. She loves eating wholesome organic food and has a plot at Avant Garden. Teaching people how to grow food and support pollinators brings her joy.

Susan Neuhaus, CSA Program

Susan Neuhaus, who is a nurse by training, spent over 30 years in healthcare management and leadership, primarily with Kaiser. Her roles included nursing administration, working to advance healthcare policy, and serving as a Continuing Care Leader with oversight for four medical centers. A key to Susan’s success is her passion for learning and change. Despite her workplace demands, she found time to walk two marathons — in Chicago and Hawaii — and complete innumerable half-marathons. Since her retirement, Susan has maintained a busy schedule. Her volunteer service includes commitments to Sustainable Solano, Benicia Public Library, League of Women Voters and AAUW, and she is the Carquinez Village board president. She also finds time to provide tax preparation assistance and Medicare counseling. Susan and her husband, Mark, moved to Benicia in 2012.

Sustainable Solano Volunteers

Sustainable Solano is a true community-based organization and enjoys continuous support from our community members. As a grassroots organization, Sustainable Solano has relied on the generous spirit and initiative of people of Solano County for more than a decade. Volunteers support our programs, tend to the Community Share Plot and deliver donation harvest, install demonstration permaculture food forests, teach local school children how to grow food, and support the business functions of our organization.

Interested in being part of our vounteer team? Fill out our Volunteer Interest Survey to get started.