In the midst of this holiday season, despite fears and worries surrounding the unprecedented national election, I more than ever want to honor and celebrate what all of you have actually achieved this past year. Together, we’ve demonstrated how vital hopes for a better, more sustainable world can be made manifest right where we live. Together, we’ve shown that real change comes from the ground up when we share an ethical vision and actually roll up our sleeves and work to make “the possible” come alive through committed, collective actions.

Our mission in 2017 will continue, nourishing initiatives for the good of the whole. One of our major changes and accomplishments in 2016: Benicia Community Gardens as a non-profit organization has grown, becoming “Sustainable Solano” for wider reach to Solano communities, thus to embrace initiatives and partnerships inspired by many others sharing our vision. BCG’s accomplishments in 2016 will carry us into 2017. Here’s what we’ve done together:

  • installed the last 3 of a total of 7 food forest gardens under the Benicia Sustainable Backyard program, with 3 public garden tours, and 5 more tours planned for 2017;
  • inaugurated the first Land Caretakers program for training novices and professional landscapers in sustainable practices for creating edible, wise-water gardens using greywater and rain water harvesting systems;
  • partnered with local chefs in Vallejo and Benicia to create community-supported kitchens, with a pilot kitchen program in Benicia to launch in 2017;
  • established partnership with the Solano County Water Agency — contract awarded to establish a total of 5 food forest gardens, three in Fairfield and two in Vallejo;
  • Hosted, in consort with Pachamama Alliance, a very moving and successful “Awakening the Dreamer Symposium” in Fairfield, the event serving to inspire individuals toward embracing a new dream and to take actions that can heal the world where we live, and to introduce Sustainable Solano as an organization embracing that new dream.

Thank you all for a milestone year in 2016! May we keep hope, working together to strengthen our communities, upholding basic values for a more just, healthy world.

With appreciation and gratitude,

Marilyn Bardet,
Board Chair