2024 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour: April 27

By Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager

Loam Sweet Loam garden in Vallejo

Sustainable Solano’s annual tour of demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia and Vallejo returns on April 27 for its eighth year. Join us for our largest tour of some of the longest-established food forests in the county!

The day will include speakers and activities to keep you inspired and engaged. Register here!

We will start at 9 am at Avant Garden in Benicia with a talk about the many roles mulch plays in supporting a water-efficient garden with Heath Griffith from Grow with the Flow. Learn about:

  • What is the difference between wood chips and bark?
  • Why is mulch one of the superheroes of permaculture?
  • Does mulch increase or decrease fire risk around houses?
  • How does mulch support a water-efficient garden?

Attendees will pick up the itineraries from 9-11 am at Avant Garden for a self-guided tour of the Benicia and Vallejo gardens. This year’s tour will continue to provide education on topics related to sustainability and highlight the amazing organizations and ways people are involved in uplifting the community. In addition to education, we will also have music, an adventurous scavenger hunt for our youth, two inspired gardens and a special guest that will be present to chat about calming calendula.

The Benicia gardens will be open from 10 am-1 pm, and the Vallejo gardens will be open from 1-4 pm. Attendees who can only participate in the afternoon can pick up the itineraries for Vallejo at the Pollinator Pathway garden on Mare Island from 12-1 pm.

You can learn about each garden and the special events going on at the gardens here.

To prepare a garden tour event that is in service to our community is a gift. As I learn what inspires our food forest keepers to live, grow and contribute, I am inspired in return. Spring brings new possibilities to discover what seeds we want to plant, in our garden and in our life. Each garden serves so many functions that support an abundant, healthy life. I invite you to explore these gardens and gain your own inspiration for your gardens, your communities and your lives.

This program is made possible by the generous support from the Solano County Water Agency.

How It Will Work

You can choose to tour for the whole day or for half a day.
Benicia Demonstration Food Forest Gardens will be open 10 am-1 pm
Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Gardens will be open 1-4 pm

Register here

Itinerary pickup and special events:

9-11 am: Itineraries will be available at Avant Garden in Benicia (400 First St.). This itinerary will include all of the demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia (open in the morning) and Vallejo (open in the afternoon). Families can pick up a scavenger hunt sheet that will make the day more fun!

9 am: Heath Griffith of Grow with the Flow will talk about the importance of mulch at Avant Garden.

12-1 pm: Itineraries for the Vallejo garden sites (open in the afternoon) will be available at the Global Center for Success (1055 Azuar Dr/BLDG 733).

Throughout the day: Special speakers, activities and information will be available at various gardens.

2024 Benicia & Vallejo Tour: Featured Gardens

Scroll through the list below to read about the Benicia and Vallejo gardens that are featured on this year’s tour, and to learn about special offerings at some of the gardens!

Register for the April 27 tour here!

Benicia Demonstration Food Forest Gardens

The Curious Garden

Mature front yard food forest has mostly fruit trees and native plants that attract pollinators year-round. It has a laundry-to-landscape greywater system.

The homeowner started gardening while living in San Francisco, and took a semester-long Garden for the Environment class on all aspects of gardening including permaculture. The family moved to Benicia about 12 years ago, partly so they could have space to grow a garden.

The family has enjoyed growing their own food and exploring the changing yard and the wildlife it attracts. It also has a very steep hill, which presents its own unique issues — and a great canvas for growing yellow lupine among the other native plants.

Learn more

Giardino su una Collina (Garden on a Hill)

A 4-year-old food forest and pollinator garden installed in 2020 that includes a swale that captures roof water and mediterranean trees and plants mixed with native pollinating and nectar plants to attract bees and butterflies. This site is home to a Monarch Waystation that grows a variety of plants to support Western Monarch Butterflies.

The Monarch Milkweed Project and monarch education will be highlighted. Come to learn how you can support and participate in the Bay Area Butterfly Festival coming to Mare Island on May 19!

Learn more

Greyhawk Grove

Greyhawk Garden after installationA 9-year-old established food forest with two swales that are dug out and refreshed every 2-3 years, laundry-to-landscape greywater to fruit trees, and chickens. The drip irrigation system was removed four years ago and the garden is thriving! Annual beds are hand-watered once a week during the growing season. Greyhawk Grove is a “high-traffic-survival-of-the-fittest-have-three-young-children garden”. There may be lemonade and baked goods for sale by children, as well as products from the garden to give away (dried calendula, lavender, herbs, eggs, fruit, etc.).

Learn more

Living and Learning

Established front yard food forest that replaced a lawn in 2016 with 2 swales, a laundry-to-landscape greywater system and a diverse group of plants and fruit trees that has now expanded throughout the property. Small spaces for relaxing and enjoying are throughout the garden. One of the food forest keepers is a teacher and will be present to share knowledge about growing and preserving tomatoes.

Learn more

Wild Cherry Way

Southern slope food forest focused on pollinators, shrubs and native plants. It also includes fruit trees, perennial and edible plants, swales and a laundry-to-landscape greywater system.

Permaculture Consultant Ron Kane will be on-site to offer tours and answer questions.

Learn more

Yggdrasil Garden

An evolving food forest garden and greywater system installed as part of Sustainable Solano’s 2022-23 Permaculture Design Certificate course. Students transformed the front yard with a rain-capturing swale and planted berms in holistic workshops. The west side yard’s raised vegetable bed and passionfruit vines are watered by a laundry-to-landscape greywater system and include edible plants and native pollinators. The monarch butterfly-hosting back gardens are designed and maintained by permaculture designer Michael Wedgley’s Soilogical, nurtured with specially prepared compost, and supported by Seth Wright’s Water Service Irrigation design created as part of a Sustainable Solano irrigation class. An herb spiral was created with bricks repurposed from the chimney of the circa 1850s historic home, retaining walls from pieces of historic on-site stables, and patios from slate and brick on-site. The east side yard (in development) is watered with both a rain-capturing swale and a laundry-to-landscape system and will have an aquatic garden and feature scented contributions to the edible landscape. Displays feature the historic aspects of the home; its background and ongoing tradition of art, design, and healing; information about the Ohlone Sogorea Te Indigenous Land Trust and rematriation of Carquin land; and the garden’s first tree guilds: persimmon, apricot, fig, passionfruit guava, and meyer lemon.

There will be a water harvesting guided tour with designer Michael Wedgley from 10:30-11:30 am, and PERSONA will perform live acoustic pop/R&B songs from 12-1 pm.

Learn more

Inspired Garden

This homeowner attended our tours and was inspired to transform his yard! This garden, designed by Michael Wedgley of Soilogical, is a unique opportunity to tour a stunning and sustainable backyard that showcases the beauty and abundance of permaculture. This eco-conscious backyard features a rainwater catchment system that can harvest up to 3,500 gallons per year, helping to restore the on-site water table, and providing an abundant source of water for this permaculture food forest.

The carefully designed irrigation system utilizes drip irrigation, which not only lowers water usage but also promotes water conservation. This 1-year-old garden boasts over 80 different species of perennial plants, many of which are edible. You’ll be amazed at the variety and richness of the plants that are flourishing in this environment.

Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Gardens

Colibri Ochoa (Hummingbird Ochoa)

Front yard food forest garden has a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, a swale, repurposed logs to create planting areas and a variety of plants to provide food for people and pollinators. On the day of the tour there will be a laundry-to-landscape greywater education in Spanish and a translator on-site.

Sustainable Solano partnered with two other organizations to install this garden in 2021 and begin to provide resources in Spanish. Planting Justice partnered with Sustainable Solano on a Spanish-speaking installation. They offer permaculture services and also have an organic nursery in Oakland that sells rare and heirloom varieties. Club Stride translated an educational program about Patio Sostenibles and created a food forest video in Spanish, Entrevista de Patio Sostenible. Both organizations are doing incredible work to reduce inequities. Check out their websites to find out more on how to support their work. 

Learn more

Enchanted Cottage Garden

This front yard lawn was replaced in May 2017 with two swales, above-ground rainwater collection and a variety of fruit trees, grapes, herbs, and year-round pollinator plants mixed with annual vegetables. There is a path through it with seating for anyone who walks by. The food forest concept extends to the back garden. This yard has inspired several neighbors to transform their landscapes. Produce from the garden is used in the food forest keeper’s small home-based restaurant and they donate excess produce.

Learn about supporting local food in Vallejo.

Learn more

First Christian Church

Two separate gardens, one is a peace garden with mostly flowers, cactus and trees and the other is the vegetable garden, called Johnson Ranch. The vegetable garden was revived through the Solano Gardens program. The food grown is donated to the local food pantries (Faith Food Fridays, Amador Hope Center, etc.).

Solano Gardens Program Manager Jazzmin Ballou will be on-site to highlight opportunities to get involved with local community gardens and available to discuss interest in future community gardens within the county.

Learn more

Loma Vista Farm

The Food Forest Garden is an extra special garden at the Farm. It provides a beautiful demonstration to the many thousands of people that visit each year on how to plant their own yard in a variety of fruit trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, native plants and pollinator plants. Volunteers will be available to show visitors the Food Forest Garden. The Farm will close promptly at 4 pm.

The tour will be on the same day as Loma Vista Farm’s annual Spring Open House, making it an extra special day to visit. The Farm event begins at 11 am and ends at 3 pm. Please come before 3 pm if you would like to enjoy both events.

As part of the Farm event there will be a plant sale in the greenhouse of natives, herbs, vegetables, and pollinator plants. The students from Loma Vista Environmental Science Academy produce these plants as part of their weekly farm science lessons.

Pick up a scavenger hunt sheet for a fun way to explore the gardens!

For more information check out: Lomavistafarm.org.

Learn more

Loam Sweet Loam

This 18-month-old, 700-square-foot front yard food forest is sheet mulched and includes a swale. It includes multiple layers of permaculture plants, including young fruit trees, drought-tolerant shrubs such as rosemary and lavender, and soil-amending groundcovers.

The homeowners extended permaculture principles into their 900-square-foot backyard vegetable garden with the addition of a laundry-to-landscape greywater system to irrigate young fruit trees. Future plans include diverting rainwater from downspouts into existing rain barrels to irrigate the yard, expanding the area irrigated by greywater to incorporate more trees, and increasing plant diversity throughout the yard to support a strong and edible ecosystem.

Join Trish Barnes from 1-3 pm for a hands-on opportunity to package your own bath salts made from locally grown calendula, lavender, and olive oil. Learn about calendula’s healing properties and how to grow this easy and versatile flower. Samples of bath salts and seeds will be available while supplies last.

Learn more

Morningside Botanical Bounty

Morningside Botanical Bounty food forest was created as part of the Resilient Neighborhoods Program. This backyard garden has a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, fruit trees (pruned to keep them short and easy to harvest), swales, drip irrigation, bee-friendly plants, native plants and shade trees.

Native plant information will be available.

Learn more

Pollinator Pathway

Pollinator food forest garden filled with a variety of California native plants that support the habitat of butterflies, bees, moths, wasps, hummingbirds and so much more. This garden was installed in February 2023 as a collaboration with a variety of organizations including Vallejo People’s Garden, Vallejo Project, Solano Resource Conservation District and Monarch Milkweed Project. Alanna Mirror wrote three songs inspired by the installation, featured in her Pollinator Pathway Lawn Transformation Mini Series!

Master Gardeners, Solano Resource Conservation District and Vallejo People’s Garden will be on-site with information on how to support pollinators! They will be actively supporting the garden and weeding so the native plants can thrive; bring gloves if you want to participate. Join Suzanne Briley from Vallejo People’s Garden for a guided tour of native plants at 1 pm.

Learn more

Vallejo Unity Garden (Vallejo Project)

Vallejo Project’s Unity Garden initiative restored an abandoned lot that was once filled with sand and garbage and turned it into a multi-level food forest with internationally influenced farming techniques, a mealworm farm and chickens. This garden is focused on urban agriculture.

There will be seeds, plants or art from the garden for sale.

Vallejo Project imagines a Vallejo strengthened by new generations of youth and young adults who are inspired to give back to their community as role models, advocates, entrepreneurs, and leaders; who are able to efficiently articulate and implement solutions to challenges in the community based on their learned experience and knowledge gained through youth development programs.

Learn more

Inspired Garden (Sure-Would Forest)

The homeowners had a nearly blank slate when they purchased this property in 2021, and soon started working on enriching the soil, retaining rainwater, and laying the groundwork for a food forest. This garden was inspired by Sustainable Solano gardens and a love of fresh fruit. In just over two years, they’ve gone from food desert to food forest with the ability to eat from their garden year round. They attended a design class taught by Joshua Burman Thayer with Native Sun Gardens in 2023 through Sustainable Solano’s backyard program. In June 2023 they hired Joshua to update the design and add drip irrigation.

Inspired by rainwater harvesting systems seen on the 2023 demonstration food forest tour, the homeowners bought and installed four IBC totes to collect water from their downspouts. The irrigation system for Sure-Would Forest is designed to feed from either city water or rainwater storage tanks, allowing over 1,000 gallons of rainwater to be used to irrigate the garden.

At 2 pm, the homeowner will talk about how he converted IBC totes to capture water and irrigate his garden.

We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our funders. The first seven food forest gardens were made possible through funding from the Benicia Sustainability Commission; the Solano County Water Agency continues to support the Sustainable Backyard Program throughout the county. Solano Sustainable Backyard Program short videos: Waterwise and Building Gardens and Community. Occasionally we combine funding from other programs to make larger projects possible.

The Joy of Making ‘This Wonderful World’ Together: Musical Media to Share the Love Our Community

By Alana Mirror, creator of This Wonderful World: a musical reality-show where love for ourselves, each other, and the Earth become one

We enjoyed having Alana attend the Pollinator Pathway garden installation on Mare Island, which was through our Solano Sustainable Backyards program supported by the Solano County Water Agency and in partnership with several organizational partners. When Alana shared the music videos she created out of her experience from those two days, we were moved by the way she captured the sense of community and connection with the earth and each other that we treasure at SuSol events. Here, she shares a bit about that experience and her This Wonderful World project.

Alana Mirror, left, plants alongside other workshop participants at the Pollinator Pathway garden on Mare Island

Hi Sustainable Solano community! My name is Alana and I’m here to support this community with my media and music project called This Wonderful World, a living musical to celebrate all the wonderful things folks do to love Earth. I’m currently working on the spring season of this project, which largely features the Sustainable Solano community. In this season, I’ve been writing songs, making videos, and telling stories based on what I’ve witnessed in Sustainable Solano volunteer days — and you may be featured! These songs and stories are shared on YouTube as well as in a live performance.

Since I began participating in this community, I’ve been deeply inspired by the love, dedication, and warm welcome that has been demonstrated in the events that I’ve attended. I began this project because I was overwhelmed and anxious on so many levels. I needed something to help me keep my head up as we’re all called to create a world that thrives as a whole. It’s big work, but I’ve been so supported by the positivity and encouragement that has been shown to me that I want to pass it on. I hope this series can be light for you as you have been a light for me.

Pollinator Pathway Playlist

Sustainable Solano will be sharing this series in the newsletter, so keep any eye out for the links! As a native of Solano County, I am so proud of all the ways we are meeting the challenges of our time with love, inclusion, and great dedication to our environment. 

I also invite you to participate in the creation of This Wonderful World by sharing your story of finding hope and inspiration in this community. Here’s what to do:

Share a link to your favorite video/mini-series from This Wonderful World on your media channel of choice (including private email and texts) with your own tale of seeing This Wonderful World come to life in this community. If you’re on social media, make sure you tag  #thiswonderfulworld @sustainablesolano and @alanamirror so that you can see and support each other’s stories of making This Wonderful World together. By the end of the season, I would love to see a collection of stories from this community that can continue to inspire us as we move forward, together!

In your description, tell your friends and family: How did the wisdom of the earth and/or the love in this community support you in your life? What about your experience do you want to pass on to others, and why?

This invitation is open to both folks who participated in the events shown in the videos, as well as those who weren’t there, but who recognize what’s happening from other experiences you’ve had with Sustainable Solano, or other community efforts that love Earth. 

Thank you so much for being part of bringing This Wonderful World to life! It is a true joy to celebrate and serve with you. Hope to see you out there!

This Wonderful World is the latest production from Alana’s greater work, called The Living Mirror Project, a creative practice that generates peace by seeing ourselves in everything.

Learn more about This Wonderful World here
Watch the whole series here
Follow Alana on Instagram @alanamirror
Sign up for Alana’s newsletter here
Contact Alana at thelivingmirrorproject@gmail.com if there are any service events that you think should be celebrated in this series, or for more info on booking a live musical show.

Pollinator Pathway Garden Puts Spotlight on Native Plants & Pollinators on Mare Island

By Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager

Painted lines and flags show the sections of the Pollinator Pathway garden that will focus on different types of pollinators once this lawn is converted into a native plant garden


Sometimes the vision to create something different takes a variety of partners to move toward reality. A vision of transforming Mare Island to support local pollinators is taking a step forward with the creation of Pollinator Pathway, a new educational demonstration garden that will highlight waterwise native plants that feed and nurture pollinators.

Vilma Aquino from Vallejo People’s Garden contacted us last year with the vision to replace the lawn at the Global Center for Success with a pollinator habitat to educate the community on the use of California native and pollinator plants in the landscape. She explained that monarch butterflies overwinter in the eucalyptus and redwood trees by St. Peter’s Chapel on Mare Island and that their numbers have been declining over the years. I wasn’t aware that monarch butterflies overwinter in Solano County! During the Thanksgiving 2022 Monarch count, approximately 300,000 monarch butterflies were counted at over 400 overwintering sites up and down the California coast. At St. Peter’s Chapel, the Monarch Milkweed Project counted approximately 500 monarch butterflies, but they didn’t overwinter. The Monarch Milkweed Project believes they moved on because there were not enough nectar plants on Mare Island for them and that St. Peter’s grove might need some changes to support a large population of butterflies.

I definitely have noticed the Mare Island streets lined with water-thirsty green lawns. It inspired me to dream and ask the question: What would it look like if everyone transitioned the water-loving lawn to drought-tolerant California native and pollinator plants that create habitat for pollinators including the monarch butterflies?

Toward that vision, SuSol is excited to partner with Vallejo People’s Garden to create a demonstration site that will show just how people could do that with their own landscape. On Feb. 11 and Feb. 18, we will be replacing the lawn at the Global Center for Success with a 3,000-square-foot California native and pollinator plant garden called Pollinator Pathway. The vision for this project is to be an educational site for people to learn about plants that provide habitat and food for our beloved pollinators and inspire others to replace their lawn with habitat.

What makes this project unique for Sustainable Solano:

  • This is our first project in Vallejo focused primarily on native and pollinator plants.
  • The plants will be hand-watered with the goal to stop watering once they are established (adding drip irrigation can be expensive, leave a carbon footprint and the expense and expertise needed can deter people from planting).
  • There are no gutters on this historical building. Instead of the swales people are familiar with from our other garden installations, we will be digging water-catching basins around the plants.

In 2009, Vilma put her dream into action through starting the Vallejo People’s Garden. She is passionate about education and has plans to expand the Pollinator Pathway into a self-guided educational garden where people can come to learn about native and pollinator plants.

Through planning this project we connected with a number of local organizations that will be collaborating with us! You can learn more about each below. Sustainable Solano holds so much gratitude for all involved in making Vilma’s Pollinator Pathway vision a reality.

Partner Organizations

John Davenport, from Cali Ground Troops worked closely with the Vallejo People’s Garden to design the Pollinator Pathway garden and he will be guiding the installation on Feb. 11 & 18.

The Monarch Milkweed Project is a nonprofit organization in Solano County that works to educate, propagate, and legislate on behalf of the Western Monarch Butterfly and other pollinators. They will be providing volunteers & education during the installation days, and will also assist with the expansion of pollinator-friendly plants throughout Mare Island.

Solano Resource Conservation District will be providing native plant and pollinator resources to educate the community during the installation. SRCD will be helping us source and pay for the plants! They will also be working with the Vallejo People’s Garden to provide education and expand the Pollinator Pathway throughout Mare Island.

The Vallejo People’s Garden sparked the vision for the Pollinator Pathway and will continue to care for this garden and the surrounding land around the Global Center for Success. This project will be an expansion of their edible garden with plans to continue to educate the community about growing food and supporting pollinators. They have weekly volunteer opportunities every Thursday and Sunday morning 9:30-11:30 am. Vilma, Suzanne and many other members have volunteered many hours to research, prep and plan for this installation!

The Vallejo Project engages youth in leadership empowered by service and community. Most of their programming is held at the Global Center for Success and many of their youth leaders are passionate about urban agriculture. The program runs its own garden (Unity Garden at 2160 Sacramento St.) as an opportunity for community members, youth and other stakeholders to restore an abandoned lot. Inspired in part by work with SuSol, The Vallejo Project is turning an area that was once filled with sand and garbage into a multi-level food forest that uses internationally influenced farming techniques. To support this garden, contact ann@vallejoproject.org. Vallejo Project youth will be taking photos, videos and documenting the story of Pollinator Pathway garden during the installation days!

Native Plants

Native and pollinator plants are included in all of SuSol’s demonstration food forest gardens. This is the first project in Vallejo where we are focused primarily on native plants and pollinators. Our local nurseries have native plant areas, but Solano County doesn’t have a nursery specializing in native plants. Oftentimes I will read about incredible native plants and then I can’t find them in our local nurseries.

The Willis Linn Jepson Chapter of the California Native Plant Society here in Solano County provided us with native plant resources and provided educational flyers that we will hand out on the installation days. They operate a small native plant nursery in Vallejo (about 1500 square feet of plants) producing about 1,500-2,000 plants annually. This nursery isn’t open to the public, but they do have annual plant sales. They also recommended the Watershed Nursery in Richmond because they follow best management practices to grow pathogen-free plants.


Native Plant Resources

Download this brochure with recommended native plants for the entire county

Visit the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden at the Benicia State Recreation Area

Solano RCD spring plant sale will be Saturday, March 25, at Mangels Vineyards in Suisun Valley

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour 2023 (Virtual: April 15 & 16; In-person: May 6 & 7)

Willis Linn Jepson Chapter of the California Native Plant Society’s Spring Plant Sale is always the first Saturday in May (May 6, 2023) and the Fall Plant Sale is the first Saturday in October (Oct. 7, 2023)

Native Plant Nurseries in the Bay Area

Calscape.org is an excellent resource that will help you select native plants that will work best for your yard

Learn more about pollinators in this resource from Solano Resource Conservation District

2022 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour Slideshow

By Sustainable Solano

We were so excited to visit with those of you who attended this year’s Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour on April 23. It was uplifting seeing so many people able to return to the gardens, have meaningful conversations with the Food Forest Keepers and each other, reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances. We appreciate all of you who attended and hope that you will join us for upcoming events (including the Fairfield & Vacaville Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour on June 4), workshops, talks and more if you are inspired to bring some of these waterwise approaches to your gardens.

Learn about this year’s gardens here. And view the slideshow below to see each garden and some highlights from the day. Thank you to everyone who shared their photos!

Benicia & Vallejo Tour Slideshow

2022 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Tour

This program is made possible by the generous support from the Solano County Water Agency.

2022 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Tour is April 23!

By Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager

We will be opening up our demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia and Vallejo for the annual tour on April 23, and are thrilled to be back with our regular tour! Learn about this year’s gardens here.

Each garden is a unique expression of the homeowner and the land and was designed using permaculture principles. These gardens offer ideas and inspiration on how to use water efficiently while creating a lush thriving garden that supports life and provides food and habitat. During this pandemic, the food forest keepers have been doing really cool things to serve the Solano County community. This year some of the garden sites will have information on what they have been up to for the past two years: bees, honey, Monarch butterflies, Food is Free stands, native plants, local food and so much more. All of the gardens will showcase plants that thrive in Solano County!

When you pick up your full-day itinerary at Avant Garden in Benicia, you’ll have an opportunity to hear a talk on soil biology and soil health at 9 am. Want to join us for just the afternoon touring Vallejo sites? You can pick up your itinerary from noon-1 pm at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo and have an opportunity to learn about what’s going on in local food. Find more details below!

For the past two years we were challenged to get creative with garden tours. We created a few video tours the first year of the pandemic that expanded our educational video library but couldn’t convey the full vision of what it’s like to stand inside these gardens. Last year the gardens were open to private tours.

Over the past two years I have missed seeing people smile and the magic that unfolds when people gather. We thrive when we are connected. Our deepest hope for this year’s tour is that people get energized and inspired to take action and become caretakers of the land and each other.

We look forward to seeing you this year as we return to a full tour, but with some changes that should add to your experience. Read below to find out more about the day’s events and what to expect in each garden so you can plan out your day!

Register here

This program is made possible by the generous support from the Solano County Water Agency.

Plan Your Day

Learn about each garden you can visit here

How It Will Work

You can choose to tour for the whole day or for half a day.
Learn about the gardens here
Benicia Demonstration Food Forest Gardens will be open 10 am-1 pm
Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Gardens will be open 1-4 pm

Register here

Itinerary pickup and special events:

9-11 am: Itineraries will be available at Avant Garden in Benicia (400 First St.). This itinerary will include all of the demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia (open in the morning) and Vallejo (open in the afternoon).

9 am: Sustainable Solano Program Manager Michael Wedgley will give a talk at Avant Garden on how to have garden abundance with healthy soil biology, including the creation of compost extracts and teas to add soil biology where it’s needed. He will then apply compost extract to the community shared plot at the garden, which grows food for donation. ***Bring a mason jar and get some compost extract while supplies last.

12-1 pm: Itineraries for the Vallejo garden sites (open in the afternoon) will be available at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School (1500 Benicia Rd., Vallejo)

12 pm: Learn about Sustainable Solano’s local food programs at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School. The Local Food team will have details about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in Vallejo and Benicia where you buy directly from local farms, favorite family recipes from our Youth Cooking Program students, information about local farms, agritourism, and how to engage in food rescue and recovery. Stick around for student demonstrations and check out beehives and honey there on campus.