Sustainable Solano recently expanded its Sustainable Backyard Program to the City of Fairfield by launching a series of public education classes and workshops on the topics of sustainability, community resilience and sustainable landscaping. On August 26th, Fairfield residents attended the first of these events at an inspiring and thought-provoking talk with educator, ecological designer, farmer and musician, David Shaw at Fairfield Civic Center Library. Attendees listened as he beautifully defined and illustrated natural landscape, social and economic permaculture principles that contribute to a more harmonious, sustainable world.

Permaculture design principles are most commonly applied to agricultural ecosystems and are intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. David covered the various supporting layers of a standard food forest garden and explained how they work together, effortlessly to produce edible, life-supporting ecosystems using simple regenerative design methods used for thousands of years by generations who lived in harmony with our Earth. However, he explained that permaculture principles can be applied to not only landscapes, but also to local social structures, communities and within our own economic markets.

Beautiful photos of various Oregon neighborhoods that have transformed local intersections and streets through community block repair projects showed how urban revival can help close social boundaries and strengthen communities bring residents together through healthy social exchange. Colorful intersection street art, corner “take a book, leave a book” libraries and community garden share plots were a real source of inspiration for attendees to see!

David also stirred up some curious fascination in the room when introducing the concept of financial permaculture. A local new economy manifesto called Bay Bucks whose mission is to create a functioning regional currency that helps local businesses thrive while promoting collaboration and building community wealth has already made its mark in our very own Bay Area. This new economy approach distributes power democratically to its community of users, keeping wealth circulating locally, and reversing the features that create wealth disparity. You can find out more about Bay Bucks by clicking here. (Link:

David works to help build connections with ourselves, each other, and with nature focusing on global sustainability, resiliency, permaculture and sustainable backyards. Attendees left with great tools and ideas and how they can begin applying permaculture principles in their own gardens and neighborhoods.


David Shaw, is a Permaculture and whole systems designer, facilitator, and educator. He founded Santa Cruz Permaculture and the UC Santa Cruz Common Ground Center, two inter-generational partnerships focused on collective action for justice and sustainability. Additionally, he is the coordinator of the Right Livelihood College, and serves on the World Cafe Community Stewardship Council. In order to meet the challenges of today, he is creating an urban farm and inter-generational learning center that fosters hands-on farm and wilderness skills, social entrepreneurship, conversational leadership, and collective action. He lives happily and humbly on a 2-acre homestead in Santa Cruz.


For more information on David Shaw, please visit: