Jan. 13, 2023
For immediate release

Media Contact: Allison Nagel
Interviews, photos and other materials available upon request

Quick facts:

  • 2 pm Thursday, Jan 26: Ribbon-cutting ceremony and plant giveaway at Faith Food Fridays’ new Learning Community Garden
  • Remarks from Faith Food Fridays’ Benjamin and Mary Ann Buggs, and Sustainable Solano’s Solano Gardens program managers Michael Wedgley and Lauren Gucik
  • Class on gardening in containers taught by Roxann Reyes, Beautification Commissioner for City of Vallejo. Participants will receive supplies and plants to take home with them.
  • This event is open to the public.
  • Please share news of the event in advance with your audience. We also invite media coverage of the event.


Learning Community Garden at Faith Food Fridays to Educate About Growing Food

Faith Food Fridays in Vallejo grew out of a mission to end hunger, with a focus on providing emergency food to families. But Mary Ann Buggs, Faith Food Fridays’ administrative director, says that food security needs to move beyond emergency food to sharing knowledge and skills to grow food within our communities.

That’s why the organization is working in partnership with Sustainable Solano’s Solano Gardens program to dedicate a raised garden bed and offer plants for those who want to grow their food at home at Faith Food Fridays’ Vallejo distribution location.

“This garden is extremely important to Faith Food Fridays, not just from a personal standpoint of continuing the tradition we grew up with of growing our own food, but really providing a means for sustainable nutrition for our community members to advance long-term health,” Buggs said.

The Learning Community Garden has been improved and expanded through the efforts of a number of community groups and organizations, with Vallejo Beautification Commission board member Roxann Reyes organizing volunteers to sheet mulch, install garden beds and plant those beds.

Reyes said she learned from her grandmother how tending a garden could offer freedom, and self-sufficiency, and she brought her own experience with facing hunger and the security of a garden to her efforts to start seedlings at home that she could share with others in the community through various organizations, including Faith Food Fridays, Angels With Heart and WAHEO, so they could grow their own food.

“I’m most thankful for Mr. Benjamin Buggs and Mrs. Mary Ann Buggs for gifting the community with a piece of property that will benefit Vallejo and the surrounding areas,” Reyes said.

At 2 pm Jan. 26, Faith Food Fridays and Sustainable Solano will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and plant giveaway to recognize the addition of the Learning Community Garden while giving those in the community plants and supplies they can take home to start their own gardens. Leadership and community member volunteers will share their involvement with the Learning Community Garden, and elected officials, Vallejo business owners and other nonprofit organizations are invited to attend. Reyes will be offering a talk on container gardening that can benefit those who want to grow food at home but don’t have the space or live in temporary housing. The event is open to the public.

Faith Food Fridays and Sustainable Solano hope to combine their expertise and work with support from the community and other organizations to create a garden that is an example that can be used to inspire similar gardens throughout the county.

“The hardest thing with community gardens is harnessing the human power to keep it going long term and sustainably,” Buggs said. “We hope other cities/communities reach out so we can show them how easy it is to create a sustainable, healthy food source.”


About Faith Food Fridays

Faith Food Fridays began in 2011 under the guidance of Ministry Director Benjamin Buggs and Administrative Director Mary Ann Buggs, and helps those in need with free boxes of food, groceries and other necessities, along with resource referrals and positive encouragement. Distributions are on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays and serve more than 600 families each week. There are no requirements or qualifications people need to meet to receive fresh and non-perishable food items.

About Solano Gardens

The Solano Gardens program has grown this year beyond its original scope of creating and supporting gardens that provide access to fresh produce in communities that have historically experienced limited access to healthy food. With the expansion of the program, the broader goal is to help Solano communities regain control over the growing, sharing and preparing of food. The program will do this in three ways. Solano Gardens will establish garden Hubs that can support education, distribution and preparation of food; community gardens that continue to get fresh produce to local residents; and smaller satellite gardens that can serve as a network of support for home gardeners interested in producing their own food. Culinary training classes for youth will impart skills and understanding of how to prepare fresh food at home and in larger amounts to share with others. And the program is also managing a farm feasibility study to look at the best approaches to continuing to support farming and food production here in Solano County. Together, these three aspects of Solano Gardens work toward that broader goal of food sovereignty for Solano communities.

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, youth leadership, sustaining conversations and community gardens.

For more information, visit sustainablesolano.org