Loam Sweet Loam

Food Forest Keepers: Suki & Sam

The only thing better than a sustainable garden is a sustainable garden you can eat!

With a rapidly changing climate, persistent droughts, and increased concerns about environmental and social instability, Sam, a climate scientist, and Suki, a professional artist and social activist, have a keen interest in sustainable and adaptive living. Upon purchasing their Glen Cove home in early 2022, they began the arduous process of researching native, drought tolerant, edible plants with the intention of transforming their yard into a sustainable, no-till permaculture.

As strong advocates for clean air, water, and nutritious food, Sam and Suki believe we as a society need to change how we think about the use of our land and water.

Transforming ornamental landscapes into sustainable landscapes by planting vegetation that provides vital nutrients, aromatic smells, and vibrant colors, not only supports critical ecosystem biodiversity, but takes significant steps toward more secure and sustainable local communities.

Site Details

Installation Date:

November 2022


900 square feet (front yard food forest)

330 square feet (backyard garden watered through laundry-to-landscape greywater)

Suki and Sam have applied permaculture principals to an additional 1,384 square feet of backyard space as inspired by this project.

Sun Exposure:

8+ hours



Number of Swales:


Secondary Water:

Lawn Conversion


Roofwater Diverted to Swales


Total annual water impact:

48,748 gallons for the 1,200 square feet designed and installed by Sustainable Solano and Greywater Action. From the homeowners’ additional landscape transformation, the site will have additional water impact.


Designer: John Davenport

Plant List:


Apple (Aztec Fuji), Cherry (Lapins), Fig (Violette de Bordeux), Loquat, Orange (Blood Orange), Pomegranate (Wonderful)

Lavender, Rosemary

Borage, Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Feverfew, Globe Mallow, Mullein, Rhubarb, Salvia (Blue Note), Salvia (Nemerosa), Yarrow

Alyssum, Nasturtium, Strawberries, Thyme, Oregano, Viola Australian, White Clover

Jerusalem Artichokes, Oxalis tuberosa

Kiwi (Sweet & Solo)


We were thrilled that our front yard got selected by Sustainable Solano for a demonstration food forest installation. Our ideals align well with Sustainable Solano’s, so this felt like a good partnership right away. The installation exceeded our expectations in that we were able, with the help of Nicole, John, and community volunteers, to plant everything that we intended to plant and connect it all to drip irrigation.

Vision for the Future:

Amateur gardening is a process of experimentation. The front yard installation has equipped us with the knowledge to repeat the foundation work of swale, berm, and sheet mulch gardening in our backyard. We look forward to watching our plants drink the rains of the wet season and establish themselves, grow, and in future years produce fruit. As a broader vision, we look forward to a time when everyone will design their yards and even public parks according to principles of sustainability and passive food production.