Food Forest Keepers: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

St. Paul’s United Methodist church was founded in 1957 in the original downtown of Vacaville. Our worship, spiritual growth, and service in our community emphasizes wholeness of the individual and healthy relationships between God, people and all living beings on the Earth. Our interest in sustainable landscaping and sponsoring the Urban Food Forest grew from eco-theological perspectives and values. Healing and redemption are not limited to Divine-human and human-human interactions, but also extend to our relationship to the natural world.

Site Details

Installation Date:

November 2018


1,500 square feet

Sun Exposure:

6-8 hours



Number of Swales:


Secondary Water:

Lawn Conversion


Laundry-to-Landscape Greywater System

Total annual water impact:

105,230 gallons



Designer: Kathleen Huffman

Plant List:

Bearss Lime, Cara Cara Orange, Cranberry Pomegranate, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein Apple, July Elberta Peach, Keifer Pear, Mandarin Satsuma, Meiwa Kumquat, Meyer Lemon, Pineapple Guava, Santa Rosa Plum, Stella Cherry, Susequehanna Paw Paw, Washington, Zee Glow Nectarine,
Blackberry, Ceanothus, Coffee Berry, Goji Berry, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Loganberry, Mexican Sage, Raspberry
Agastache, Blue Spring Penstemon, Comfrey, Echinacea, Fava Beans, Firecracker, Indian Blanket, Leaf Celery, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Lemon Light Autumn Sage, Pineapple Sage, Red Clover, Tickseed, White Gaura
Alpine Strawberries, Calendula, Lemon Thyme, Oregano, Silver Thyme, Yerba Buena
Mystery Blue Salvia that vines, Nasturtium


On the day of the installation, we were surprised and delighted to meet the volunteers who came from Vacaville and other places in Solano County. And some volunteers came from beyond Solano County. The leadership and expertise of the Sustainable Solano staff, consultants, board of directors and CEO helped build our knowledge and confidence that this project would be successful and beneficial to our wider community. It was a heart-warming experience, to work side by side with like-minded strangers who rapidly become cheerleading companions and friends on this life-giving project.

Vision for the Future:

We see this as Phase I of transforming our 2-acre church campus into an ecological education site to include future community garden plots, with zones for beehives and domestic fowl as permitted by the city of Vacaville. We hope this project’s impact will extend beyond our neighborhood and even our city, as each person involved shares the knowledge gained. Our proximity to the high school provides opportunities to partner with teachers and students with hands-on curriculum to support the educational needs and extracurricular need of our public school students.

We will continue to cultivate seasonal garden produce among the fruit trees, herbs and shrubs that were planted. The food is shared with various church and community groups and with our neighbors. We look forward to continuing tours for students and teachers from the Vacaville High School culinary arts program and science classes. They have come to learn about intensive backyard food production that also conserves water and builds the soil. We are planning to expand our garden space to provide small plots for community members and scouting groups to learn how to garden and raise produce for their personal use. Future events include seminars on pruning trees, keeping ahead of weeds, and cooking with seasonally available produce and culinary herbs.