By Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is 20 years old! We hope you will celebrate with us this year as we recognize how we have grown and changed over the years even as we hold tightly to the core values that led to our creation and drive our interwoven initiatives for the future.

To mark 20 years of dedication to promoting ecologically sustainable, economically and socially just communities, we plan to host several celebrations this year recognizing the communities and volunteers that have helped shape and support the organization. We would not be who we are today without the countless volunteers, community partners and advocates who have embraced the vision of what is possible when many people work together for the good of the whole.

Sustainable Solano owes its strong roots to its start in Benicia, where the very seed of what we have grown into today started with Benicia Community Gardens.

On March 30, we will host “Our Benicia Roots & Soil,” a celebratory breakfast in Benicia to recognize the importance of our history as we look at how Sustainable Solano has grown and spread throughout the county and set goals for the future. We hope you can join us at this or future celebrations we will hold around Solano County this year.

Part of recognizing this anniversary is the introduction of a new logo. Central to the new logo is the sunflower, its roots reaching down into the soil and its leaves spread to catch the sunlight as its many-petaled face turns toward the sun. The sunflower has been a key motif for Sustainable Solano since Benicia Community Gardens started, drawing together those who recognized the need to build community around the key elements of food, environmental stewardship and conservation.

Over the years, Sustainable Solano has grown to encompass a diverse group of initiatives that all work together toward nurturing the whole — recognizing what we need as individuals to thrive both within our communities and in harmony with the environment. Today, we are involved in programs that promote sustainable landscaping, building a local food movement, driving new conversations about the world we live in and bringing together neighbors to create a more resilient way of living.

That sunflower reflects these things, and has been a symbol for what nurtures us as an organization, as seen in this early sketch of what it means to us.

An early version of the flower used for board strategic discussions in 2011-2014

Its roots are set within the local community and environment, reaching down to soak up nutrients and pull in the funding that comes from our donors, grants and partners.

The strong core, the stem of the program, is people — our staff, board and countless volunteers and supporters — who define the resilience and vitality of the flower! The leaves stretch out, reflecting the board and community members who draw upon the rays of indigenous wisdom that is an integral part of our learning and insight from conversations and dialogue about problems and solutions. All of those help to nurture the organization.

The head of the sunflower centers around the different ideas and programs upon which Sustainable Solano’s initiatives are based, with each petal emerging out of those to form the different interrelated parts of the organization.

As we move into 2019, we hope that you will join us for a conversation, a food forest installation or a cooking demonstration to help grow this sunflower to its full potential, powered by the people involved.

We invite our friends, partners and supporters who have formed the roots of the organization through their dedication to our programs that have grown out of Benicia to join us March 30 for the “Our Benicia Roots & Soil” celebration or at one of the other celebrations around the county this year that will celebrate our growing organization as we take on new people and programs and plant the seeds for new opportunities and programs in the future.