What’s Growing? Archive
This is our archive of all past blog posts with the most recent first. Search by keyword using the box below.
City Church: Coming Together for Community Impact
Putting together community gardens has varying degrees of success, but our recent turnout at City Church of Fairfield blew me away. We had so many volunteers from many different walks of life all come together to support the efforts of growing food for people in the community that might not have access to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Connecting with Community
The soft, excited voice of spring beckons us forth out of our solitude and into the warm embrace of the world around us; into community. With more light and more warmth, people all across the Northern Hemisphere find themselves spending glorious time outside, reconnecting with neighbors of all species.
Armijo High Students Reflect on Healthy Local Food
The Healthy Local Food program at Armijo High in Fairfield brings together 30 students each week to learn about healthy, seasonal, local food in both the school garden and culinary sessions. Students will share what they have learned through final multimedia projects. Here, two students in the program reflect on their early experiences.
The Joy of Making ‘This Wonderful World’ Together: Musical Media to Share the Love Our Community
We enjoyed having Alana attend the Pollinator Pathway garden installation on Mare Island, which was through our Solano Sustainable Backyards program supported by the Solano County Water Agency and in partnership with several organizational partners. When Alana shared the music videos she created out of her experience from those two days, we were moved by the way she captured the sense of community and connection with the earth and each other that we treasure at SuSol events. Here, she shares a bit about that experience and her This Wonderful World project.
Pollinator Pathway Garden Puts Spotlight on Native Plants & Pollinators on Mare Island
Sometimes the vision to create something different takes a variety of partners to move toward reality. A vision of transforming Mare Island to support local pollinators is taking a step forward with the creation of Pollinator Pathway, a new educational demonstration garden that will highlight waterwise native plants that feed and nurture pollinators.
The Beginning of Flood Resiliency in Suisun City
Over the past two years, Sustainable Solano has focused on spreading awareness of the dire need for climate resilience in Suisun City, making education regarding flooding accessible for the city’s residents. Generously funded by PG&E through the Better Together Resilient Communities, Sustainable Solano’s Resilient Neighborhoods program installed two flood-resilient gardens in Suisun, kicked off a now annual climate event in the city, led a high school internship program, taken residents on a dozen Flood Walk tours, and empowered the community to tackle flooding via the creation of a community-based action plan.
Farm to School Brings New Garden to Vallejo’s Griffin Academy
Beginning in the new school year, students at Griffin Academy will be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden thanks to a grant by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Get Bare-Root Fruit Trees for Your Garden Through Our Fruit-Tree Giveaway
Sustainable Solano will be partnering with three local nurseries in January to give away bare-root trees to the community.
Reflection, Gratitude and Anticipation for What Lies Ahead
Incoming SuSol Board President Maggie Kolk offers her reflections, insights and hopes for what’s to come for the organization in 2023 and beyond.
In Gratitude: Recognizing Board President Marilyn Bardet’s Selfless Service to SuSol
In January, Marilyn Bardet will step down from the board president role she has held for the past 18 years. Sustainable Solano would not have grown into the organization it is today without her leadership, guidance, wisdom and trust. We are grateful for all she has brought to the organization.
Influencing Local Land Use Comes Down to Making Your Voice Heard
When it comes to how land is put to use in your community — whether rural or urban — it is important to remember that each local citizen has a voice and that those voices can influence government decisions around planning and zoning. Experts on planning and land use discussed how to be informed and take action around such decisions at the Rural & Urban Land Use: Planning, Zoning & the Local Food System event on Nov. 3 hosted by the Solano Local Food System Alliance.
Suisun City Climate Resilience Community Forum Engages Public Around Flood Risks
Suisun City is vulnerable to increased flooding risks from sea level rise, king tides and storm surges that will threaten homes, businesses and jobs in the coming decades. The Suisun City Climate Resilience Community Forum brought together local environmental experts, city officials and city residents and community leaders to explore those risks, while informing a discussion around community-supported actions and solutions.
Why Hampton Bay HOA Decided on Sustainable Landscaping
We’ve worked closely with the Hampton Bay HOA in Benicia in a partnership to demonstrate how a waterwise, beautiful native garden could replace water-hungry lawns in HOA common areas. Here, Hampton Bay HOA’s Rick Theisen offers some insight on that partnership and the first pilot project.
Big Gardens in Small Spaces: Adventures in Container Gardening
Blesilda attended the recent workshop on Big Gardens in Small Spaces and volunteered to write a blog about her experience for us. A beginner gardener, she shared about what she learned at Lori Caldwell’s recent talk on container gardening.
Solano Gardens Expands Program to Get More Resources to Community
Solano Gardens is growing! Our goal is to increase communities’ ability to grow food for themselves and their neighbors to improve our mental and physical health and foster abundance and collective power.
Simple Greywater Systems Bring Laundry Water to Your Landscape
This time of year, we usually start to see some rain, but with California in a state of extreme drought, it is always a good time to think of water conservation and reuse to keep your trees and shrubs alive during the dry months.
Community Resilience Workshop Builds Awareness of Environmental Hazards and Community-Based Solutions
Suisun residents place a high value on their community’s natural beauty, its diversity, and its tight-knit network of publicly active residents. Despite these communal strengths, participants in a collective dialogue on environmental resilience determined that climate change, flooding, wildfires, windstorms and earthquakes all pose a significant threat to their neighborhoods.
Drip Irrigation Class Provides Hands-on Opportunities
The Sustainable Solano drip irrigation class started out with good feelings right from the beginning of the day. The best part of getting back to some sense of normalcy after the pandemic is to be outdoors, hands in the soil, and experiencing the camaraderie that you can’t have over Zoom.
Vallejo Food Rescue Project Promotes Community Collaboration to Share Information, Resources, Food
The Vallejo Food Rescue Project had its official launch meeting in early June at Loma Vista Farm, bringing together people from organizations involved in current food rescue and distribution operations in the city and seeking guidance on how to streamline and shape food rescue efforts in Vallejo.
When Chard is Not the Only Gift
Maggie Kolk, SuSol board secretary, is currently working on her Master Gardener certification, and wrote this story of connection at Avant Garden for that program. We’re republishing it here with her permission.
Outgrowing Chicken Tenders
A student participant and our program manager both reflect on the Youth Cooking Pilot Program
Regenerative Agriculture: Health for the Land & People
The regenerative agriculture event, which was part of the Solano Local Food System Alliance’s quarterly meeting, brought together three speakers to cover different sustainable agricultural practices and discuss the demonstration permaculture site planned for the farm where the event was held.
2022 Fairfield & Vacaville Demonstration Food Forest Tour: Featured Gardens
Read about the Fairfield and Vacaville gardens that are featured on this year’s Fairfield & Vacaville Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour on June 4, and to learn about special offerings at some of the gardens!
2022 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour Slideshow
We were so excited to visit with those of you who attended this year’s Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour on April 23. Check out this slideshow to see the gardens and highlights from the day!
Youth Environmental Leaders Seek to Shape a Better World, Starting at Home
We’ve just completed SuSol’s first two Youth Environmental Leadership Fellowships. The high school students who participated in these programs are thoughtful, conscientious people who see the challenges ahead and are eager to find ways to improve themselves, their communities and the world.
2022 Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Tour is April 23!
We will be opening up our demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia and Vallejo for the annual tour on April 23, and are thrilled to be back with our regular tour!
2022 Benicia & Vallejo Tour: Featured Gardens
Read about the Benicia and Vallejo gardens that are featured on this year’s Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour on April 23, and to learn about special offerings at some of the gardens!
DIY Sustainable Landscape Design Class a Hit for Homeowners
Heidi Varian participated in the DIY Sustainable Landscape Design class offered earlier this year. She wanted to use the class to gain design ideas for a historic home in Benicia that she is restoring with some friends to create a site people can visit for an “eco-vacation.” She shares her reflections on the class and process.
New Program to Focus on Air Quality in Fairfield
A new program that will focus on air quality concerns, causes and solutions will help Fairfield residents to address air pollution within the community. Sustainable Solano was recently awarded a $260,000 Community Air Grant that will support the planning and implementation of this new program over the next three years.
Dixon Partnership Brings Together 2 Programs to Create New Garden Site
We are excited to build upon two of our garden programs to support a new demonstration food forest and community garden in Dixon that will provide produce for the community, educate children about connecting with food and the local agricultural community, and build another example of waterwise, sustainable gardening that can inspire and educate others.
Farm-to-School Program Brings Permaculture Campus to Markham Elementary
Recognizing the importance of connecting children with food and the natural world, Sustainable Solano’s new Farm-to-School program will bring a permaculture campus to Markham Elementary School in Vacaville this spring.
Growing Healthier Plants and Ecosystems Regeneratively With Biology
We are excited to be working with Hampton Bay HOA on the designs for two pilot sites that will demonstrate how lawn in common areas can be replaced with low-water, low-maintenance sustainable landscaping that is healthy, beautiful and natural. Here, designer Michael Wedgley shares about the importance of healthy soil biology as part of that equation.
Dec. 4, 2021: Town Hall (with video)
The town hall with HOA members on Dec. 4 was a great opportunity for Permaculture Designer Michael Wedgley to share the proposed designs for the two pilot sites that will replace the grass with sustainable, low-maintenance, waterwise landscaping that captures rainwater and incorporates beautiful native plants and shrubs. (Get the highlights and watch the video)
CSA Farm Spotlight: Umbel Roots
Learn more about Umbel Roots and the people behind it in this Q&A with co-owners Tom Inners and William Hennpenn
Winter in the Milkweed Garden
Winter is the season to clean up the milkweed garden, as the last few caterpillars pupate in the fall and the final Monarch butterflies take flight for their over-wintering sites. It is also the time to begin preparing the garden bed for next year!
Climate & Environmental Festival Reconnects Community to Create Change
Sustainable Solano hosted Suisun City’s first Climate and Environmental Festival in October. From the long slumber of in-person events through the pandemic, it was great to finally see some friendly masked faces and engage with a like-minded community in Suisun City.
Students Take Pride in Connecting with Local Food in Pilot Program
The goal of Sustainable Solano’s Youth Cooking pilot program is to teach Solano youth the foundational principles of cooking with fresh, local, seasonal food in the context of a local food system. The first group from St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School has shown a whole new reality of the impact this program can have on our next generation.
Compost Happens 101
Lori Caldwell covered all the basics of successful home composting during her recent talk. In this blog, she takes the opportunity to answer some of the most common questions.
A Lesson from the Rain on Healthy Soil
Soul Food Farm‘s Alexis Koefoed shared these photos and thoughts during the rainstorm Oct. 24 that over the weekend brought more than 10 inches of rain to parts of Vacaville and at least 4 inches or more to other areas of Solano County.
Solano Cities Face Risks from a ‘Return to Normal’
Nick Reynoso joined us this summer as a California Climate Action Corps Fellow with a focus on our Resilient Neighborhoods program in Suisun City and building connections with community members and local environmental leaders. In this blog, he offers his reflections on climate change and the risks it holds for coastal cities — and ways to prepare.
A Call to Action to Save the Monarchs
If we want future generations to live in a world that still has Monarchs, we have to act now. Co-founders of the Monarch Milkweed Project have a call to action to save these important pollinators.
Climate Advocacy & Policy Lack Coordination in Solano County
Benjamin Miramontes joined us this summer as a California Climate Action Corps Fellow with a focus on researching climate action plans, disaster planning and environmental resources in the county. In this blog, they offer their observations and reflections on what they discovered in the process.
Garden Champion Sylvia Herrera in the Spotlight
This is a new feature highlighting the people who support Sustainable Solano’s work with their time, energy and commitment to shaping a better world while strengthening their communities.
The Sustainable Rose Garden
Katie Rivera, a recent Permaculture Design Certificate recipient and part of the team who designed the Rio Vista Veterans Residence demonstration food forest garden, shares this blog with us about how to grow beautiful roses sustainably.
Veterans’ Serenity Garden Takes Partnership & Persistence
Program Manager Nicole Newell reflects on the effort and dedication that went into creating the new demonstration food forest garden at Rio Vista’s Veterans Residence.
Reflections on Environmental Injustice Research & Shaping New Fellowship Program
Allison McCabe is a rising Benicia High School junior and passionate about environmental science. She won this year’s Solano County Science and Engineering Fair with her research on toxins found in soil samples in Benicia and Vallejo — research she undertook to examine environmental justice issues in Solano County. We are excited to be working with her to shape Sustainable Solano’s environmental justice fellowship in Benicia for the coming school year.
Conversation Circles Program Creates New Opportunities and Environmental Resources
While the Conversation Circles program in Central Solano (formerly the Listening Circles program) has come to the end of its grant term, our commitment to increase the understanding of environmental issues that affect Solano communities is ongoing.
Permaculture Design Course Graduates 12 in Benicia
Solano County’s first Permaculture Design Certificate course wrapped up on April 10, with 12 students presenting their capstone design projects and receiving their PDC certificates. It was powerful to see how this group used what they had learned to shape plans for four very different projects.
The Future of the Resilient Neighborhoods Program and Suisun City
We are excited to grow our Resilient Neighborhood program into Suisun City this year. Building on our previous work in Vallejo’s Resilient Hubs and looking at the Resilient Neighborhood model as a whole, the power of community continues to be the biggest asset in addressing environmental threats, but also encompassing true resilience.
Resilient Neighborhoods: Lessons Learned in Vallejo
The Vallejo Resilient Neighborhoods pilot program came to a successful conclusion at the end of December 2020 with the establishment of two Resilient Neighborhood hubs in Vallejo.
Get Back in the Garden: 2021 Garden Tour Reimagined!
Time in any garden is well spent, and we invite you to spend time in a local garden on April 24 for our Annual Demonstration Food Forest Garden tour in Benicia and Vallejo.
New Food Forest Garden Will Help Feed Vacaville Community
The latest Solano Gardens food forest installation will continue to grow Sustainable Solano’s projects in the city of Vacaville. We are excited to be teaming up with The Truth Outreach nonprofit organization in our efforts to keep working with community members and organizations interested in creating edible gardens based on principles of permaculture, to serve as a source of fresh produce and a source of inspiration in Solano County.
Raised Bed Project Provides Food Access
The South Vallejo Raised Beds Project, a collaboration between Food is Free Solano, The Vallejo Project and Sustainable Solano, has a goal of increasing food access for those living in food deserts and who are interested in growing their own annual fruits and veggies.
Join CompostGal’s Lori Caldwell for Gardening 101
Lori Caldwell of CompostGal has given talks for Sustainable Solano on container gardening, perennial edibles and much more! Her next talk will be a Gardening 101 class on March 19.
Winter Fruit Tree Care
Kristina Fink from Lemuria Nursery answers your winter fruit tree care questions.
Seeds of Hope
The weekend of Dec. 19 was just past the four month mark from the LNU Lightning Complex Fire that ripped through Vacaville’s rural area. Instead of looking at the destruction and blackened hills with a feeling of loss and overwhelming grief, the weekend offered the first glimmers of hope.
Seeking Suisun City, Fairfield & Vacaville Residents Interested in Yard Transformation
Do you live in Suisun City, Fairfield or Vacaville? Are you interested in working with your neighbors and community to install a demonstration food forest garden or other sustainable landscaping elements in the coming months at your home or a community site, like a place of worship or school?
‘Tis the Season for Local Food & Wine!
Need a last-minute special gift for someone? Give the gift of local food, wine and farm products!
Grant Expands Resilient Neighborhoods Program to Suisun City & Helps Address Flood Risk
Sustainable Solano is excited to announce that we have received a grant through PG&E Corporation Foundation that will support helping Suisun City residents learn about and address the challenges of increased flooding and bring together city leaders and community members as they work on larger plans to address flood risks.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Wilkinson Acres
Learn more about Wilkinson Acres and the people behind it in this Q&A with co-owner/farmer Courtney Wilkinson.
Perennial Edible Gardening
CompostGal’s Lori Caldwell answers more of your gardening questions — this time about growing perennial edible plants from artichokes to fig trees!
Vital Cycles Brings Permaculture Instruction to Solano County
Permaculture educators Anne Freiwald and Lydia Neilsen talk permaculture and working with soil, water, plants and community.
Wildfire Relief Goes to Farms to Meet Immediate Needs and Build Future Resilience
In the weeks since the LNU Lightning Complex wildfires tore through many of Solano County’s family farms, we have been humbled by the number of you who poured in donations to help those who had lost homes, animals and crops to the devastation.
Solano Community Foundation Funding Supports Sustainable Solano & Local Food
We are grateful to the Solano Community Foundation and its donors for their ongoing support of our work, including two recent funding awards that will help us continue our work supporting our local food system and access to healthy food within our communities.
Thank You to SCWA for Supporting Solano’s Sustainable Landscapes & Communities
Since 2016 we have received funding from the Solano County Water Agency (SCWA) to install demonstration food forest gardens throughout the county through the Solano Sustainable Backyards Program. This has led to many other programs that continue to provide resources for Solano County while creating meaningful relationships.
Resilient Neighborhoods Plant Seeds for Future in Uncertain Times
The Resilient Neighborhoods program is creating its second Resilient Hub in Vallejo.
Seasonal Planting for Raised Beds & the Benefits of No-Till Gardening
Rachel Brinkerhoff, co-owner of Dog Island Farm/Grow a Pear Nursery, answers your questions on seasonal planting, raised beds and no-till gardening.
Permaculture Design Certificate Course Coming to Benicia
We’re excited to bring our first Permaculture Design Certificate course to Benicia starting in January 2021.
Avant Garden Scavenger Hunt Offers Fun Outside Activity Amid the Pandemic
The premier Kids in the Garden event was a scavenger hunt at Benicia’s Avant Garden, COVID-19 version. It proved to be a super successful, fun, educational and tasty event.
Share Your Inspired Gardens!
We want to share your inspired gardens so your projects can inspire others!
More Sustainable Landscaping Education Programs Planned for Benicia
As we plan for an exciting slate of programs based in Benicia for 2021, we want your insight on what sort of workshops we should hold in the city – what is most interesting to potential participants as well as property owners. These workshops will help to strengthen and expand the programs we piloted in Benicia at the beginning of this year.
The Power of Cultivating Vital Life Skills
Anne Freiwald’s talk was on how to restore the resource of self by cultivating vital life skills. These vital life skills are familiar, but what was intriguing was how Anne provided examples of parallels relating to nature and our bodies.
Backyard Chickens 101
Tyler Snortum-Phelps, who has been keeping chickens for more than 20 years, answers more questions about backyard chickens.
Fostering Food Security Through Collaboration
Sustainable Solano has been in conversation with organizations that are taking the initiative to move food from farms and gardens onto the plates of county residents. These organizations are seeking ways to collaborate toward supplying more people with the good food they need.
Regrow Your Own Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps
Mallory Traughber answers more questions about regrowing vegetables and saving seeds.
Edible Landscapes: A Food Forest Garden
Derek Downey answers more questions on permaculture food forest gardens
Seeking Vacaville, Suisun City Residents to Monitor Air Quality and Help Communities
In Vacaville and Suisun City, air monitors that could track pollutants and particulate matter in the air and offer valuable information to residents are lacking. We’re seeking individuals who want to install these monitors to help their neighborhoods.
Creating Change During a Crisis
When there is a crisis, it often can reveal underlying flaws in the existing system as well as opportunities for change. The current economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic also opens the dialogue for how to shift our economy in a way that works for more people.
Big Gardens in Small Spaces: Container Gardening Tips
Lori Caldwell answers more of your questions on container gardening
Students Write Poetry, Essay on Healing, Life-Supporting Water
Read the finalists and winner in the water essay/poetry contest from St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School
Eating Healthy with Immune-Boosting Foods
Culinary Arts Instructor Lisa Núñez-Hancock discusses foods that help you stay healthy.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Soul Food Farm
Learn more about Soul Food Farm and the people behind it in this Q&A with co-owner Alexis Koefoed.
Learn How to Plant Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables in New Video Tutorials
Get tips and tricks on how to prepare and plant your spring vegetables!
4th Annual Demonstration Food Forest Tour a Reimagined Success
Permaculture expert John Valenzuela gave this year’s annual demonstration food forest garden talk and tour in a Zoom call and video tour.
Local Food Reflections from the Sustainable Solano Team
Our team shares our local food connection, from growing vegetables to how we buy locally, which supports the local economy even as we benefit from having a closer relationship with the people behind our food.
Businesses Partner to Provide Plants
Harmony Organics, located in Benicia, shares how they are partnering with Biota Gardens Nursery as a distribution site for plants.
What Would Love Do?
Program Manager Nicole Newell shares her insights from participating in a Heart Based Leadership workshop.
Stocking Your Pantry for Uncertain Times
Culinary Arts Instructor Lisa Núñez-Hancock offers advice on what you should have in your pantry and some ways to find those locally.
On the Fifth Anniversary of Our Garden
Food Forest Keeper Nam Nguyen provides an update on her garden.
‘The Happiest Little Farmers’: An Update From Oklahoma
Sustainable Landscaping Designer Kathleen Huffman provides an update from her farm in Oklahoma
CSA Farm Spotlight: Be Love Farm
Learn more about Be Love Farm and the people behind it in this Q&A with co-owner Terces Engelhart
Design Workshop Guides Participants In Sustainable Garden Transformation
We created the Sustainable Garden Design Workshop with the hope that this resource can help get more people started with one of the most challenging parts of a landscape project — the design.
Alliance Members Reflect, Connect to Deepen Local Food System Conversation
The Solano Local Food System Alliance held its first quarterly meeting of 2020 to continue its collaborative effort to foster a strong local food system within the county.
Save The Butterflies and The Bees — Our Favorite Pollinators Are in Jeopardy
Cristina Goulart shares this article on why the choices made in our yards and communities are so important to protecting beneficial insects.
Bioneers Experience Both Personal and Profound
Attending Bioneers was an intense experience, yet a very interesting one. The conference offered a space to learn from each other — from seeing art inspired by the environmental movements we are a part of to connecting with like-minded individuals from all over the country and the world.
Community Will Gain Knowledge, Guide Solutions in Listening Circles
February will mark the beginning of Sustainable Solano’s first Listening Circle sessions in central Solano County. A Listening Circle is our approach to finding community-guided solutions to community issues/problems.
On Garden Parties
Food Forest Keeper Nam writes about the friendships made in the garden and how, “The belief that through earth care, human care, and fair share, we can sustain and fill each other up.”
CSA Spotlight: Real Good Fish
Learn more about Real Good Fish and the people behind it in this Q&A with Emily Hess of Member Services.
Students Make Real-World Connections Through Sustainability Education
A look at the sustainability curriculum and hands-on demonstration food forest installation at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo
This Giving Tuesday, Support Sustainable Solano Through Give Local Solano
This #GivingTuesday, support local nonprofits through #GiveLocalSolano
Tangible and Valuable: Permaculture Design Course Shapes Program Work
Sustainable Solano Program Managers Gabriela Estrada and Kassie Munro reflect on their experience and insight gained through a Permaculture Design Course.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Eatwell Farm
Learn more about Eatwell Farm and the people behind it in this Q&A with owner Lorraine Walker.
Got Specialty Crops? Sustainable Solano Embarks on New Project, Funded by CDFA
Sustainable Solano has received a “Specialty Crop Block Program” grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. From farm-to-institution to public awareness, learn what that means for the county.
Building Alliance Toward Action on Solano County’s Local Food System
October’s Listening Sessions brought together the Solano Local Food System Alliance members, key stakeholders and policymakers to discuss how to foster a stronger local food system.
Building Community Capacity: Conversation at California Environmental Protection Agency
We see the role of Sustainable Solano in enacting and supporting connections through meaningful, tangible work in our communities.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Riverdog Farm
Learn more about Riverdog Farm and the people behind it in this Q&A with CSA Manager Lola Quasebarth.
Food is Free Benicia Shares Bounty with Foodstand
Food is Free Benicia takes the principle of caring for others by sharing surplus food and puts it into action.
Help Students Build Skills While Building Your Resilient Community
Sustainable Solano is entering an exciting new phase this school year with our latest area of focus — workforce development — which is creating new opportunities for students and Benicia residents.
Alliance Advances Conversation Around Creating Local Food System
The Solano Local Food System Alliance held its first official meeting at the end of August to discuss how to foster a strong local food system within the county.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Terra Firma Farm
Learn more about Terra Firma Farm and the people behind it in this Q&A with CSA Manager Alicia Baddorf.
Garden Tools: A Resource for Building Community
When there are ways we can support organizations with goals that complement ours toward building a just, equitable and sustainable environment, we are happy for the opportunity to do so. One such opportunity arose this summer.
Talking Local Food: SolanoFit Interviews Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager
Local Food Program Manager Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan discusses the importance of healthy food, local food and supporting a local food system on the SolanoFit podcast.
CSA Farm Spotlight: Lockewood Acres
Learn about Lockewood Acres and the people behind it in this Q&A with farmer Ben Lyons.
Partner Insight: ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ and Supporting Local Farmers
Eatwell Farm owner Lorraine Walker offers perspective as a local farmer not only on what the film covers about the importance of soil and regenerative farming, but also what it doesn’t cover — and why that knowledge is important.
Growing Change Through Community
The transformation of Bogota, Colombia, offers insights on how opportunities for creating connection can generate new possibilities for local cities.
Environmental Justice Grant to Help With Most Important Part of Community Involvement: Listening
California’s EPA recently awarded Sustainable Solano an Environmental Justice grant that will help us create Listening Circles to identify challenges and move toward solutions by actively engaging the community.
Dixon, Rio Vista Residents: Know the Perfect Spot for a Sustainable Garden?
We want to hear from residents in Rio Vista and Dixon interested in bringing demonstration food forest gardens to their communities.
Explore Local Farms at Open Farm Days in Vacaville
Visit and learn more about local farms at Open Farm Days in Vacaville, July 27-28.
Here Are Some Ways to Support Local Farms
Here are some tips for ways you can support local farms.
Ways to Connect With Local Food
Find ways to connect with local food through farms, stands, events and more.
Learn How to Create a Food Forest Garden as Part of Vallejo’s First Resilient Neighborhood
Learn hands-on how to build a food forest garden while transforming a yard in Vallejo’s first Resilient Neighborhood.
From Hugelkultur to Harvest: First Resilient Neighborhood Brings Together Community
My neighbors and I were incredibly touched to see how many people came out to help us install permaculture features in our yards.
Celebrating Sustainable Landscape Designer Kathleen Huffman
Watch this video celebrating designer Kathleen Huffman’s work and mission.
Jardin de la Esperanza Shows Power of Community
Armijo High School students reflect on what they learned and their hopes for their school garden project through Solano Gardens.
Next Economy Series: Designing the Next Economy
Discussion of alternative models, inspiring examples and ideas for a new economic system that works for everyone.
Wrapped Food and the Big Burrito Debate
Learn a bit about the history of the California burrito — then learn how to make wrapped foods at the next What’s for Dinner? workshop.
From Bleary-Eyed to Eye-Opening: Experiencing Cob Construction and Curriculum
Students at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School participated in constructing a cob bench at the school as part of a pilot program to create a sustainability curriculum.
Join Us in Creating Our First Resilient Neighborhood in Vallejo!
Our first pilot Resilient Neighborhoods team has been selected, the design process is underway, and we are excited to begin scheduling our educational installation days on Saturdays May 25 through June 22. Find out more about how this program is expanding the scale and scope of our work!
Next Economy: Exploring the Role of Community and Restorative Economics
“Change doesn’t come from intent. It comes from deliberate action.” – Nwamaka Agbo
Mini Green New Deal for Benicia: Funding Will Make Education, Conservation Program a Reality
A new program in Benicia will bring sustainable landscaping training and skills to local landscape professionals and high school students while residents turn their lawns into food forest gardens.
Caretaking of Nature and Community: A Conversation Between Wendell Berry and Helena Norberg-Hodge
Two local economy advocates explore caring for local communities and the environment.
New CSA in Benicia!
Eatwell Farm plans to distribute their CSA boxes in Benicia.
Sustainable Solano Celebrates Our Beginnings At ‘Our Benicia Roots & Soil’
Sustainable Solano’s celebration of 20 years started with this breakfast recognition in Benicia, where we first set down roots.
Next Economy: Making Sense of Our Banking System
This discussion shared insights into why the current financial system is going the way it is and how we might begin to alter that course.
Garden Tour: Join Us For a Demonstration Food Forest Tour and Talk!
Join us April 27 to tour 10 demonstration food forest gardens in Benicia and Vallejo.
Sustainable Solano Seeks Lead Landscape Designer
As Kathleen plans to move back to Oklahoma, we are seeking someone who understands permaculture and uses its principles in food forest garden design to step into that role.
Interested in Sustainable Landscaping and Community-Building? Tell Us!
We’ve created a quick and easy form for Solano County residents to let us know how they want to get involved and help us identify where programs and projects are needed.
Systems Change & the Next Economy: Cultivating Right Livelihood
The economy can be difficult to understand, yet we all can identify the many problems that we are facing as individuals and as a society in our current system.
Recognizing Our Roots As We Grow: Sustainable Solano Marks 20 Years
Sustainable Solano celebrates 20 years of dedication to promoting ecologically sustainable, economically and socially just communities.
Coming Together to Create a Sustainable Landscape
Check out the video from our food forest installation in Vacaville!
Big Vision: Sustainability Curriculum and Certification Program for Solano High School Students
We envision a comprehensive education and certification/workforce development program for the young members of our communities.
Partner Insight: The Value of Local Food
By Sustainable Solano Courtesy of Terra Firma Farm We wanted to share with you some recent musings from our partners over at Terra Firma Farm in Winters on the recent closing of S.F.-based Munchery and why these startups are not the solution our food system needs. As...
Eco Farm 2019: Looking at the Future of Farming
At the end of January we spent a few intense days at the Eco Farm Conference, which is becoming our annual tradition. Away from the complexity of daily routines and a web of Sustainable Solano activities, we were able to focus exclusively on the emerging local food...
Sustainable Solano is looking for a permanent home!
Dreaming of what our permanent home would look like.
Planting an Urban Forest: Harvesting The Power of Community
“Planting trees can be very rewarding,” Dr. Muick of Solano Community College told her class.
New “Resilient Neighborhoods” Program Launches in 2019!
We can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate our 20th anniversary than with the announcement of a new program
Starting your Backyard Orchard Culture
Tips and resources for planting, pruning, and maintaining your own fruit trees.
Biodynamic Agriculture Symposium Reflection
With the Conference title of “Rediscovering the Heart in Agriculture” it was exciting and reassuring to see attendees from many different parts of the United States and even from other countries.
Monthly Permaculture Talks and Tour in Fairfield
By: Susan Hiland (Daily Republic) [Daily Republic Full Article] Larry Lamoreux came out Saturday to see the sustainable garden at the former Mission Solano shelter. He is a member of the Sustainable Solano board and practices those principles at home in his backyard....
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
The Shalom demonstration food forest installation wrapped up Saturday. This was phase one of a larger goal to create a community garden in Vacaville. The past few weeks have been incredible community events, but the devastation of the fires and shootings weigh heavy...
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE AND STAY WELL THIS WINTER!
By Lyta Hamm, Solano County Herbalist and Wellness Educator With the days growing colder; the winter and cold and flu season is upon us. Practicing good self-care and incorporating herbs and spices in our diet can help keep our health and immunity strong; increasing...
Cultivate Community Food Co-op’s Farm to Table Food Pilot
Between August 13th and September 18th, Cultivate Community Food Coop (CCFC) ran a Farm to Table food pilot to deliver locally grown produce and locally prepared cooked meals to our CCFC owners’ homes in the Benicia/Vallejo area. The effort was a partnership between...
China’s New Recycling Policy Impacts Waste Management Systems Across U.S.
Last year, the Chinese government tightened its restrictions on recyclable trash exported by the U.S. China has historically imported 45% of the world's plastic and paper waste since 1992 with contamination rates as high as 5% per bale. Now, China only accepts bales...
Permaculture Convergence 2018
By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager Permaculture enthusiasts from all over the country and beyond gathered at the Solar Living Institute to attend three days of workshops, keynote speakers, panels, skill shares, ceremonies and so much more. ...
The Narratives of Permaculture
By: Gabriela Estrada, Project Coordinator for Sustainable Solano As a new member of Sustainable Solano, I have had the pleasure of interacting with different members that play key roles in advancing a message of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. While the...
Solano Local Food System Update: Advisory Board Meeting 3
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Local Food Program Manager Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Advisory Board had their third meeting on September 18, 2018. This group was formed to support Sustainable Solano’s Local Food initiative, launched in October 2017, with the...
Creating Community Through Edible Landscapes in Vacaville
Since the launch of its Sustainable Backyard program in 2014, Sustainable Solano has created 15 food-producing, self-sustaining demonstration “food forest” gardens across Solano County on both public and private land. These gardens are primarily irrigated by secondary...
Regenerate Culture: from the Women of Abundance Gathering
By Marlen Otten, Board Secretary, Sustainable Solano A new movement is emerging throughout the Bay Area where women are connecting to collaborate and embrace their visions for a sustainable and regenerative future for all. Conversations arise about the concepts of...
Resilient Neighborhoods. Stronger Communities: A Vision For the Future
Richard Fisher, of the Vallejo for the Future Commission, reflects on the state of the world and talks about our shared vision for our Resilient Neighborhoods project we plan to pilot in Vallejo next year. Understanding Biomimicry Biomimicry, as Richard describes it,...
Solano Land Trust is Interested in What You Think About the Lands of Solano County!
Solano Land Trust (SLT) is interested in your thoughts about the landscape that comprises the county. SLT is just over 30 years old and wants to hear from you to inform their work going forward to meet your needs and desires for Solano County’s future. This short,...
The Seasonal Food Guide: Your Farmers’ Market Cheat Sheet
We’ve all heard at least some of the benefits of eating local: fresher produce, better for the environment, contributes to a stronger local economy. Shopping your local farmers' market is a great way to support your local farmers and eat seasonally. But before you...
Urgent message from the leaders of 11 indigenous nations in Ecuador
[Read SF Chronicle full article here] "The accelerated destruction of the sacred headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru alone will disrupt the entire Earth’s distribution of rain." As leaders of the Sapara people, part of the confederation of 11 indigenous...
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Local Food Project Manager I once came across a birthday or anniversary card that said something like this: “I love it when you whisper those 3 little words in my ear…..Let’s Eat Out!” It’s true. Making dinner has become something we...
Solano Spotlight: Soul Food Farm
By: Marcella Licea In the late 1990s, owners Alexis and Eric Koefoed bought 55 acres of prime pasture and farmland off Pleasants Valley Road in Vacaville, a historically agricultural area. The land had been untended for 30 years. Their vision at the beginning was...
Meeting Solano Farmers
By Elena Karoulina, Executive Director We continue working on our big vision for the environmentally and economically sustainable and socially just local food system in our county. As a part of our Community Food Center project, funded by USDA, we are finalizing the...
The Food is Coming: Cultivate Community Food Co-op Launches New Farm-to-Table Delivery Pilot
As part of a large, multi-stake Solano Local Food system project, Cultivate Community Food Co-op, in cooperation with other county organizations, will be working on a pilot project through September 21st with local farmers and chefs to offer participating co-op owners...
Restoring Our Local Water Cycle Using Permaculture: Lydia Neilsen Launches Vacaville Expansion with Inspiring Talk
When it comes to the changing the environment and global climate change, the cause of the problem — humans — can also be the key to the solution. That was the hopeful message permaculture expert Lydia Neilsen brought to a crowd of listeners on a warm August Saturday...
New Restoration Project in Vallejo!
The Vallejo Watershed Alliance welcomes Chris Rose from the Solano Resource Conservation District (RCD) to help lead its next restoration project in Vallejo. Since their last successful partnership to restore habitat in the Blue Rock Springs Creek Corridor, the RCD...
The Buzz on Clay’s Bees
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan Over the past month, I (and others on the Local Food team) have been visiting farmers, ranchers and food producers in Solano County to get a more concrete picture of the current local food supply. Clay Ford of Pleasants Valley Honey...
Sustainable Solano in Vacaville!
[Click here for full Daily Republic article] Sustainable Solano is a grassroots, county-wide movement uniting people and their initiatives aiming to serve the future of Solano County, to promote ecologically sustainable, economically and socially just communities. The...
Fun Facts About Soil For Children and Adults!
It's no secret that kids and soil go hand in hand. Kids definitely know where to find it and love to dig in it. While they might find playing in it fun, they may be surprised to learn that soil is the basis for all growing things including the food they...
Solano Local Food Spotlight: The Cloverleaf Farm
The Cloverleaf Farm is a 10-acre, certified organic orchard and farm in Dixon bursting with juicy peaches, nectarines, apricots and figs. Emma Torbert and Katie Fyhrie lease the orchard from The Collins Farm and co-manage the Collins Community Farmstand. For the 2018...
Remaking and Repairing CA Food Systems
The Berkeley Food Institute launches its newest project, 'Hungry for Change,' a collection of compelling profiles showcasing the work of 20 emerging food system leaders across California who are advancing equity, health, and sustainability in food systems. These 20...
Solano County Farm-to-Table Spotlight: BackDoor Bistro and Wine Bar
Sustainable Solano envisions an environmentally, economically sustainable and equitable local food system for residents across Solano County. In addition to stronger relationships with our farmers through Community Supported Agriculture, supporting local sustainable...
Sustainable Solano offers healthy cooking workshops around the county that share ways to cook with fresh, seasonal produce. One of those programs is "What's For Dinner?"— healthy cooking workshops aiming to educate the community on healthy, nutritious food choices...
The Power of YOUR Voice: June 15th Deadline to Apply to Serve on the Vallejo Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members recommend to the City Council how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. Developed first in...
From Airman to Daisies: Suisun Wildlife Center Pollinator Project Draws in Community
By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Backyard Program Manager The work at Suisun Wildlife Center was the most interesting and busiest installation yet! As we were learning, working, and getting to know each other, the raptors and a one-eyed coyote were watching us. ...
The Search for a Business Model – Three Stone Hearth, Co-ops and Holacracy
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan As many of you know, Sustainable Solano has been working on a USDA Local Food Promotion Program planning grant, for what we’ve been calling “Community Food Centers”. We are in Phase 2 of the project, which includes exploring successful,...
A VAST ECOLOGICAL PARK PROPOSED ALONG HWY 37
The Common Ground Team led by TLS Landscape Architecture has presented the “Grand Bayway” vision at the Resilient by Design Challenge in San Francisco, May 17th. The proposal looks at a resilient future for flood threatened and congested State Route 37 connecting the...
More Community Screenings of ‘A Quest for Meaning’ Coming to Solano County!
Last month in Vacaville, we offered a special screening of 'A Quest for Meaning', an inspiring film that connects personal growth and social change, and attempts to uncover the causes of the current world crisis to discover ways to bring about change. Attendees went...
Sustainable Solano Receives Funding For Local Urban Forestry Project
Last December, we expanded our mission to promote environmental, economic, and socially just communities by partnering with Mission Solano, a local Fairfield homeless shelter, to install a demonstration food forest garden. We are pleased to announce that Sustainable...
Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms, Healthy People
by: Elena Karoulina, Executive Director Our local food system team continues to learn about sustainable local food systems and is moving into the second stage of the Solano small farms feasibility study: interviews with local farmers. In the next two months, team...
Pollinator Food Forest Garden Coming to Suisun Wildlife Center
Sustainable Solano’s Sustainable Backyard program expanded to Suisun City earlier this spring and is now celebrating the completion of a public demonstration food forest garden at a private Suisun residence. The program offers informative workshops and inspiring talks...
365 Days of Care!
By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Backyard Program Manager I am finding many Solano County treasures as our Sustainable Backyard Program expands. Suisun Wildlife Center is one of the jewels. Last weekend I learned first-hand the many incredible ways that this...
The Heritage Pantry in Dixon is OPEN!
By: Stephanie Oelsligle-Jordan, Local Food Project Manager As I pulled into the parking lot, I wondered if I was in the right place. Several tents were set up, people were bustling around, and a guy was grilling chicken on a huge BBQ. It looked more like a small...
Reclaiming the Food and Farm as a Commons Conversation with Neil Thapar
By: Elena Karoulina, Executive Director On a sunny Saturday morning, a group of local community members gathered at Morningsun Farm in Vacaville to have a conversation with a Food and Farm Attorney Neil Thapar from the Sustainable Economies Law Center. In the...
“A Growing Future” in Suisun City
One private yard in Suisun City has been selected for the installation of a demonstration food forest garden as part of Sustainable Solano’s Sustainable Backyard program offering informative workshops and inspiring talks on sustainable landscape design, community...
Warming Water and What Can be Done
On March 21st, The League of Women Voters hosted a panel discussion on climate change, rising sea level, water shortages and increased water cost in Benicia. The panel consisted of three key Solano County residents. Jerry Potter, a Nasa Climate Scientist, spoke about...
“Greyhawk Grove” Demonstration Food Forest: Third Year Anniversary Reflections
In 2015, Benicia residents, Rob and Nam, submitted an application to have their yard transformed into a demonstration food forest garden, fed by secondary water (laundry-to-landcape greywater system & roofwater). This edible ecosystem would serve as a...
By Elena Karoulina, Executive Director It’s a crisp, breezy morning in March, and I am walking the fields of the Eatwell Farm with the farm manager, Cameron Ottens. It’s a fascinating place – I fell under its spell from the first minutes I saw the earth-sheltered...
USDA Project Update – Phase 2 Summary
By Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Local Food Project Manager Sustainable Solano is nearing completion of Phase 1 of its “Solano Community Food Centers” project, funded by a USDA Local Food Promotion Program planning grant. The Food Centers are intended to be...
Sustainable Solano moves forward with plans for a healthier county
by: Kimberly K. Fu [Click here for The Reporter full article link] Sustainable Solano is all about getting locally-grown food to local people. Thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the nonprofit can move forward with the project....
The San Pablo Baylands and SR 37 are Subject of Design Study
[Common Grounds in the Baylands] [Public Outreach at SF Bay Flyway Festival on Mare Island] Team Common Ground, a group of designers, engineers, scientists, and educators is working on a design study of the San Pablo Baylands and highway 37...
Lockewood Acres Farm
by: Elena Karoulina, Executive Director A couple weeks ago I had a great visit with Denise and Ben Lyons at their Lockewood Acres Farm in Vacaville. As a part of our work on the Solano Local Food System, I am getting to know local small farmers who are doing...
How Does the Medfly Quarantine Affect Home Gardeners?
In case you haven’t heard, Solano County is the latest area to establish a quarantine for the Mediterranean fruit fly also known as the Medfly. The quarantine started last fall and will continue until officials are sure the threat to the local orchards and...
Roof Water Harvesting
By Erik Olsen Today we are talking about catching the abundance raining down from the sky! Where I live we get 3 to 4 months of rain per year and a long 8-9-month dry spell. During the dry time of year water becomes scarce and here in California drought has...
Sustainable Solano seeks ‘food forest’ applicants in Suisun
By Ian Thompson SUISUN CITY — If you live in Suisun City and want to turn your yard into a thriving, edible ecosystem, Sustainable Solano would like to hear from you. The grassroots local nonprofit that started in Benicia is expanding its work to Suisun City and is...
Sustainable Business News: The Juice House Co. Improving Health Through The Power of Food Energy
"The Juice House Co. Improving Health Through The Power of Food Energy" By: Tiana Duvauchelle, Owner The Juice House Co. believes in the pursuit of positively impacting lives through the power of food energy. Together as a community, we unite as healthy beings...
Deepening our “Sense of Place”- Eco Farm Conference Relfections
by Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Sustainable Solano, Local Food System Manager This was my first EcoFarm conference. When initially sifting through the options for lectures and discussions about a month ago, I noticed the obvious: “how-to” workshops on various...
Sow Good! Reflections from the Eco Farm Conference
By Elena Karoulina, Executive Director, Sustainable Solano At the end of January, I was honored to attend the 38th Eco Farm Conference at Asilomar Conference Grounds. It’s an annual convergence of farmers, supporting people and organizations dedicated to “ecological...
Denise Rushing Speaks in Suisun City
Sustainable Solano is expanding its Sustainable Backyard and Conversations programs into Suisun City bringing informative workshops on sustainable landscaping and inspiring talks on topics such as global sustainability, community resilience, permaculture, local food...
Solano Volunteer Portal Creating Real Local Change
Looking to help make an impact for a cause that matters to you in your community? The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) has created an interactive Volunteer Portal where nonprofits and individuals can easily create a free online profile to match...
Drops in a Barrel: Vallejo Residents Learn About Rainwater Harvesting
Sustainable Solano hosted its first rainwater barrel collection workshop, sponsored by the Solano County Water Agency, this month with a successful turnout of Vallejo residents interested in harvesting every drop possible during the rainy season. The workshop offered...
Permaculture Design Coarse (Santa Cruz Permaculture)
What is Permaculture & Whole Systems Design? Permaculture is an ethically based whole-systems design approach that uses concepts, principles, and methods derived from ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and other time-tested systems to create human settlements and...
A Peaceful World Conversation: Connecting with the Earth From Urban Gardening to Rural Farming
As part of the Peaceful World Foundation’s attempt to bring meaningful, inspiring conversations about topics that matter to the people, Peaceful World Conversations breakfast conversation sessions provide a unique communication style platform. These engaging...
Attention Benicia Community Garden members!
Our website for Benicia Community Gardens has officially been retired and information has been transferred to our main Sustainabe Solano webpage. Click here to bookmark this page now. If you have any garden or orchard related questions or inquiries, please use our new...
Mission Solano Unveils Sustainable Garden
By Kimberly K. Fu, email@example.com, @ReporterKimFu on Twitter [The Reporter full article link] A long stretch of edible nature was unveiled Thursday at Mission Solano, thanks to community partnerships including Sustainable Solano. The new sustainable garden,...
Mission Solano Demonstration Food Forest Official Opening!
Sustainable Solano celebrates the official opening of its first public demonstration food forest garden in Fairfield at Mission Solano on Thursday, December 21st. The birth of this food-producing community garden was developed after Mission Solano’s Chief...
Holiday Waste Management Solutions for Solano County
Did you know that during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, household waste increases by 25 percent, adding an additional one million tons of waste per week during this season? And what should you really do with your Christmas tree? When the time comes to face holiday...
#GivingTuesday Success, Thanks to You
What a beautiful reminder of the heart, generosity and support that we have in our community! Because of your generous donations through this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, we are re-energized in knowing that our vision for a more sustainable Solano county is backed...
Thanks to our wonderful CSA Volunteers!
Starting this past October, Veronica Bearce, Susan Neuhaus, and Annette Batchelor have been managing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Benicia. If you pick up farm-fresh food on Wednesdays at Heritage Presbyterian Church, say THANK YOU to these...
Permaculture and Community: A 13-Year-Old’s Perspective
By Rileigh Barton Hi, I’m Rileigh, and I’m 13 years old. I volunteer for Sustainable Solano with my dad. I’ve gone to two Sustainable Landscaping classes so far at a food forest in Fairfield called “Mom’s Delight.” But first, I’ll tell you a little about me, and how I...
Fairfield Demonstration Food Forest Installations In Progress
Our Sustainable Backyard program has begun digging into Fairfield! On November 4th, attendees of the first installation workshop at "Mom's Delight" demonstration food forest site learned basic design principles for building a backyard permaculture food forest and...
Two Demonstration Gardens Coming to Fairfield!
Sustainable Solano will be installing two demonstration food forest gardens in Fairfield at a private residence and one public location as part of its Sustainable Backyard program. The program aims to teach gardening techniques based on permaculture design principles...
Contest Challenges Kids to Imagine a Day Without Water
Solano County middle and high school students and their teachers are being asked to “Imagine a Day Without Water”- this year’s theme for the 2018 Water Awareness Video Contest, sponsored by the Solano County Water Agency and local water utilities. Participating...
The Future of Food: A Community Conversation in Benicia
By Stephanie Oeslgigie Jordan, Project Manager, Chef Can a community decide how it will access food for its members? Is there democratic participation in our food system? What mindsets frame the future of our local food systems? These...
USDA Local Food Project Update
By Stephanie Oesligie Jordan, Project Manager, Chef On October 25, Sustainable Solano kicked off it’s “Solano Community Food Centers” planning grant – funded by USDA -with an Advisory Board meeting in Benicia, CA. Attending the meeting were an enthusiastic...
By Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Manager It seems like everyone I speak with is facing a fire of some sort in their life. This Sunday I needed a moment of peace in nature to prepare for the week ahead. I took a drive on Highway 12 by myself. There are no...
What’s For Dinner? Preserving the Fall Harvest
Preserving for the Hall Harvest with Chef Lisa Fall warms up our landscapes and kitchens welcoming warmer flavors and seasonal culinary traditions. Humans have been preserving, fermenting and salting food for centuries and at our September “What’s For Dinner?”...
Cultivate Community Food Cooperative, Inc. (CCFC)
By Cultivate Community Food Cooperative The experts say it will take a startup food co-op about 3-5 yrs. to open a food co-op grocery store. Well if that is true, then Cultivate Community Food Co-op is right on course. After 18 months of Stage I development -...
A Victory for Our Bees!
This fall brings in a huge victory for California bees and our local environment! A few years ago, a group of Environmental Justice lawyers representing a coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit asking the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to...
Solano County Local Food
As we move forward with our greater vision for our Local Food Movement Initiative, we aim to better connect area farmers to the people of Solano County. Eating locally and supporting our local food growers strengthens our regional food system by building...
Suisun Valley Elementary Kids to Develop Their Own Food Forest
Kathleen, Larry and Elena taught a hands-on swale workshop to the Suisun Valley eighth graders in the spring of 2017 on how to use swales in storing rainwater in the ground. Now that the kids are back in school, designing the Demonstration Food Forest is the...
Our vision for Solano Community Food Centers is funded by USDA
Food, environment and human health, local economy and resilient communities By Elena Karoulina Executive Director of Sustainable Solano When was the last time you had Solano-grown produce on your dinner table? The most possible answer is ‘never’, unless you grow your...
Inspiring David Shaw Talk Launches Sustainable Backyard Program in Fairfield!
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,...
Congratulations to the Cultivate Community Food Co-Op Team for a major milestone – INCORPORATION!
Big news! Cultivate Community Food Cooperative, Inc. celebrates becoming an official business entity in the State of California! Cultivate Community Food Co-op (CCFC) is working to establish Solano County’s first community-owned, natural grocery store- a one-stop,...
Sustainability Through Permaculture in Solano County
By Tina Saravia, U.C. Master Gardener, Solano County It all started for me in September 2014, when I attended a talk on Permaculture in Benicia with another Master Gardener friend. I have heard of Permaculture for years, but it always seemed like a foreign concept to...
Sustainable Backyard Program Expands Into Fairfield!
This August, Sustainable Solano celebrates the expansion of its Sustainable Backyard Program bringing inspirational speakers and free educational workshops and classes to Fairfield. The program will offer Fairfield homeowners passionate about sustainability and...
Community Supported Agriculture: Supporting Your Local Economy and Food Growers
Nothing compares to biting into a fresh-off-the-vine summer tomato or enjoying a slice of pie made with apples right from the tree. There is no debate that fresh-picked produce is superior in taste compared to the chain supermarket equals that are on display under...
What’s for Dinner? Vallejo Attendees Learn About “Bright and Light” Summer Recipes
We had a full house on July 29th at John. F. Kennedy Library with over 20 people attending to hear Chef Lisa Núñez-Hancock teach about how to make classic pesto, other variations of the sauce, and how to use various types of squash as a healthy alternative for pasta....
Locals Turn Their “Waste” into “Want” at our Home Composting Workshop
Attendees of our June home composting workshop learned great tips on how to turn yard trimmings and kitchen scraps into rich, healthy soil for their gardens using simple composting methods, including the use of earthworms. The class gathered at one of the beautiful...
Solano County Water Sources
Water nourishes our landscapes, keeps us hydrated and powers our wind turbines but have you ever wondered where our local water comes from when you turn on your faucet? Our state's water storage and delivery systems are actually quite complex. Its system of...
Wise Water: An Informative Video from Sustainable Solano
For the past two years we've been working on our Demonstration Food Forests, with a major component of it being Wise Water use. Now, with the help of Constance Beutel, videographer extraordinaire, we wanted to share with everyone how very simple and replicable it is....
What’s For Dinner? Vallejo
Eating healthier and incorporating more fresh vegetables and fruits into our meals is the theme of the new series of healthy cooking workshops hosted by the John F. Kennedy library in partnership with Sustainable Solano and UR what U eat. The first of these seasonal...
Suisun Valley 7th Graders Slow it, Spread it, and Sink it
Suisun Valley Elementary School is located in the heart of a Suisun City, an agricultural community just south of Fairfield. Fittingly, it's an Agri-Science school focused on the environmental stewardship and health of the community. Sustainable Solano is helping the...
Swale Tales: An experience of the Vallejo Installations and 7 Food Forest Tour
By Allison Nagel Sometimes the hardest thing about finding something new is wrapping your brain around how to approach it. When it comes to permaculture and sustainable gardening, no online resource can replace seeing, walking through, discussing and getting...
R.O.O.T.S. Permaculture Training Course
Our Walk in a Food Forest Series is over for this year, but are you still wanting to learn more about permaculture and sustainability? Soul Flower Farm, just a quick hop across the bay in El Sobrante, has a permaculture design course that you might be interested in....
Day 1: Vallejo Food Forest Educational Workshops
By Allison Nagel On Saturday, about 15 volunteers arrived at the Enchanted Cottage Garden for the first day of transforming the Vallejo home's front yard into a food forest. Eight cubic yards of mulch, a stack of cardboard and a nondescript patch of grass in...
Curious about our Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Sites?
Learn about the plots, the schedules for the days, the families involved, and dive in to our community installation event! The future Vallejo Demonstration Food Forests The Enchanted Cottage Garden is a water-sucking, plain lawn that wants to become so much more for...
Sustainable Solano Creating Wise Water Documentary
Over the weekend, Sustainable Solano, with our wonderful Constance Beutel as camera-woman and director, shot scenes for a Water-Wise documentary video. The video was shot at Birds, Bees & Beyond, one of the Demonstration Food Forests, with commentary from...
What’s For Dinner? Workshop and Bookclub coming to Vallejo!
Sustainable Solano, The Vallejo Public Library and U R what U eat have partnered to bring the community a continuation of the What's For Dinner? cooking and educational series (now in its 5th year). This year's series features healthy cooking classes and conscious...
What can be taught in a garden?
What can be taught in a garden? Suisun Valley Elementary School is already teaching and gardening, sharing a curriculum developed through the Edible Schoolyard Project, whose mission is building and sharing an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high...
L2L greywater workshop at Benicia’s Mayor Elizabeth Patterson house
On Sunday, April 2, as a part of the Benicia Sustainable Backyard program, about ten people gathered at a Benicia house for the final (for now) 2017 laundry-to-landscape hands-on greywater installation workshop. The host for the day was Mayor of Benicia Elizabeth...
Announcing not one, but two, private food forest installations in Vallejo!!
Often times you find the solution within the problem. We couldn’t find one yard to fit all our educational needs of the demonstration food forest. So with the creative use of our limited funds we will be installing two! The Enchanted Cottage Garden is the perfect...
Community Food Center dinner with Heritage Presbyterian
Over the year, a special partnership has been growing between Sustainable Solano and Heritage Presbyterian Church, for the sake of creating a Community Food Center in Benicia, a dream that’s been taking shape with inspiration from Sustainable Solano’s Exec Director,...
Upcoming Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Installations
Each day includes a talk from a Permaculture Designer and hands-on practice building a food forest. The workshops are FREE. Lunch is provided by the homeowners. Learn while helping your community! See a site-specific permaculture design manifest into reality. April...
Q&A with Anna Larsen of Siren Fish Co.
Our Seasonal Cooking Seafood Class is Wednesday, March 8 and we're cooking through our CSF partner's weekly seafood box, so we did a little Q&A with Anna Larsen of Siren Fish Co. Why CSF? Community supported fisheries reduce food miles, educate the...
Benicia Community Gardens Annual Meeting 2017
Benicia Community Gardens Annual Meeting on February 18, 2017 After a brief welcome by Marilyn Bardet, Board President, our executive director, Elena Karoulina, explained that the Benicia Community Gardens and Orchard are now part of Sustainable Solano. In the past...
“Greyhawk Grove” Food Forest Tour — Stop #5
It was a cool and sunny day for the Greyhawk Grove Tour, and perhaps it was that, or that our tour is gathering steam, that nearly 30 people squeezed into a room to listen to Lydia Neilsen from the Regenerative Design Institute. She started with a brief...
Gamechanger Intensive — An Experience
By Nicole Newell Did you attend the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium in December? I did, and it woke me up. I was ready to see what was next, and signed up for the Pachamama Alliance’s 8 week Gamechanger Intensive program. The Gamechanger Intensive is an...
Sustainable Solano Vallejo Volunteer Training Potluck
Do you want to learn how to get involved with Sustainable Solano’s Sustainable Landscaping program? This series of events is designed to prepare a group of volunteers to help implement Vallejo Sustainable Backyard program. If you are interested to become a part...
International Trade and the Local Economy
By Roman Johnson Resilience.org is a publication that focuses on creating platforms to stimulate conscious conversations about community building strategies. The Sustainable Solano Communications Committee recently stumbled across an article regarding trade policies...
Pruning Workshop Recap
By Jason Lingnau of Intuitive Design The pruning workshop on Saturday was informative and timely. The winter pruning season is upon us and my wife and I have some work to do but have been hesitant to “make the cut”. The speaker , Ann Ralph had such a wonderful...
Sustainable Landscaping for Your House classes
By Kathleen Huffman of The Repurposed Oakie On Thursday, February 2, the Benicia Community Center provided a warm respite from the winter drizzle for curious gardeners getting ready for spring. Inside several ecologically minded citizens from all over Solano...
LOOKING FOR: A Vallejo home to install a demonstration food forest!
Do you own your home in Vallejo? Are you interested in living a more sustainable life? We are inviting you to consider becoming a demonstration food forest keeper! With the help of the community, we’ll convert your lawn, if applicable, and install a permaculture food...
What is sustainable? A UN Perspective
As Sustainable Solano continues our work throughout the county, the question we often get is “What does sustainable mean?” We continue our exploration into our mission, our focus, and what it means to be sustainable with our third installation of the conversation: a...
Maggie Ingalls on Ann Ralph of “Grow a Little Fruit Tree”
When we asked Community Orchard Program Manager Maggie Ingalls why she invited Ann Ralph to speak to Orchard members, she said, "I took Ann’s workshop on backyard fruit tree pruning soon after we had planted several fruit trees in our new yard here in Benicia. I wish...
“Barley’s Backyard” Food Forest Tour — Stop #4
David Shaw of Santa Cruz Permaculture's talk and tour turned into an extended one when the official event ended. Due to enthusiasm the talk portion ran long and the tour ran out of time. Attendees still had many questions, so David graciously agreed to...
Continue the Conversation: Awakening the Dreamer
Sustainable Solano would like to share a video that a friend, Kristian, made! It certainly highlights the most meaningful moments and makes us reflect on how moving of an experience this was for us.
Farewell to Toby Hemenway
“Permaculture gives us a toolkit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance.” Toby Hemenway April 23, 1952 – December 20, 2016 December brought a sad news: Toby Hemenway, permaculture activist, the author of Gaia’s Garden and...
Sustainable Landscaping for Your Backyard Classes
Sustainable Solano presents 2017 sustainable landscaping classes for general public in Vallejo and Benicia Community Centers. SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING FOR YOUR HOUSE Adults and teens Winter is a good time to start dreaming and planning about our garden renewal. This...
Announcement: Looking for Demonstration Food Forest Keepers in Fairfield and Vallejo
Would you like to become a demonstration food forest keeper? Would you like to convert your thirsty lawn into a thriving food-producing ecosystem fed by the laundry-to-landscape greywater system? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge and resources with your...
Interested in getting a Laundry-to-Landscape system installed?
Sustainable Solano is looking for Benicia homes to host public Laundry to Landscape workshops (and install simple “laundry-to-landscape” greywater systems in, as part of our continuing Benicia Sustainable Backyard Program funded by the Community Sustainability...
Awakening the Dreamer: an experience
by Nam Nguyen In the middle of the milling exercise, I stopped, as requested, and observed, without speaking, the woman in front of me. She was middle-aged, with black-rimmed glasses, and a smile that appeared hesitantly, disappeared, and then came again, wider this...
Sustainable Landscaping program in Fairfield and Vallejo
Thanks to the Solano County Water Agency, we are able to expand our Benicia Sustainable Backyard Program to the cities of Fairfield and Vallejo in 2017. The program is designed to support regenerative landscaping in Solano County in conjunction with the changing...
Awakening the Dreamer, continued: Game Changer Intensive
Join us in co-creating a world that works for everyone. Whether you were with us for the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, or you want to learn more about how you, with your own unique values, skills, and concerns, can commit to creating the change you want to see, a...
Benicia Walk in a Food Forest Series Continues
We are pleased to announce the speakers for the remaining tours in 2017! All tours begin at 10 am on Saturdays and usually last about 2.5 hours. Each tour includes an indoor talk about permaculture /urban food forests, secondary water and water saving techniques, and...
Community Food Center Update
By Stephanie Oelsligle Sustainable Solano is working on a new vision – a Community Food Center! One main goal of the Center is to build a community-supported collective of local food entrepreneurs, who use locally-sourced ingredients to cook healthy, affordable and...
2017 Preview from Executive Director Elena Karoulina
Dear friends of Sustainable Solano, As I am looking back at the eventful and transformative year of 2016, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all people who helped co-create Sustainable Solano: the Board, our volunteer leadership team, our funders and...
2016 Message From the Chair of the Board, Marilyn Bardet
In the midst of this holiday season, despite fears and worries surrounding the unprecedented national election, I more than ever want to honor and celebrate what all of you have actually achieved this past year. Together, we've demonstrated how vital hopes for a...
A Walk in a Food Forest – “Birds, Bees & Beyond”
A cool, drizzly morning couldn't stop the over two dozen people who gathered in a cozy group at the site of Sustainable Solano's oldest demonstration food forests, "Birds, Bees and Beyond." A Walk in a Food Forest's third stop was hosted by Heather and Frank and their...
“A Walk in a Food Forest” – The Living and Learning Garden
Over a dozen people, from San Francisco, the South Bay, East Bay, as well as those within Solano County converged at The Living and Learning Garden this past Saturday to see the progress this food forest had made since it's installation nearly six months ago in April...
Sustainable Solano at SEEDS premiere and panel talk
Over 150 people gathered at the Empress Theater in Vallejo to watch the premiere of the documentary “SEED: The Untold Story”. It was an alarming and moving account of seeds, its story and its modern fate to become a commodity just like anything else these days –...
Save the Date: Awakening the Dreamer Symposium
Save the Date: Awakening the Dreamer Symposium Comes to Solano County Are you ready for a deeply transformative experience? On December 3rd, 2016 from 10am-2pm, the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium comes to Solano County at Solano County Events Center in Fairfield,...
Sustainable Solano Land Caretakers Training/Internship Program 2016-2017
We are please to announce that the enrollment to our second training class is now open! Sustainable Solano, in partnership with Solano County Small Business Development Center, is taking initiative to provide intensive training and to expand employment...
Sustainability: Continue the Conversation
By Roman Johnson As you know, Benicia Community Gardens has become Sustainable Solano, to better reflect what we do. In our efforts to open the conversation, we asked you to participate in what we have been calling The Sustainability Thought...
Walk in a Food Forest
Have you ever been to an urban food forest? Did you help us establish one (or a few) of the seven Benicia demonstration food forests? Did you attend one of the public laundry-to-landscape greywater system workshops? We are inviting you to see our budding...
A Blueprint for a Better World
By Rob Rogers Every Thursday night from April through October, those in search of a healthier meal or a greener lifestyle have prowled the booths and stalls of Benicia’s Farmer’s Market, home to everything from organic dinosaur kale and farmstead cheeses to solar...
Land Caretakers: Reflections and Renewal
By Kathleen Huffman, LCT Graduate When I was asked to write a short piece about the "Land Caretakers" program, at first I was at a loss as to what to write about. So much has happened in the course of my time with the program that to try and get it all into one...
By Ken Williams, Solano Grown Board Treasurer Benicia Community Gardens is delighted to spread the word about Solano Grown, a local, Solano-only Farmer's Market--online and all year round. Solano Grown is a volunteer operated non-profit organization. Their goal is to...