By Sustainable Solano

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Muncy, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron crew chief, puts out burning embers near a residence on Gibson Canyon Road in Vacaville, California, Aug. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicholas Pilch)

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, farm structures and crops to the devastation.

Through the Bounty of the County: Stronger Together fundraising, special fundraising packages from local wineries and generous donations from more than 160 individual donors, Sustainable Solano has collected more than $10,000 that we now plan to distribute to help with the immediate needs of those farmers. Working closely with the Solano-based farming community, we looked at where the most need is and where we could make the most impact with your donations.

Toward that end, we identified these farms, ranches, wineries and agritourism businesses in need of support:

But those donations have inspired something more than a one-time distribution. Some of our farmers told us they wanted the donations for more immediate needs to go to those farms that needed them more, but they are examining how to rebuild and their long-term needs are great. We are pleased to say that we can offer that support as well. Alongside the Bounty of the County fundraising effort, Sustainable Solano was awarded disaster relief funding from the Solano Community Foundation that will help us look at the next stage of recovery for our Solano County farms, including those that have received your donations and others that are rebuilding for the future. We will continue to work with our local farmers to help coordinate with farms hurt by the fires for project-based funding that best addresses their mid-term needs. Find out more about how SCF supports our work here.

And beyond that stage? We want to help our local farms prepare for the future, and a big part of that is supporting resilient, regenerative ways of farming that are healthier for the planet, the farmers, and for those of us eating the food grown in this manner. Some of our local farmers use regenerative approaches in their operations, including low-till methods, building soil health without the use of artificial fertilizers and using integrated pest management as opposed to pesticides. We want to further support these efforts, so with the long-term resiliency of our farms in view, we hope to seek further funding that can help local farmers engage in recovery in a more regenerative way.

Do you wish to continue to support these efforts? You can still donate directly to help with fire relief or the next stage of recovery and rebuilding. To do so, either send a check to Sustainable Solano, P.O. Box 1215, Benicia CA 94510, or donate through our PayPal link. To make sure your donation goes to wildfire relief for farms, please note that the donation is for “Fire Relief.” You can also continue to purchase fire relief fundraiser packages from participating wineries that have extended their offers to continue to raise funds.

We look forward to sharing with you how our Solano County farmers are recovering and rebuilding – and how they are moving to more regenerative approaches through your generous support.