October 2019 Newsletter

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"When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people."
- Chinese proverb
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Sustainable Solano - October 2019

Students at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo work with instructor Brennan Bird to create a cob bench as part of this year's curriculum program.

What's Growing 2019?

We are excited about the programs we are bringing to local schools this year. This month, students at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo will be tackling the topics of permaculture and water harvesting in class while creating a permaculture food forest as part of the school's new outdoor amphitheater space.

In Benicia, we are launching our Land and Water Caretakers training and internship program at Liberty High School, bringing in speakers on sustainability, visiting local food forest gardens and drumming up interest among students in pursuing the hands-on internship program. Participating students will have a chance to help shape a Resilient Neighborhood in Benicia while they build skills and knowledge for careers or college. We are also working to start a Land and Water Caretakers Certification program as a course offering through Solano Adult Education.

Even as we move forward in schools, we continue our work throughout the county. This month, we'll have community workshops as we install Rio Vista's first demonstration food forest and an opportunity to meet with local food stakeholders and policymakers in intensive listening sessions with the Solano Local Food System Alliance.

Upcoming Events


Thursday, October 3

Avant Garden Harvest Celebration
5-7:30 pm, Avant Garden, corner of First and D streets, Benicia


This annual potluck gathering is open to garden and community members. We will provide plates, utensils and napkins. Bring chairs, a dish to share, drinks and your non-plastic cups. Please considering volunteering to help with this event – the time spent can count toward your garden volunteer hours. Register here.

Saturdays, October 5, 12 and 18

Rio Vista Demonstration Food Forest Installation
10 am-4 pm, Register for Location, Rio Vista


This public, hands-on installation workshop series will create "Fortune's Garden", a demonstration food forest garden in Rio Vista. This yard will show what can be created with an empty yard in a new development to use water wisely while creating an ecosystem. Lunch will be provided by the homeowner at each workshop. Please bring hats, gloves, reusable water bottle and sunblock. Click on the links below to register:


Wednesday, October 16

Singing 'Benicia Our Home'
10:30-11:30 am, Benicia City Hall, 250 East I St., Benicia

Have you helped to make Sustainable Solano the active organization we are today? We invite our volunteers and partners to join us in this fun project singing about Benicia, the city where Sustainable Solano first set down roots. RSVP to let us know you'll be there at The end result will be a video of community groups singing the song. Brush up on the lyrics here and check out VOENA's rendition of the song here.


Where to Find Us This Month:


October 7, Sacramento

CalEPA Environmental Justice Grantee Workshop

We'll be participating in a panel discussion at this a community-building and networking event for organizations working toward environmental justice. The “Equity in Planning & Infrastructure” panel will discuss building community capacity and strengthening local leadership. You can learn more about our work with the CalEPA grant here.

October 11, Oakland

NorCal Resilience Network Fall Convening

This gathering will focus on dialogue and interactive sessions around supporting community resilience efforts around the region.

October 15, Harbor Bay Isle

Sustainable Landscape Summit

This summit will address firescaping, stormwater management, water-efficient irrigation inspections and a whole-systems approach designing, installing and maintaining landscapes.


October 22, Vacaville

Solano Local Food System Alliance Listening Sessions

Solano Local Food System Alliance members will meet with each other and key community stakeholders and policymakers for intensive listening sessions at a local farm.



Looking for an Urban Forest Arborist

Sustainable Solano is seeking an independent consultant to work as arborist in our Urban Forest program. The arborist would be responsible for performing an urban canopy inventory and assessment in select Solano County neighborhoods for information and better understanding of the trees currently found in those neighborhoods and determine the feasibility of increasing the number of trees. Interested? Learn more here or contact Program Manager Gabriela Estrada at



Help Students Build Skills While Building Your Resilient Community  

By: Allison Nagel, Workforce Development Manager

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.  [Read more...]

Alliance Advances Conversation Around Creating Local Food System
By: Allison Nagel, Communications Manager

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. Though the Alliance is a new entity, its work grows out of the efforts of many Alliance members during the past two years as the Local Food Advisory Board. The mission set before the Alliance is to do the work needed across stakeholders, organizations and agencies to create an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just and equitable local food system in Solano County. [Read more...]


CSA Farm Spotlight: Terra Firma Farm
By: Sustainable Solano 

Terra Firma Farm is a certified-organic farm that has been growing fruits, nuts and vegetables year-round for more than 25 years and supports dozens of employees. The farm has offered a CSA for more than 15 years. [Read more...]


Garden Tools: A Resource for Building Community
By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Program Manager 

One of the things we love to see in the neighborhoods where we have projects and programs are our community partners each contributing their own efforts to strengthen and grow these communities. And when there are ways we can support other 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. [Read more...]


Food is Free Benicia Shares Bounty with Foodstand
By: Heather Pierini, Food Forest Keeper and Food is Free Benicia  

I was graced to grow up seeing that a garden can be a gathering spot for a chat, a connection point for the neighborhood and a bounteous source of food for those who choose to share. [Read more...]


November Preview


November 9, 2 pm, 'What's for Dinner?' Global Curries & Tonics Cooking Workshop (John F. Kennedy Library, 505 Santa Clara St., Vallejo)

The season is turning cooler, and warming meals are in order. Chef Lisa Núñez-Hancock will guide you through recipes for global curries from many cultures and traditions, as well as learning how to create herbal tumeric-based tonics you can make at home. Learn about the medicinal properties and health benefits of turmeric (aka curcumin) and delve into its ancient roots. Samples and recipes will be provided!


Stay Tuned!

We'll be announcing upcoming dates for Solano Sustainable Backyards and Solano Gardens installations as well as for the next Vallejo Resilient Neighborhood! Check our calendar for upcoming workshops.

Partners and Community Member Events


Nature Hike at King-Swett Ranches

October 5, 9 am-1 pm, King-Swett Ranches, 140 Red Top Rd., Fairfield

This regular hike is one of several programs offered by Solano Land Trust this month, including kids' hikes and citizen science and trail crew volunteer opportunities. Find out more here.


Garden Design Intensive Workshop

October 5, 10 am-4 pm, Grow a Pear Nursery, Vallejo

Are you wishing for the garden of your dreams but don’t even know where to start? That’s where Grow a Pear Nursery’s Garden Design Intensive comes in. Discuss site analysis, opportunities and constraints, conceptual diagrams, design development, phasing, budgets, planting schemes along with a lot more as you customize your design. Light refreshments will be available but please bring your own lunch. Space is limited so sign up early.

Permaculture Design Course

October 5-March 8, Santa Cruz Permaculture, Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Permaculture Design Certificate course includes the internationally recognized 72-hour curriculum, augmented by an additional 38-hours of hands on practice and field trips. The course brings in leading designers and teachers from around the region, each experts in different areas of permaculture. Course participants work in teams throughout the six month program to design a holistic permaculture plan for a real-life property in the community.


Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series

October 7 and 28, 5-7 pm, Touro University, Lander Hall Room A-164, 105 Owen Drive, Vallejo (and online)

Our attention to environmental health issues is often the result of emergencies: Zika virus outbreaks; Flint, Michigan's water crisis; Hurricane Katrina. This series of six lectures by nationally recognized leaders in the field help expand our awareness of the ongoing impact of environmental risks on our health through a lens focused on social justice. October lectures are on climate justice and resilience, and environmental justice struggles. Lectures are open to the public and free as well as streamed online.

Fall Native Plant Sale
October 12, 9 am-2 pm, Heritage Presbyterian Church, 1400 East Second St., Benicia
The Willis Linn Jepson Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will hold its fall native plant sale with perennials, shrubs, groundcovers and trees for a drought-tolerant, wildlife-friendly and attractive garden.


Urban Farm Tour
October 12, 10 am-4 pm, various locations, East Bay
This tour of urban farms from the Institute of Urban Homesteading returns after a three-year break to showcase eight farms around the East Bay in Berkeley, Oakland and Albany. From a tidy postage stamp to a sprawling multiuse community space, the sites range from extra small to extra large and represent a diversity of farmers and farming styles, including an urban CSA, a model school garden and two community farms.

Park Solano Tree Planting
October 19, 9 am, Park Solano, Benicia
Benicia Tree Foundation will be hosting this tree-planting project at Park Solano, a 2-acre neighborhood park at the corner of Solano and Hastings drives. Volunteers will plant new trees at the 30-year-old park. Tools and instruction will be provided. Volunteers under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Loma Vista Farm Harvest Festival
October 19, 11 am-4 pm, Loma Vista Farm, 150 Rainier Ave., Vallejo
Find pumpkins for sale, animals, plants to buy, crafts and food all at Loma Vista Farm's Harvest Festival. There are also volunteering opportunities available for that day. Admission to the festival is free; prices vary for individual activities. The farm's pumpkin patch also will be open from 10 am-2 pm on Oct. 5, 12 and 26 for pumpkin sales.

Solano County Apiary Workshop
October 22, 9 am-noon, UC Cooperative Extension Meeting Room, 501 Texas St., Fairfield
Solano County’s Agriculture Department will be hosting an apiary workshop to brief beekeepers on new regulations including registration requirements, hive markings, pesticide notifications and pests. The workshop will be of interest to commercial and hobbyist beekeepers. RSVP by Oct. 20.


Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Training
October 29, Nov. 5, 12 and 19, 7:30 am-2 pm, Foley Cultural Center, 1499 North Camino Alto, Vallejo
Solano County Water Agency is sponsoring a free Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) Training in a series of four Tuesday classes. Space is limited. QWEL is recognized as an EPA WaterSense professional certification program and its curriculum is focused on the most relevant and up-to-date practices in sustainable landscaping and irrigation efficiency. Attendees will have an opportunity to take the QWEL exam and become certified at the end of the training. The class is being facilitated by the California Water Efficiency Partnership.

Community Conversations

Sustainable Solano's Conversations Initiative is expanding countywide to bring you inspirational, engaging and meaningful talks on sustainability topics you care about. These topics include global sustainability, our local economy, sustainable landscaping, waste, etc. What speakers would you like to hear speak on these topics? Any relevant films that you feel we should show? To share requests, thoughts and ideas please email: Visit our calendar for upcoming speaker events in your area.

Sustainable Solano's website has information about our exciting programs, upcoming events, and other community news.

Go to to check it out.

Want to engage? Be creative?
If you are a blogger, photographer, or just interested in volunteering, please join in! If you are interested supporting a sustainable future in Solano County, let's talk at 

Something to share? 
Newsletter deadlines are the 3rd Friday of the month. Please email to

Copyright © 2019 Sustainable Solano, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Sustainable Solano
PO Box 1215
Benicia, CA 94510

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