April 2019 Newsletter

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If I were a flower.. I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds."― Unknown

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Sustainable Solano - April 2019

What's Growing 2019?


It’s been 20 years since the organization that would become Sustainable Solano put down roots through the creation of the first community garden in Benicia, and on Saturday, we recognized the most important element in making that happen: the people. More than 50 people gathered at Harvest Presbyterian Church, the place where so many seeds of Sustainable Solano’s growth have been planted, to celebrate their involvement with the organization. 

To read more about the celebration event click here


Could Your Front Yard Become Our Next Demonstration Food Forest Garden?
Sustainable Solano is always looking for community property and private yards that can be turned into lush, waterwise food forest gardens, but right now there is a unique opportunity for one homeowner with a shovel-ready project to take advantage of our program to install demonstration food forest gardens this spring! 

If you have the perfect spot (a front yard is best for community visibility), fill out our Sustainable Landscaping Interest Form! We will be searching for the garden spots in the next two weeks, and while only one will be selected, anyone who turns in a form will be kept in our database as a possibility for future projects. Apply now!  
Sustainable Solano's Sustainable Backyards program is supported through funding from the Solano County Water Agency.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 4

Next Economy Series: Restorative Economics

6-8 pm, Green Hive Spaces, 425 Virginia Ave., Vallejo

Join us for a discussion on different strategies for a just transition to a more sustainable, equitable and just economy. Restorative economics takes a restorative justice approach to restoring and reinvesting in low-income communities of color through the establishment of community-owned and community-governed projects for self-determination and shared prosperity. Register here.


Saturday - Sunday, April 5-6 

Vallejo Together, Solano Gardens Installation, 1-5 pm, Register for Location, Vallejo 


Join Vallejo Together and Sustainable Solano for the two-day installation of Vallejo Together's Vegetable Garden! This project will serve as a source of fresh produce, a hub of information, and a place for building relationships. Vallejo Together is a collaborative movement within the community to address important issues, such as homelessness. Join us as we learn about sustainable landscaping practices and urban agriculture through the installation of this edible garden! We hope to see you there! To register, email 


Thursday, April 11
Dixon Sustainable Landscape Class

6:30-7:30 pm, Dixon Public Library, 230 North First St., Dixon


Sustainable Solano Program Manager Nicole Newell will teach about sustainable landscaping: beautiful, productive, life-supporting ecosystems featuring trees and a variety of perennials fed by secondary water (greywater and rainwater). Learn about current turf replacement rebates too!  Register here. 


Saturday, April 13

Urban Forest Community Planting Project

9 am-12 pm, Shelter Solano, 310 Beck Ave., Fairfield

Join Sustainable Solano for the installation of Solano County’s Urban Forest! Learn the benefits of urban tree planting and join us in reducing greenhouse gases through this hands-on community project! We will be planting Carbon Sequestering Treessmall plants and seeds and building healthy soil through adding organic matter, reducing water evaporation and creating conditions for thriving trees. Register here. 



Saturday, April 13 

'Whats for Dinner?' Soup Garden Cooking Workshop

2-3pm, John F. Kennedy Library, 505 Santa Clara St.,  Vallejo

Join us for a special workshop on how to plan and plant for a soup garden that will yield the ingredients for a late summer gazpacho and a hearty fall squash soup. We will hear tips for planting from a guest master gardener and Chef Lisa Núñez-Hancock will walk us through the recipes for making delicious garden-to-table soups!

Saturday, April 27


Benicia & Vallejo Demonstration Food Forest Tour

9-11 am, check in and pick up a map of participating gardens at Avant Garden, Corner of First and D St., Benicia
9 am-2 pm, self-directed tour of gardens in Benicia and Vallejo 

Have you ever seen a food forest? Are you interested in growing your own food or want to replace your lawn with a more sustainable landscape? Do not miss out on the chance to tour 10 demonstration edible gardens fed by secondary water (roofwater and/or laundry-to-landscape greywater system) right here in Benicia and Vallejo! Learn simple techniques that you can apply to your own yard to create a vibrant, food-producing ecosystem using water wisely. Find our more details and register here.

Saturday, April 27

Walk the Talk Tours: No Water, No Life. Know Water, Know Life.

2-3 pm, Shelter Solano, 310 Beck Ave., Fairfield 

Water is the most precious resource for all life on Earth. Yet, on a planet where 70% of its surface is covered with water, access to freshwater has become a growing concern in many places across the globe. From increasing costs to dwindling supplies, water conservation has never been a higher priority for our species. Learn about the importance of water and various low-cost methods to conserve it that you can start applying today! Register here.


Where to Find Us This Month:

"Collaboration has no hierarchy. The Sun collaborates with soil to bring flowers on the earth.”
- Amit Ray

April 6-7, Santa Cruz, CA 

Systems Change & the Next Economy: Regenerative Design for People and the Planet 


April Blogs


Garden Tour: Join Us for a Demonstration Food Forest Tour and Talk! 

By: Nicole Newell, Program Manager

Interested in learning how to turn your home into a sustainable, bountiful oasis? Curious about water, climate and practical solutions you can apply in your own backyard? These private back and front yards are open once a year for a self-guided tour. Each garden is a unique experience: some are compact front yards, others are on a slope, some share space with animals and small children, some are allowed to grow without restriction, while others are more manicured. They all are lush, food–producing gardens that are fed by secondary water sources (laundry-to-landscape greywater and rainwater). The food forest keepers (homeowners) will be available to share their experience and to answer questions about their custom gardens.  [Read more...]


Next Economy: Making Sense of Our Banking System

By: Stann Whipple, Sustainable Solano Treasurer  

On March 7, a group of about 25 gathered at Green Hive Spaces in Vallejo for the third session of our “Next Economy” Conversations Series. From the beginning, we dived into the key issue of our current economic system: Who issues money and who decides on its use and how?  Elena Karoulina and Stann Whipple presented new insights into why the current financial system is going the way it is and how we might begin to alter that course, based on concepts they learned at the recent workshop given by Marco Vangelisti through the Permaculture Institute in Santa Cruz. [Read more...]


Sustainable Solano Conveys Curtailing Climate Change

By: Richard Freedman, Vallejo Times-Herald

Sustainable Solano is launching its Resilient Neighborhoods program in Vallejo. Installations include laundry-to-landscape greywater systems, roof water diversion and capture, tree planting, edible landscaping, water and energy efficient measures, disaster preparedness and other eco-friendly activities. “We’re preparing for the inevitable change — droughts, heat waves, flooding, ” said Kassie Munro, Sustainable Solano’s program manager. “We’re looking at ways everyone can participate." [Read more...]

May Preview


May 2, 6-8 pm, Next Economy Series: Designing the Regenerative Economy (Green Hive Spaces, 425 Virginia Ave., Vallejo)

Join us to discuss the design principles and strategies needed for vocation and regenerative enterprise design. We’ll discuss how we could redesign the economy for security, prosperity and a stable climate with transformation based on permaculture design principles, methods and ethics for an economy that benefits all life. This talk will be based on the workshop presented by Kevin Bayuk and Erin Axelrod at Santa Cruz Permaculture. Register here


May 4, 10-11 am, Good Bugs, Bad Bugs, Pesticide Free (Suisun Wildlife Center, 1171 Kellogg St., Suisun City)
As we try to attract beneficial insects to our gardens, we also keep an eye out for those that may harm our plants, but how to manage the garden without damaging the ecosystem? Join local Master Gardeners for this presentation on beneficial insects and how to attract them while managing pest insects without pesticides and chemicals. Register here. 


May 4, 10 am-1 pm, Suisun & Fairfield Demonstration Food Forest Garden Tour (Suisun Wildlife Center, 1171 Kellogg St., Suisun City)

Join us for this annual tour of four demonstration food forest gardens in Suisun and Fairfield. Pick up an itinerary from 10-11 am at Suisun Wildlife Center (home to a demonstration pollinator garden) for a self-guided tour through these lush private gardens. You'll have an opportunity to see how these gardens have put rainwater and secondary water, such as laundry-to-landscape greywater systems, to use to support abundant food-producing ecosystems. Ask our food forest keepers questions, enjoy the gardens, be inspired and get ideas on how you can work these design principles into your own yard! Register here.


May 4, 11, 18, 25Save the Date: Vallejo Resilient Neighborhoods, (Vallejo)

Join us this month as we get our first Vallejo Resilient Neighborhoods projects underway! Learn more about the Vallejo program here. Stay tuned for more details! 

May 25, 2-3 pm, Walk the Talk Tours: L.I.B.T.Y.F.I.! An Intro to Permaculture Design (Shelter Solano, 310 Beck Ave., Fairfield)

Leave It Better Than You Found It! That is the goal of every permaculture designer, especially when interacting with the environment. How can we begin to develop regenerative systems that will repair our damaged ecosystems? This month we’ll discuss a brief history of permaculture and natural farming. Then we’ll learn how its principles and design methods can be used to restore even the most devastated landscapes, including transforming a desert into an oasis! Following this half-hour talk, we’ll take a guided tour of our demonstration food forest. Register here.

Partners and Community Member Events

The Barn & Pantry One Year Anniversary Celebration 

April 6, 10 am-5 pm, The Barn & Pantry, 125 West A St., Dixon

The Barn & Pantry in Dixon will celebrate their one year anniversary this Saturday. Join the fun with live music all day, food vendors, free samples, drawings and demonstrations. The market, originally called The Heritage Pantry, began as a small vision to bring the community together in support of truly locally grown food, with education on seasonal eating. To learn more about this celebration and other events click here.


UC Master Gardener Plant Exchange 
April 6, 9 am-12 pm, Solano County UC Cooperative Extension, 501 Texas St., Fairfield 
Discover new plants for your home! Bring your home-grown, extra plants to share/exchange with the UC Master Gardeners and the public. We will accept plants, bulbs, seeds, cuttings, etc. No plants over the 5-gallon size. Also, no pesty, invasive or pokey plants. To learn more click here.


Solano County Earth Day Cleanup

April 20-21 and 27, 8 am-12 pm, Cities around Solano County

Join one of the Earth Day Cleanup events going on at cities around Solano County on April 20, 21 and 27. On April 20, cleanup events will be held in Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City and Vacaville at different times. Other events will be April 21 in Vallejo and April 27 in Benicia and Vallejo. For more information about these cleaning events click here

Draw the Future for Vallejo

April 23, Deadline 5:15 pm, email map to maps@cityofvallejo.netVallejo 

The city of Vallejo is considering a transition from an at-large election system to a district-based system. This transition would divide Vallejo into six separate districts. Residents of Vallejo are encouraged to participate in this process by submitting a map to the City Council that displays how they believe the districts should be divided. The deadline for residents to submit their district map is April 23 at 5:15 pm to To learn more about key meetings and deadlines regarding this project click here. 

Movie Screening: 'Modified' with Cultivate Community Food Cooperative

April 25, 6-8 pm, Empress Theater, 330 Virginia St., Vallejo 

Cultivate Community Food Cooperative presents the award-winning documentary, ‘Modified,’ at the Empress Theater in Vallejo. Doors open at 6 pm.There will be food (featured in the movie) for purchase before the movie and a Q&A panel discussion after the credits with Stacy Malkan, who is the co-founder and co-director of US Right To Know. To learn more about this and other CCFC events click here

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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