August 2019 Newsletter

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"That's how we save the world — one backyard at a time."
- Dr. Roger Hicks, SYRCL founding president, in 'Redefining Prosperity'
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Sustainable Solano - September 2019

Avant Garden in Benicia will be the site of a cooking workshop, a planting workshop, cleanup day and the annual Harvest Celebration during the month of September!

What's Growing 2019?

This month, we hope you take a moment to visit to see some exciting changes to our website. As we've grown as an organization, expanding existing programs and offering new ones, we've needed to make the website both easier to use and more informative. Toward that end, we've given the site a new look while still keeping the important work we do front and center.

From the new homepage you can learn about our programs and access resources to get involved with sustainability in your community. We invite you to learn more about what we have to offer in Green Infrastructure, Local Food, Community Conversations and Workforce Development. As you can see from the calendar, we have a lot going on in September!

With changes can come a few bumps in the road. We know that there may be something we missed that isn't working right on the new website. If you run into any problems with links or if the site is slow to load, or even if there are things you like and want to see more of, please let us know at


Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 12

Farmers Market to Your Table Cooking Workshop
6 pm, Avant Garden, Corner of First and D streets, Benicia

In this special workshop Chef and Culinary Arts Instructor Lisa Núñez-Hancock will walk you through the steps from the farmers market to your table for creating healthy, fresh meals from your produce. Join us for this exciting workshop and al fresco cooking class, where we will make a delicious and nutritious dish to be enjoyed by all participants. Register here.


Saturday, September 14

Avant Garden Planting Workshop and Cleanup Day
9am-Noon, Avant Garden, corner of First and D streets, Benicia

Join us from 9-11 am for garden cleanup, followed by a workshop on fall and winter planting from Master Gardener Sheila Clyatt from 11 am-noon. Please register for the workshop here. Cleanup activities will include weeding and prepping garden beds, among other activities. Make sure to bring water, gloves if you have them and closed-toe shoes. We hope to see you there!


Thursday, September 19

Building Sustainable Yards in Dixon
6-7 pm, The Barn & Pantry, 125 West A St., Dixon

We are looking for a site to install a demonstration food forest in the spring of 2020 that will serve as an educational resource for local residents to learn about sustainable landscaping and wise water use through an annual public tour. Come learn about Sustainable Solano’s Dixon Sustainable Backyard Program at this informative talk about building a sustainable yard! Register here.


Saturday, September 21

'What's for Dinner?' Cooking Workshop: Sushi Sessions
2 pm, John F. Kennedy Library, 505 Santa Clara St., Vallejo

Join us for this 'What's for Dinner?' class to learn basic sushi-making techniques and traditions with vegetarian and vegan improvisations.


Thursday, September 26

Sustainable Landscaping Class
6-7 pm, The Barn & Pantry, 125 West A St., Dixon

Learn about sustainable landscaping: beautiful, productive, life-supporting ecosystems featuring trees and a variety of perennials fed by “secondary water” (greywater and rainwater). Davis-based lead designer/engineer of Whole System Designs, Derek Downey, will explore how to make a sustainable yard a reality. This class is for homeowners interested in replacing their lawns or who would like to make their current yards resource-wise, but open to anyone interested in sustainable landscaping techniques. Register here.

Saturday, September 28

Avant Garden Harvest Celebration
Noon-3 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. Register here.


Where to Find Us This Month:


September 9-10, San Francisco

Soil Not Oil

We will attend this agro-ecological and environmental conference on moving away from an extractive, nonsustainable food and agriculture system to one based on building soil and farming that supports the environment and local communities.

September 10-12, Santa Rosa

The National Heirloom Expo

We will attend this annual celebration of natural food, gardening, sustainability, green living — as well as a seed swap!

September 14, Vallejo

Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival

Find us at our table at the Nature Discovery Zone from 9 am-2 pm.

September 14, Vacaville

Ag & Art Film Festival

Visit us at our table during the free community film screening of 'The Biggest Little Farm' and farmers market.

September 14, Vacaville

Women of Abundance Summit

We will attend this annual summit on how to uplift women business owners and community leaders.

September 15 and 22, Dixon

Dixon Farmers Market at The Barn & Pantry

Learn more about our Dixon Sustainable Backyard program at the farmers market at The Barn & Pantry.

September 24, Davis

California Water Efficiency Partnership 2019 Fall Plenary

We will attend this conference on water efficiency, innovation, climate resilience and the nexus of water and energy.



CSA Farm Spotlight: Lockewood Acres  

By: Sustainable Solano

Ben and Denise Lyons started their family farm in Vacaville after facing the challenges of the 2010 downturn. Looking for work and afraid of going hungry, Ben Lyons started farming. “It was more out of self-sustainability as opposed to being a farmer, and then it just grew into a whole lot more,” he said.  [Read more...]

Talking Local Food: SolanoFit Interviews Sustainable Solano’s Local Food Program Manager
By: Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, Local Food Program Manager

Our Local Food Program manager, Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan, recently spoke with O. Johnson on his SolanoFit podcast about the importance of healthy food, local food and supporting a local food system. She discussed the value placed on food and the need to shift public perception about where our food comes from to build a strong market for good quality, nutrient-dense food that was grown sustainably — and the health and economic benefits of paying a little more now for healthy food to avoid health costs down the road. [Read more...]


Partner Insight: ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ and Supporting Local Farmers
By: Lorraine Walker, Eatwell Farm 

We wanted to share with you some thoughts on ‘The Biggest Little Farm,’ which is currently playing in theaters. Eatwell Farm owner Lorraine Walker saw the film and 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. [Read more...]

October Preview


October 5, 12 and 18, 10 am-4 pm, Rio Vista Demonstration Food Forest Installation (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:

October 16, 10:30-11:30 am, Singing 'Benicia Our Home' (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. 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.


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



'Through The Lens: Our Fruitful Heritage'

September 7, All Day, Vacaville Museum, 213 Buck Ave., Vacaville

This elegant show of our local history and culture that highlights the “early fruit district” of Vacaville and the Solano County Valley runs through Sept. 15. The museum will have one special show-related event a month. On Sept. 7, the event will be a celebration Roundtable Oral History by locals who worked in the fruit industry. Visit the museum and share your story! Forms are available at the front desk. This is a free community event from 2-3 pm. Seating is limited. Call to reserve your seat today at (707) 447-4513.


Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series

September 9-November 11, 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. September lectures are on water justice, and energy infrastructure, climate change and indigenous health. Lectures are open to the public and free as well as streamed online.

The National Heirloom Expo
September 10-12, 9 am-9 pm, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
The 8th Annual National Heirloom Exposition will feature a wide array of natural vendors from across the country and beyond. Last year it hosted over 350 vendors, each showcasing products pertaining to natural food, gardening, sustainability, green living and so much more!


Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival

September 12-15, various locations, Vallejo

This annual festival includes hikes, kayaking, family-friendly activities and discovery zones, art exhibits and films, including those curated from SYRCL's Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Ag & Art Film Festival

September 13-15, various locations, Vacaville

The Ag & Art Film Festival supports small farms and farmers and the humane treatment of all living beings — including farm animals. Its mission is to celebrate some of the things in life that nourish us: agriculture and art — through cinema.


Women of Abundance Summit
September 14, 1-4 pm, Soul Food Farm, 6046 Pleasants Valley Rd., Vacaville

Soul Food Farm will be hosting this annual summit that brings together a panel of prominent Bay Area women entrepreneurs to discuss how to uplift women business owners and community leaders. This will be an in-depth conversation among several successful local women entrepreneurs about regenerative culture, economy and community. This event will explore the concepts of abundance and discuss what it means to be regenerative.

Introduction to Garden Herbalism

September 23-November 18, Santa Cruz Permaculture, Santa Cruz

For thousands of years, people have been harvesting herbal medicines from their home gardens for basic family needs. Become part of this evolving tradition in this dynamic and hands-on introduction to the art and practical application of garden herbalism led by herbalists Darren Huckle and Paula Grainger.

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.

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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