December 2019 Newsletter

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"When we look deeply at a flower, we can see the whole cosmos contained in it."
- Thich Nhat Hanh
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Sustainable Solano - December 2019

Jeff Barton (center in baseball cap) joins other workshop participants in one of his first Sustainable Solano food forest garden workshops two years ago.

What's Growing 2019?

As in nature, the seeds planted through the work we do often matures over years. We were delighted to read this interview with Jeff Barton, who attend his first sustainable landscaping workshop to install a food forest garden through our Sustainable Backyards program a few years ago. Since then, Jeff has embraced permaculture principles across his life, including attending a Permaculture Design Certificate course through Santa Cruz Permaculture, leading Walk the Talk Tours for us in Fairfield to bring permaculture ideas to the community and starting his own business, No Mow Nonsense! Earth Care Services. It is a powerful experience to see what growth follows those first seeds.

We want to hear these kinds of stories. If you have a story to share on what connecting with Sustainable Solano has meant in your life or community, please send it to And consider giving today, Giving Tuesday, to continue making that work possible and bringing it to more people. Through midnight tonight you can give to local nonprofits making a difference in Solano County through Give Local Solano. Learn more here and donate here!

Upcoming Events

Saturday, December 7

Fairfield High School Garden Installation
10 am-2 pm, Fairfield High School, 205 East Atlantic Ave., Fairfield


Join us for the installation of the Fairfield High School Garden. This garden will help Fairfield High School students learn about permaculture, seasonal vegetables and farm-to-table approaches to cooking. Come dig a swale, plant fruit trees and sheet mulch. Register here


We're Hiring!

Listening Circles Notetaker

We are looking for a notetaker for our Listening Circles program. This is a short-term, part-time position. The notetaker will provide clear and accurate notes as a record of meetings. Notes are essential tools for learning and revision, therefore the notetaker provides crucial support. Could be ideal for a college student interested in environmental or social justice studies. Learn more here.

Benicia Homeowners: Lose Your Lawn

We continue to look for Benicia homeowners who want to turn their water-thirsty lawns into sustainable, waterwise, edible gardens. Interested? Fill out our Sustainable Landscaping Interest Form. Contact us at with any questions.



This Giving Tuesday (That's Today!), Support Sustainable Solano Through Give Local Solano  

By: Sustainable Solano

During #GivingTuesday, we invite you to become part of fostering human connection in creating a world that works for everyone. Sustainable Solano is participating in this year’s Give Local Solano. The program gives you a chance to give to area nonprofits that are doing important work in the county. All donations go to the organizations selected, and 100% of the donation qualifies as a charitable gift.  [Read more...]

Students Make Real-World Connections Through Sustainability Education
By: Allison Nagel, Workforce Development Manager

Saving the environment, creating a better life, preparing for future jobs. Perhaps the most telling part of the four-day sustainability curriculum and hands-on demonstration food forest installation at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo was what students answered when asked why these lessons were important. Their insights and connections were a welcome outcome of the pilot program. [Read more...]


Tangible and Valuable: Permaculture Design Course Shapes Program Work
By: Gabriela Estrada and Kassie Munro, Program Managers 

During Sustainable Solano’s restorative summer break, we traveled to Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, a research, demonstration, education, advocacy and community-organizing center in West Sonoma County, where they develop strategies for regional-scale community resilience and the restoration of biological and cultural diversity. For two weeks, we joined 30 other people in an intensive Permaculture Design Certificate program – frequently referred to as the PDC. [Read more...]


CSA Farm Spotlight: Eatwell Farm
By: Sustainable Solano 

Eatwell Farm in Dixon was started by the late Nigel Walker, a leading figure in the Bay Area organic food movement. The organic farm grows hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables to ensure a year-round, diverse supply of produce. His wife, Lorraine, runs the farm along with Cameron and Andrew, the next generation of family farmers. [Read more...]


Alumni Spotlight: Jeff Barton
Published by Santa Cruz Permaculture 

Santa Cruz Permaculture has had the joy of teaching and learning with many students over the years. Our alumni have gone into many diverse fields (literally and figuratively) since participating in our courses. In our alumni spotlight for this month, we interviewed Jeff Barton, who received his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) in 2018 through our course. [Read more...]

January Preview

January 8, 6-8 pm, Land and Water Caretakers Certification course (Benicia)

The Land and Water Caretakers Certification course, offered in partnership with Solano Adult Education, starts Jan. 8 and runs through March 25! This program will give participants sustainable landscaping knowledge and skills through in-class lessons Wednesday nights and on-site hands-on instruction Saturday mornings in Benicia. Open to all county residents 18 and older, this is a great way to build sustainable landscaping knowledge, learn how to create earthworks and install greywater systems and gain business finance skills — all to strengthen an existing landscaping business, build job skills or seek personal enrichment. Learn more here and contact Thelma Bentley at Benicia Adult Education to register at

January 25, 9:30 am-4 pm, Demonstration Food Forest Installation Workshop - Save the Date (A Benicia home, Benicia)

This is the first of three public, hands-on installation workshops to create a demonstration food forest garden in Benicia, creating an opportunity to learn about rainwater capture, simple greywater systems that reuse household water and how to plant and mulch for a waterwise garden that builds healthy soil and yields food. Learn more and register here!


Stay Tuned!

We'll be announcing upcoming dates for cooking workshops, garden installations as well as for the next Vallejo Resilient Neighborhood! Check our calendar for upcoming workshops.

Partners and Community Member Events


Low Water Landscape Assistance Program

The Solano County Water Agency is offering assistance in replacing lawn/sod with a custom-designed low water use landscape. The program is open to participants with disabilities and low-income seniors who live in single-family homes, multifamily residences or mobile homes in Solano County. Learn more about this exciting new program here!


Solano County Water Awareness Video Contest

The Solano County Water Agency has launched its 2020 video contest, open to middle and high school students in the county. This year's challenge is to create "H2O Tunes" videos featuring water efficiency tips put to music. Learn more about the competition here. Entries will be accepted from Jan. 1 through April 2.

Global Holiday Fair
December 7, 9 am-3 pm, First Christian Church of Vallejo, 1035 Indiana St., Vallejo
Fair trade gifts from around the world, plus art, crafts, gift baskets and baked goods from our own community. Join churches from Vallejo, Benicia and American Canyon for this unique craft and gift fair where all the proceeds go to nonprofit organizations. Free Admission!


'Voices from the Ancestors' Book Launch and Reading
December 15, 2-4:30 pm, IntegriTea, 717 Marin St., Vallejo
Join Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes for an afternoon with Vallejo resident Sandra Pacheco and Melissa Moreno, contributors to the recently published book, “Voices from the Ancestors – Xicanx & Latinx Spiritual Expressions & Healing Practices.” This free event will include light refreshments and the book will be for sale for $29.95 (cash only).


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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