February 2020 Newsletter

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"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
- Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
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Sustainable Solano - February 2020

Participants of the October Local Food Listening Sessions gather around the table at Be Love Farm

What's Growing 2020?

The Solano Local Food System Alliance meets again this month, marking the first time all members have met since the October Listening Sessions at Be Love Farm. Those Listening Sessions brought together farmers, institutional customers, such as hospitals and school food service directors, elected officials and others to discuss the state of Solano County and what needs to happen to support an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just and equitable local food system.

This month's meeting will offer updates on institutional customers, such as the pilot program where Kaiser Vallejo is buying some of the produce used in its cafeteria from Eatwell Farm in Dixon. There will also be an update on plans for Bounty of the County, a celebration of food grown here in Solano County planned for the fairgrounds Aug. 29. There will be chef competitions, food tasting, produce for sale and wine and beer tasting (we suggest you mark your calendars now, since you won't want to miss it).

But you don't have to wait for the summer to enjoy local food. This spring, we will have new cooking classes going on around the county and we'll be sharing seasonal recipes. These classes will be a great opportunity to learn how to prepare fresh, healthy produce from area farms. We hope you can join us at these and other events!

Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 6

Solano Local Food System Alliance meeting
5-8 pm, Fairfield


The Solano Local Food System Alliance will hold its quarterly meeting to review progress and set upcoming goals for its work. Find out more about the Alliance’s work here.

Saturday, February 8

Demonstration Food Forest Installation Workshop: Understory and Drip
9:30 am-4 pm, Registration is Full, Benicia


This is the third 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 here!


Saturday, February 15

Sustainable Garden Design Workshop
10 am-1 pm, Registration is Full, Vallejo

Are you ready to start transforming your yard into a lush, productive, water-wise oasis? Unsure about how to get started?  You're not alone. That's why we've created the Sustainable Garden Design Workshop. This workshop will teach the design elements you need to get started on your yard transformation. Join a permaculture designer as he guides a homeowner through the design process and get ideas you can bring home to your own garden. Stay for a Q&A working lunch with the designer to begin applying what you’ve learned to your own space. Registration for this class is full, but sign up here to be added to the waitlist and be first in line for future workshops.


Tuesday, February 18

Listening Circles Sessions
Central Solano cities

This is the first of two Listening Circles that will be held this month in Central Solano cities, with the second on Feb. 29. Listening Circles aim to find community-guided solutions to environmental issues and needs. Find out more here.

Saturday, February 22

Winter Fruit Tree Care at ‘Shalom’ Demonstration Food Forest
3-4:30 pm, Register for Address, Vacaville

Join us at Shalom Demonstration Food Forest garden in Vacaville where Kristina Fink from Lemuria Nursery will cover winter fruit tree care of deciduous fruit trees (apples, peach, pears, apricots, plums, etc). Kristina will cover the basics of tree selection, planting a bare-root fruit tree, soil amendments to produce an abundance of fruit, first through third year pruning to establish size and irrigation. She will also help to problem-solve some of the challenges of this newly established food forest garden and demonstrate the proper way of pruning these trees. Register here!


Saturday, February 29

Benicia Community Gardens Annual Member Meeting
9-11 am, Heritage Presbyterian Church, 1400 East Second St., Benicia

All Benicia Community Gardeners are invited to attend this annual meeting and breakfast to review financials, policies and major news. More details here.

What We're Reading Now

'Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal'
by Ronnie Cummins

From the introduction: This is a book about how we can rise up together and overcome the most serious threat that humans have ever confronted: global warming and severe climate change. ... The driving force that informs and inspires us is Regeneration, a rapidly spreading, carbon-sequestering, ecologically restorative, technologically innovative, forward-thinking worldview that takes us well beyond the now unfortunately outdated twentieth-century notions of sustainability. Regeneration calls for a transition from degenerative, climate-disrupting fossil fuels to renewable energy and from industrial food, farming, and land use to regenerative practices. ... We can draw down billions of tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere into our soils, forests, and plants over the next few decades and thereby avert climate catastrophe. By mobilizing the grassroots power of a united body politic for survival and revival, we can head off climate chaos and build a new nation.

Have a book to share? Let us know at



Community Will Gain Knowledge, Guide Solutions in Listening Circles

By: Gabriela Estrada, Listening Circles Program Manager

February will mark the beginning of Sustainable Solano’s first Listening Circle sessions in central Solano County (Fairfield, Vacaville and Suisun City). A Listening Circle is our attempt at finding community-guided solutions to community issues/problems. The goal is to not only strengthen community knowledge and participation, but to get active buy-in from community members into the solutions since no solution is sustainable without community input and interest. [Read more...]

Bioneers Experience Both Personal and Profound
By: Gabriela Estrada and Kassie Munro, Program Managers

Though there are many conferences out there, few present a balance between seemingly opposing concepts: the old and the new, the indigenous and the futuristic, science and spirit, and even fewer invite us to look deep back to the past and far into the future. Bioneers does just that. While shifting one’s focus to all of these different directions can make one’s head spin, in the end it becomes clear that considering all of these viewpoints is necessary to create the world we want to live in tomorrow.  [Read more...]


Here's What's True About the State's New Limits on Water Usage
Published in the Sacramento Bee 

After misinformation about the state's water restrictions raised concerns, the Sacramento Bee ran this article outlining what the new limits will mean for residents — including that you can shower and do laundry on the same day without being fined. [Read more...]
You can find additional information on this topic here from the Association of California Water Agencies.

Recipe Spotlight

As part of promoting Solano County's specialty crops, we will share a new delicious recipe each month that highlights the bounty of Solano County's local produce. Have a favorite recipe we should include? Share it with us at

Caldo Verde Soup
For February, we are sharing this Portuguese potato-kale soup. [Get the Recipe...]

March Preview


March 7, 1-4 pm, Garden Expansion and Transition Workshop (Register for Address, Benicia)

Join us to learn about expanding and changing a transitioning garden. Tour the existing established five-year-old food forest to see the wise water features: diverted roof water, and laundry-to-landscape and branched-drain greywater system. The house is expanding and so is the food forest. We will discuss the opportunities and challenges with the re-design, and then as a community we will help move the existing plants. Learn more here.

March 19, 7-8:30 pm, Farm-to-Table Cooking Class (Benicia Community Center, Registration is Full, Benicia)

Chef and Culinary Arts Instructor Lisa Núñez-Hancock will show how to take a mid-March CSA box from Eatwell Farm in Dixon and turn it into a delicious and nutritious vegetarian Colcannon. Join us and learn how to make this updated version of an Irish comfort food classic using local and seasonal vegetables. All participants will get to sample the dish, take home recipes and be entered into a raffle for an Eatwell Farm CSA box! Registration is full, so keep an eye out for more cooking classes coming in March!

March 21, TBA, Benefits and Challenges of Backyard Chickens (Register for Address, Vacaville)

Join us for this informative workshop on keeping backyard chickens — both the benefits and the challenges that come with it! More details and registration information will be posted here later in February.

March 29, 9:30 am-4 pm, Demonstration Food Forest Garden Workshop (Register for Address, Dixon)

This public, hands-on installation workshop series will create a demonstration food forest garden in Dixon, creating an opportunity to learn about rainwater capture and how to plant and mulch for a waterwise garden that builds healthy soil and yields food. On this first day, learn how to create swales, which are trenches that capture rainwater in the ground, divert roofwater to those swales, plant trees and lay mulch to protect and build healthy soil. Learn more here!



Stay Tuned!

We'll be announcing upcoming dates for cooking classes, garden design workshops and 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.

Yoga Hike at Rush Ranch
February 8, 9-11 am, Solano Land Trust
This free, easy, family-friendly hike will start and end at the Rush Ranch picnic area with some warm up stretches and a yoga session later on. Participants can enjoy the sun on their face and the wind in their hair while they do yoga. RSVP recommended. Check out other Solano Land Trust events this month here.

Free Movie Screening of 'The Biggest Little Farm'
February 9, 1 pm-4 pm, Benicia Public Library, 150 East L St., Benicia 
Cultivate Community Food Co-op is bringing 'The Biggest Little Farm' back to Solano County for a free screening at the library. The film showcases how a regenerative agriculture approach transformed one Southern California farm. More info here.

Vital Cycles Permaculture Design Course Information Session
February 10, 6-7:30 pm, Register for Address, Santa Cruz 
Vital Cycles, taught over six three-day weekends, offers the internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), plus over 40 hours of additional materials and practice in Personal Ecology through Vital Life Skills. Attend this free introductory session to meet instructors Anne and Lydia, see pictures of the site, hear details and project opportunities, get a taste of the unique and transformative curriculum and ask questions
. Those who attend the introductory session receive a special tuition offer. Learn more here.

Year-Round Garden Planning Workshop
February 15, 11 am-1 pm, Grow a Pear Nursery, Vallejo
Learn what, how and when to start planting for a well-timed and productive year-round garden here in the Bay Area using organic methods. The workshop will cover propagation, companion planting, cover crops, perennials, what your soil needs to get through the year, preventing pests and diseases and drip irrigation. For all levels of gardener. Register here and learn about other workshops this month, such as one on plant propagation.

Volunteer Planting Events
February 23, 12:30-3:30 pm, Pond C, Dixon
Solano Resource Conservation District will be installing native plants at two of its restoration sites this winter, including planting native wildflowers, sedges, trees and shrubs around Pond C in Dixon on Feb. 23. Find out more about volunteering with Solano RCD here.


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


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

Go to to check it out.

Copyright © 2020 Sustainable Solano, All rights reserved.

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

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