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Self Sustaining Communities

Rating: 4.96 stars   45 reviews 2,189

Nonprofit Issues:

Human Services


1251 E. Victoria Court San Pablo CA 94806 USA


To assist in creating a systemic change in the SF East Bay of Northern California which meets environmental, social, and sustainability needs by addressing those areas upon which survival is dependent, specifically food, energy, transportation, shelter and social inclusion. We focus on low-income, high crime areas, but are not necessarily limited thereto, most particularly Richmond, CA. We approach these areas as part of an integrated larger area where coming together to make a systemic change can effect greater well-being for all members of the community.


Over 11,450 fruit, nut and olive trees distributed freely to the community; four urban farms in current production by and for the community. Street orchard planted for the homeless and addicted community nearby.

Target demographics:

create local food, natural building structures, urban farms

Geographic areas served:



materials, land and volunteer help to communities to create whole sustainable environments by and through their own sweat equity.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Self Sustaining Communities

Rating: 5 stars  

I first learned about Self-Sustaining Communities two years ago when my husband and I had just moved to Richmond from Oakland. I was a little sad that I had lost a good-sized (rental, not ours) backyard that I had cultivated in Oakland after moving to a second floor apartment. As we were driving on San Joaquin, I noticed what looked like a community garden. We made inquiries and got to know Linda Schneider and the Self-Sustaining Communities and got a bed. I had to travel abroad a month later due to a family matter, a trip that took ten months. In the meantime, my husband tried valiantly, but little success to cultivate more beds. When I cam back in September of last year, the two of us got to work in earnest in the garden. With Linda's support and encouragement, we took over the large garden and within the course of six or seven months, we developed what we believe to be one of the most verdant and resplendent gardens in the area. Yes, we did put in hard work and gardening skills, but none of it would have been possible without the material and emotional support of Linda and the Self-Sustaining Communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

One of the big motivating factors for us moving to our current apartment was the charming Self Sustaining Communities farm behind our house. We had head about Food Justice and others like it and LOVED the idea. A load of people in our neighborhood chose to live there in part to the closeness to a garden that they could affordably grow some of their own food with the help of this non profit and build a community with their neighbors.
The goals of SSC are wonderful and aim to help people grow.
Does everything go according to plan? not always, but what does? We are working with people, where they are at and sometimes they are not quite ready for the responsibility they take on, but They learn something new and hopefully be come even better people.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

Linda Schneider has done a monumental job in making her vision a reality. The result is nothing short of astonishing. The seeds being planted by her community organizing have now grown into a healthy sapling. I have known Linda for many years now and with her determination to do what is right, this sapling will grow into a mighty oak tree and create incredible change for the community she serves.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I love Self Sustaining Communities, and highly respect the director Linda Schneider and the work that she does. The way she involves and motivates the local community is a tremendous asset to all of the cities she works with. Her love for animals and personal food production is an inspiration to all. It is wonderful to have such an example of how we can live more naturally and in harmony with our environment. I encourage more people to become involved with this work and with community service.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I got involved with Self Sustaining Communities 20 months ago, in October of 2013. Driving home one day to work, my wife and I spotted this little oasis (actually more than 7000 sq. ft. of cultivated land with a beehive and at the time many animal farms) at the intersection of San Joaquin and Colusa in Richmond. We made inquiries from a rather sophisticated and cultured beekeeper who happened to be working on her hives at that moment. She connected us with Linda Schneider, the director of self Sustaining Communities. We stated with a small bed and in a matter of months were so involved that we were asked to mange the garden. We have become so absorbed in realizing the garden full potential that many days we get up at 5 and work for hours (in our summer vacation) in mulching, weeding and creating beds. The main reason that we are so deeply involved is Linda Schneider's trust and full support of our projects. Linda is a visionary who constantly sees the full potential of our endeavor and the possibility of expanding our activities beyond this Richmond garden. She has already created a second sight ( actually a third site; the second site was developed and given to other people) with animals and future plans for agricultural development. My wife and I had plenty of gardening experience when we lived in Rochester, New York, and one thing that we love about working with and in Self Sustaining Communities is that it follows all the principles of organic and sustainable gardening/farming that we hold very dear: no chemicals, no herbicides, no pesticides, and now following the example of The Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, no tilling.

I am a visual culture professor by training, but I feel like a true gardener whenever I step into the garden and I owe that liberating transformation to Self Sustaining Communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Since I first found out about Self Sustaining Communities I have continued to be pleased and encouraged with what they are doing. Looking back at the things they have accomplished for the community before I heard of them, it's impressive.
The progress they have made since then, with their new larger plot of land has been a joy to see and to follow via social media.
I can't wait to see this and their other projects (if you'll pardon the pun) continue to flourish and bear fruit.

Scott Weston

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Rating: 5 stars  

As an an employee at a local business in Richmond that donates plants to Self Sustaining Communities, I've had the pleasure of interacting with its founder, Linda, over the past two years during which time I have been awed to observe the growth and impact of this organization. I attended an open house event showcasing a few of the transitional housing units and urban farms, and I was highly impressed and moved by the level of initiative and efficacy of these systems. Recently, Self Sustaining Communities has acquired a 2.2 acre parcel in San Pablo with plans to develop a thriving farm there, complete with livestock; I visited the area with Linda and am already inspired by the progress taking place there. I strongly believe in the vision of this organization and am excited to see how this project will continue to evolve!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered as the "volunteer" coordinator for several years now. It has been a rewarding and sometimes challenging position in working with many community members, from all walks of life. What has been most impressive to me is that people are able to create something significant and of interest without salaries and often with just donations of materials. What else has been really unique about observing this program is that so many people are influenced by it. They are influenced in either small or larger ways. Some just want plants to take home. Others want to bring their kids to help too. Occasionally people want to know how they can start similar urban farms in their own communities. We see people come together who normally might not meet. We see people learn to work together on projects that require an increase in skills and learning. I have been fortunate that I am in a position to be able to volunteer my time. I know that other participants have basic survival needs that aren't always able to be met by them, and so providing alternative means to meet those needs through this learning and this program are satisfying and tangibly helpful

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Rating: 5 stars  

As a regular small donor to Self-Sustaining Communities, I have been eager to see that they are able to do those things which, as a senior community member, I am no longer able to do. As a result, I do feel that in my small way I am able to help, and that gives me great satisfaction to know I can still make a difference too. They are always so appreciative of my gift. I enjoy the handwritten notes and I look forward to seeing the press and favorable impact they always have in their community.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have watched this charitable program in operation as a community member for nearly five years. What has been accomplished in that relatively short period of time has been astonishing. I have benefited as they spearheaded changing an animal ordinance in my town so that more people could provide for their own food when the economy tanked. After that they began to pass out free fruit trees, adding to the ability of residents to become self-reliant. Then their small farms began to spring up, and seeds and vegetable starts also were being donated from them to residents in local cities. They have been a role mode for a lot of people. I also notice that teachers from my daughter's school have gotten fertile chicken eggs for hatching projects too. After they began these efforts, the City of Richmond decided to adopt an urban agricultural program and the impacts have been sweeping. I know that the volunteers work with communities and environments that are often overlooked or considered dangerous by others. Yet, they seem to get really good results and they don't appear to treat anyone differently because of circumstances.

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