Self Sustaining Communities
Rating: 4.96 stars 45 reviews
Issues: Human Services
Location: 1251 E. Victoria Court San Pablo CA 94806 USA
Results: 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: Richmond
Programs: materials, land and volunteer help to communities to create whole sustainable environments by and through their own sweat equity.
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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.
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.
I have coordinated several community events with this organization on behalf of a local government. They show the ability to produce resources and ideas that allow us to have a positive impact in the community.
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