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.
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!
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.
One day I met this lady name Linda. She was on a piece of property that had farm animals and organic vegetable plants growing. I met her through a friend. He explained to me what she was doing and how her non-profit has up lifted the community, by growing and planting your own vegetables. At first I wasn't interested in what was going on until I actual had eaten from the garden in which she provides for. Several weeks later I made contact with her to ask if I may come out to the farm and participate. At that time I began to talk to her about what I was trying to do in the city of Richmond. I explained to her that I had done five (5) years in prison, and while I was incarcerated I wrote a program called The Remember Us People Project (trupp)
This program that I wrote consist of working with individuals that have been formally incarcerated or not, that simply have know where to go upon release from prison or county jail, or just plan homeless. This is what we call transitional living/housing. As time passed, I became more involved with what linda had going. A few of my guys that live in the transition house started getting involved with self sustaining community. By being involved with self sustaining community, we developed a business relationship. Linda and her organization became my fiscal agent.
The growth of both organizations began to get noticed more as we began doing projects around the city together. We started giving out fruit trees to low income households, we began notifying other people how important it is to be self sustainable, and the importance of health eating.
Now, at the transition homes we have organic gardens growing in two (2) of the three (3) backyards. These gardens are built, maintained, and organized by the young men at the transition homes. This also lead to more positive things, such as three (3) of the young men going to Jr. college at the present time. All the positive things that have occurred in this short period of time has spread throughout the communities, from the mayors office to the people. Community support has plumed through the roof.
I would like to thank Linda at self sustaining community for allowing us to be part of a great team. We look forward to continuing or relationship over the next several years or more. Thank you Ms Linda.
i learned about the work that Self-Sustaining Communities is doing when viewing a brilliant television program. Seeing the light in the eyes of the young people who are so proud of their participation in growing a garden and building something positive in their community moved me to tears. To offer the opportunity to contribute to LIFE through planting gardens as the alternative to the death and destruction of gang membership - is truly awe inspiring and uplifting not only for the participants, but for anyone that is blessed to know about this work. Each and every one of us can make a difference wherever we live. I am so very grateful to know about Self-Sustaining communities. I am inspired and encouraged, and I look forward to a flourishing future for this organization and the beautiful people who take part in their work!
I was amazed by what this community is doing. I'm a realtor. I was looking a property earlier this year, and passed by a little farm garden. The garden has vegetable beds and varity of vegetables, chicken house, bee house and fish pond. I was curious who was doing all of those, and that's how I met Linda. I then learned that not only this farm, the organization also created three farms in other areas in Richmond. I was very much impressed. Richmond has the worst reputation in Bay Area in terms of high crime rate and low income level. Self sustainable communities has been done so much to improve the areas, and at so limited resources.
My husband and I met Linda Schneider earlier this year, 2013.
Linda took us on a tour of the different community gardens that Self Sustaining Communities has started in the Richmond neighborhoods. As we drove into the areas where the gardens are located I noticed that there were very few grocery stores and the ones that were there seemed to be more quick stop types where I'm sure there were no fresh fruits and vegetables, and if they had them the variety would be limited and definitely not organic. At all of the gardens we saw the tender loving care that the local residents have put into "their" gardens, so much love and pride.
Linda has been able to connect with caring nurseries who have provided thousands of fruit trees that have been planted (by volunteers) as street trees in neighborhoods where the fresh fruit is there for everyone to pick free of charge. These gardens have given people the joy of working with their hands and babying the plants and then eating fresh picked vegetables and fruits, not ones that have been sprayed or picked too early so that they can handle being shipped from afar. These gardens have also helped make neighborhoods more of a community, a way to have social contact with their neighbors and helps people who would normally be isolated become more social. I can't say enough good things about this organization.
I have been around a lot of people who work in nonprofit organizations but Linda is by far the most dedicated one I have ever met. She moved into Richmond and lives at one of her self sustaining gardens properties. Linda is such a hard worker, she gives her all for this organization that she created and continues to nurture.
I am so impressed with the work she had done and all of the exciting news of new projects and how so many new volunteers etc. want to get involved. She's sure has found a need and is filling it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you can give Linda a call and make an appointment to go on a tour of the gardens, it will warm your heart and maybe you'll find time to volunteer.
Linda is such a sweet woman and very compassionate when it comes to helping the community! I highly recommend SELF SUSTAINING COMMUNITIES! God Bless them and their efforts!!
Linda is empowering the communities around her (in problem-plagued Richmond) to become more self-sustaining in terms of food (raised beds, fruit trees, chickens, fish&veg (aquaponics), building with local materials, collecting rainwater... and doing it all on a shoestring. People are getting inspired and fed while they find real community...
For months I just passed by and enjoyed seeing the chickens and bunnies, and hearing the rooster crow from my apartment next to the freeway. I thought it was great to see an urban farm in an otherwise blighted neighborhood. I finally visited the farm on an evening when neighbors were invited to celebrate the new aquaponics system and the addition of the baby fish to provide some nutrients for the vegetables being grown in the little clay pebbles rather than being planted in soil. The majority of the vegetables are being grown in raised beds screened in with chicken wire. Varieties of lettuce, kale, tomatoes, carrots, beets, beans, and squash are growing. There are beehives, compost, and vertical towers growing potatoes. The hens knew when it was time to go into the henhouse for the night, and they started going in and lining up in a row on the perch of their own volition. I visited again a few weeks later and was amazed at how much the vegetables planted in the aquaponics shed had grown since the night we planted them. I also enjoyed some delicious honey harvested from one of the beehives. And I was delighted to learn that volunteers with this organization have planted fruit and nut trees along the sound wall on the neighborhood side of the freeway . In a society where it's cheaper to buy a fastfood burger than a salad, I think that making fresh vegetables and fruit available to folks in low income neighborhoods and familiarizing them with the process of growing good healthy food and the idea that this is something they can be involved in is really worthy project.