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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Self Sustaining Communities

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Public & Societal Benefit

Mission: 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.

Results: Over 16,000 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 farmsm homeless work programs, work with formerly incarcerated

Geographic areas served: Richmond and San Pablo

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

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Plantgrowshare15

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Self-sustaining communities is doing great things in the community. I've had great experiences with Linda, a very giving person, willing and ready to help others. My family have benefited from her generosity, we're able to use space at one of the garden locations, whatever help/advice we need with gardening she's there. Organizations like self-sustaining communities are a must in each city.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Hossein K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.