Benicia Sustainable Backyard
The goal of our newest program, “Benicia Sustainable Backyard”, is to introduce Benicia to the concept and practice of permaculture, and over the course of two years ( 2015-2017) create 10 permaculture “food forests,” on both private and public land. Each backyard food forest will be partly irrigated by a newly installed laundry-to-landscape greywater system. The square footage of all of the food forests combined will add up to one acre of land producing food for the community, reusing water, storing rainwater through higher organic composition of the soil, improving air quality and contributing to the long-term food security of our town. The program was unanimously recommended by the Community Sustainability Commission and is partially funded through the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement.
All of the food forest installations completed by our Benicia Sustainable Backyard crew will be open to the public. Any community member can participate in the installation events, which take place over the course of a few days. Participants have the opportunity to gain hands-on skills on how to prepare a site, choose and place plants, install greywater and drip irrigation systems, and how to take care of food forests in the future.
As a part of this Program, we envision a “Benicia Community Farm” – a distributed urban farm, where many members of the community – with some already doing so – produce a wide variety of food in their own backyards and homes, with surplus food to share, swap or barter! Imagine the increasing availability, right here in Benicia, of an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, raw honey, even fish!
The Food Forests:
Terri and Steve’s 700 sq. ft. front yard was transformed into a productive food forest that can be easily accessed by all ages. It is a space they plan to share with friends and neighbors well into the future.
Nam and Rob’s 1,700 sq. ft. food forest is creating an outlet for their young children to explore the natural environment. They plan to open the food forest to nearby schools, organizations, and community members.
Heather and Frank’s vision to create an outdoor living and learning space in their family’s 1,200 sq. ft. backyard is being realized. Their food forest will be a place for the community to share information, knowledge, skills, and food.
Kirsten and Nicholas’ first home came with a 1,700 sq. ft. “concrete jungle”. It has since been transformed into a bountiful and serene food forest, which includes space for their dog Barley.
Sandy and Peter love growing food and sharing the bounty with those in need. Transforming their family’s 1,600 sq. ft. backyard into a food forest will provide them and their three children with nutritious produce that they can share with other members of the community.
Wendy and John believe that we need to teach our children how to grow our own food in a sustainable way that is not only healthy for us but all living creatures. Their 2,000 sq. ft. front yard food forest will be a classroom for their children (as well as the community), and a space that provides food and water for the local wildlife.
Stacy and Leslie are looking forward to pushing their gardening skills and visions far beyond what they ever imagined for their yard. With their newfound knowledge, they hope to transform the rest of their garden in a few years and that others watching their garden become so productive are inspired to take a leap of inspiration and create a sustainable yard as well. Leslie and Stacy envision eventually even having boxes on the street to share the garden’s bounty with their neighbors.