Program Vision / Curriculum
After completion of the five-month training program, participants will be capable of (and well positioned in the local community) to create their own sole proprietorship businesses in Benicia and in Solano County. BCG will provide ongoing support to the Land Caretakers and their businesses, and where appropriate, will hire them for other BCG-sponsored projects and programs in the community.
We will also encourage our graduates to form a cooperative in which they can jointly offer sustainable edible landscaping services to local residents. (A cooperative arrangement would not prevent individual members from carrying their own licenses and establishing sole proprietorship businesses). The Land Caretakers will be able to transform residential landscapes into thriving ecosystems that provide food, inspiration, and beauty. The combined skill set should include: on-site water retention (bio-swales, rainwater catchment and diversion to landscaping), water re-use (laundry-to-landscape greywater systems and potentially, shower-to-landscape conversions), permaculture food forest design and management, incorporation of edible plants into existing landscapes, conversion of annual vegetable gardens into more perennial food forests; construction of a chicken coop/chicken run and guidance in chicken-keeping, understanding of basic bee-keeping.
Focus Areas of Land Caretakers Training:
- Permaculture and ecological / edible landscaping (perennial agricultural design and practices)
- Water re-use (rainwater harvest/retention; laundry-to-landscape greywater systems)
- Chicken-keeping as an integral part of a sustainable household
- Legal and business aspects of running a small sustainable/edible landscaping business
- Human aspect (working with clients, listening for their vision, offering guidance)
By completion of the Land Caretaker’s program, participants will be able to:
- Develop, design and start sole proprietorship businesses in sustainable edible landscaping;
- Understand and work with basic characteristics of land: sun, wind, soil, water movement;
- Demonstrate simple rainwater harvesting techniques including contour and diversion swales; roof rainwater catchment and diversion;
- Install simple laundry-to-landscape greywater systems;
- Convert established edible gardens into more sustainable, perennial-focused food producing ecosystems;
- Incorporate perennial and annual food producing plants into established ornamental landscapes;
- Establish a basic permaculture food forest*;
- Develop on-going maintenance plan for established edible landscapes, including further expansion and plant replacements (as needed);
- Consult homeowners on how to incorporate chicken-keeping into household routines, outlining procedures and chicken care “basics”;
- Understand basic beekeeping requirements and establish working relationships with professional beekeepers in Solano County (who can, in turn, incorporate bee colonies into sustainable landscapes of future clients);
- Understand basic legal requirements for urban agriculture in Solano County (zoning, small animal husbandry ordinances, beekeeping ordinances, other local rules and regulations relating to local food production and other practical sustainability activities);
- Understand small business start up and maintenance process, legal requirements, licensing, professional development
- Gain insights into working with clients – the human part and heart of any business.
*72-hour permaculture design training is recommended, but not required. Programs teaching permaculture design and techniques are offered in a few Bay Area locations ongoing.