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Self-Sustaining Communities, a charitable 501(c)(3) serving Richmond communities to help create urban farms, city-wide food production, and greening, is seeking to expand to a larger site where farm animals are allowed, an orchard, vegetable beds, a small aquaponics set-up, and the space to create some natural building structures. This would be a respite for some from the stresses and challenges in Richmond, while also expanding our skills and training levels.
We are looking for at least an acre or two but more is welcome, which can be either donated, purchased, or used very long-term. We would like a living structure already in place there, with water.
You can see more of our work at www.facebook.com/self-sustainingcommunities
Self-Sustaining Communities (SSC) is a Richmond, CA, organization working with low-income residents and community members to create wide-scale, environmentally sustainable local food production in distressed and needy neighborhoods. An entirely volunteer organization, SSC has helped launch three urban farms in low income, high crime areas of Richmond since 2010—Parchester Village, North Richmond, and the S.W. Richmond Annex. These projects have engaged a wide spectrum of the community, from the mayor to recently released offenders, in a “from-the-ground-up process” to reclaim and rejuvenate abandoned and blighted parcels and make them hubs of productivity.
The ‘seeds’ of the current SSC projects began with the idea to distribute fruit trees in low-income areas of the East Bay, mostly in West Contra Costa County, as a way to establish a simple but long-lasting means of food cultivation, and introduce a much-needed natural systems element into the environment. Since 2009, over 9,400 fruit, nut and olive trees have been donated and distributed in Richmond and elsewhere, as well as several thousand packets of vegetable and herb seeds. Drawing upon donations from individuals and businesses, Self-Sustaining Communities has distributed chickens to interested residents, and has provided an incubator and fertile eggs to numerous kindergarten classes. Donated materials and labor have been organized to support an urban farm in the Iron Triangle and more recently for a similar initiative in Atchison Village. Enabling mutual endeavors to proceed, through sharing of resources and information, is a core value of the organization.
Chickens, rabbits, beehives, worm bins, aquaponics, rainwater harvesting set-ups, fruit trees and vegetable beds are either all up and running or are in various stages of completion at all of SSC’s projects. Solar energy provided by portable panels drives pumping and other systems needing power. The majority of these projects use recycled or reused materials whenever possible, obtained at no cost, to demonstrate both affordability and resource efficiency to other low income neighborhoods. As they are established, farms become the venue for free workshops offered to the community, for example on beehive building and swarm catching. Each urban farm also is available for viewing or participation by schools, community members, community service workers and other volunteers.