A Thank You For...

alt Windy Flat RV, San Pablo, donates a trailer for the 2.2 acre farm.  (September, 2015).

treeDave Wilson Nursery donates 230 peach and nectarine trees for Richmond residents.  (February 2015). 

Bill Graham Supporting Foundation, awards Self-Sustaining Communities a supporting grant. (December, 2014)

         Robert J. and Lim Duca donate 2.2 acres in San Pablo (December, 2014)

cherryDuarte Trees and Vines donates 450 citrus and fruit trees (October, 2014) for residents in Richmond, CA.

altAnnie's Annuals for hundreds of vegetable starts for home, community gardens and urban farms in Richmond, CA.  2014

altNutiva partners with Self-Sustaining Communities to provide for organic gardens in the backyards of transitional homes of Bary Dugar for the formerly incarcerated and the homeless in Richmond, CA.  July, 2014.

cherryTom Burchell of Burchell Nursery personally delivers 850 cherry, apricot, nectarine and peach trees to Richmond residents in honor of Cesar Chavez.  Burchell Nursery (March, 2014)

awardThe Strong Foundation for Environmental Values, awards Self-Sustaining Communities a grant. (March, 2014)

altThe Lifchitz Family Foundation for their donation for social justice in Richmond, California.

altTerroir Seeds, Cornucopia Seeds, Redwood Seeds, Bountiful Gardens, and SmartSeedStore for the donation of surplus 2013 seeds (January and February 2014)

treeDave Wilson Nursery donates 500 plum, cherry, apricot, Asian pear and peach trees for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service in Richmond, CA.  (Jan. 2014)

awardBill Graham Supporting Foundation, awards Self-Sustaining Communities a supporting grant. (December, 2013)

cherryDuarte Trees and Vines donates 300 citrus and fruit trees (October, 2013) for residents in Richmond, CA.

cherryTom Burchell of Burchell Nursery does it again by making a donation of 320 pomegranate trees, olive trees and blueberry bushes specifically for the North Richmond Green Festival.  Burchell Nursery (October, 2013)

cherryTom Burchell of Burchell Nursery personally appears to make a donation of and distribute 800 peach, nectarine, cherry, apricot, apple, pear and plum trees to Richmond.  Burchell Nursery (March, 2013)

treeDave Wilson Nursery donates 210 fruit trees and the City of Richmond staff pick them up and distribute them.  (Feb. 2013)

awardPiton Engineering for their donation and support.  (January, 2013)

awardBill Graham Supporting Foundation, awards Self-Sustaining Communities a supporting grant. (December, 2012)

awardThe Rose Foundation, Environmental Grassroots Fund, awards Self-Sustaining Communities a Watershed protection grant and an Environmental Grassroots grants.  (November and December, 2012).

cherryDuarte Trees and Vines donates 250 bluberry bushes, raspberry canes and table grape vines (November, 2012) for residents in Richmond, CA.

tree McEvoy Ranch donates 1,000 Tuscan olive trees for Richmond residents. (September, 2012) and an additional 1,000 in October of 2012.

Thanks to the El Cerrito United Methodist Church for including in their ministry plan a partnership with Self-Sustaining Communities.

cherry Pro-Tree Nurseries donates 1,308 Apple and Cherry trees. (April, 2012)

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The Self directs the functioning of the whole psyche in an integrated way. According to Carl Jung, conscious and unconscious are not necessarily in opposition to one another, but complement one another to form a totality, which is the Self.
(Excerpt from Personality and Personal Growth 6th ed. Frager & Fadiman, 2005)

By On April 17, 2014

News Report, Edgardo Cervano-Soto

Near the gazebo on the Richmond Greenway at Harbour Way, small trees bagged in plastic were spread out on a bed of wood chips. Families and Richmond residents huddled together, examining the trees by type: cherry, nectarine, peach. The apple trees were long gone – they’d been snapped up by the early birds.

The Tree, Seed & Veggie Giveaway on April 5 was the fifth time that Self Sustaining Communities, a Richmond nonprofit that promotes locally grown food, has distributed hundreds of fruit, nut, and olive trees to Richmond families and other local gardeners. To date, SSC has distributed over 11,000 trees in Richmond, says Linda Schneider, the organization’s founder and executive director.

She founded SSC in 2009. The organization focuses on working with residents of low-income, high-crime neighborhoods to create sustainable systems, like rainwater harvest systems. SSC has opened three gardens in Atchison Village and the Iron Triangle. In each project, SSC engages residents of the neighborhood, including youth, elders, and the formerly incarcerated. “This is our part of helping the community be green and involved in community transformation,” Schneider says.

Families and tree lovers alike came for the vegetable and flower starts, hundreds of seed packets, and the main attraction – trees of multiple varieties.

Alfonzo Jones, 18, was one of the volunteers; it was his first time at a tree giveaway. “It’s great – it’s bigger than what I expected,” he said. “I’ve learned more about trees today than [ever] before.”

Jones and the volunteer team at the giveaway are part of a new organization, TRUPP, or The Remember Us People Project, which supports the re-entry efforts of recently released offenders. TRUPP works to transition formerly incarcerated people who are on probation or parole back into society by providing a place to stay upon release, as well as aid in finding jobs.

Barry Dugar is the founding director of TRUPP; he was inspired by friendships he developed while in prison. “I myself spent six years in prison,” he says. “The men inside would tell me, ‘You’re lucky, Barry. You have a place to stay [when you’re released], but we don’t.’” The conversations he had with his friends about going home and being on parole inspired Dugar to create a transition program.

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Alfonzo Jones and Barry Dugar of TRUPP work together to ease the re-entry process for the formerly incarcerated in Richmond

TRUPP currently operates three transition houses and an employment support program. Since it started seven months ago, the organization has helped four former inmates successfully obtain jobs. Most parolees have only three months to find a job; failure to find one can qualify as a parole violation. Word about TRUPP has spread among Dugar’s former prison mates. “I have guys who knew me in prison that are calling for a place to stay, because they’ve heard of TRUPP inside the prison walls,” says Dugar.

The transition houses go farther than just providing a place to stay. Dugar says he focuses on care: “I try to instill in them that yes, we’ve made mistakes. Yet, we are human and we have the ability to care. We can care for others and do something.”

Jones describes Dugar as his mentor. “Barry took me under his wing and I am sort of his protégé,” says Jones. “I am helping in the transitional housing because he has a lot of older people who need help in cleaning up and getting their medicine. I do a lot of odd jobs around the house to help them feel good about themselves.”

For Dugar and Jones, working with formerly incarcerated people is a way of being involved in their whole community. Organizations like TRUPP and SSC are important in the project of building sustainable communities that can thrive.

Our Commitment

Our work/mission is 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.  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.

Given the collapse and dysfunction of the current economic situation, the unemployment, environmental issues and crime, creating a new model is an opportunity we have at hand, by utilizing grassroot efforts, community building and social technology, among others.