I was able to visit Soil Born Farms for their Regenerative Ag Farm Tour yesterday and it was amazing to see the diversity of techniques and habitats they are creating. In their plans are agroforestry with native oaks and elderberry, and native grasslands with grazing. Soil Born is abuzz with activity and you can see the volunteers weeding the garlic beds and different groups mulching and attending other classes – I recommend a visit and using their classes to learn how to best grow food in your own yardscape.

Founder Shawn Harrison explained how they are converting weedy fields to permanent annual beds by limiting disturbance, cycling cover crops with solarization, and adding biology such as compost full of microorganisms and mycorrhizae. They are regenerating the soil so it continues to improve and become more productive as they add the biological inputs. It’s a huge contrast to the conventional agriculture you see where plowed fields kill all the microorganisms along with the plantlife and expose the soil to the elements, then add chemical fertilizers to get crops to grow in the sterile medium. Kiss the Ground movie is a great primer.

There’s a parallel in our urban fabric. Most of our region is auto-based suburbs and strip malls that lack life and vibrancy, just like those empty fields you see exposed to the sun. Our task with Sacramento National Park City is to regenerate the region by adding nature and life. It means planting trees and adding gardens, reducing paving and making opportunities for walking and biking, and adding art and creativity. It’s incremental and everyone can play a part, and in the end we can live in a place filled with diverse nature and art where exploring is a joy – just like that rich soil Soil Born is growing delicious veggies in. Our first big initiative is starting up in April with a Festival to celebrate all the great things to explore in the region and we’ll regenerate from there. Stay tuned!

Arbor Week, Hanami, and Green Drinks Are Here

Eventhough it’s been cold, the blossoms are starting to spread around town and remind us of our beautiful trees getting ready to shade us all summer! We have to celebrate early in CA, so Arbor Week starts now! Sacramento Tree Foundation gives you some tips on how to Hanami by enjoying the cherry blossoms and is planning a whole new experience for us next year.

Come out to Green Drinks March 15 to hear what the plans are and how you can help grow our urban forest – they also have plantings coming up.

To get a better feel and get in the mindset for Hanami, check out this short story from Possible City – I love this quote in particular – “Alighting on the mainland side would be quicker, but he goes one stop further, exiting on the island. In the ensuing walk, there is always something to notice that makes his day a little bit better. Well worth the extra time, Kawaguchi thinks.”

Challenge: Look for something in your city every day that brings you delight and makes your day a little better! An unexpected delight! Feel free to share what you find!

Saving Open Space

With the state and nation setting goals to conserve 30% of our land by 2030 I’ve wondered what our baseline in the Sacramento area is. Turns out it’s only 7%, so we have a long way to go here! If you would like to hear what local land

trusts are doing to try and preserve more habitat and working lands in our region we did a presentation for ECOS Habitat 2020 Committee March 2023 that is recorded below. We need to pick up the pace and scale of conservation and need your voice with us!

The first 8 minutes are introductions of the people on the call, so you may want to skip that!

Learning Ops

Some great ones coming fast!

Thursday the Spring Speaker Series kicks off at Camp Pollock with Vernal Pools – I’ve always heard of Carol Witham and excited to hear her expertise! Sac Splash has their Critter Walks to tour the pools on March 5 and 19 so reserve a spot.

Friday Atrium 916 is hosting a eco-concious gallery opening, wine, and art-making with a chance to meet the artists. Reserve a spot here.

Need to learn how to prune your fruit trees? Dominic Allamano is leading a series of workshops all around town with Alchemist CDC, Del Paso Heights Grower’s Alliance, and others starting this Saturday and Sunday.

Need to get plants for spring planting? Miridae Mobile Nursery will be out at Sudwerk in Davis and Grounded in Midtown this weekend!

And Green Drinks will be hosting a Climate Resiliency Workshop next Wednesday (2/15). National Park City is planning a month long festival highlighting events like this and more in April and May, so if you want to get involved come on down to Green Drinks at Leftys and meet us!

Good things coming in 23

Next year has a lot of great projects are starting that have potential to improve our region! The new Del Rio Trail that will connect Land Park south to Freeport will move dirt, Broadway will finally get a road diet that will make it much safer for bikes and ped crossings, SACOG funded a new trail in Citrus Heights along with Del Rio. Getting Around Sacramento thinks we did well with Active Transportation funding this year with 7 transformative projects supported from the state. Plus there is good news on addressing food deserts with grant awards to 17 groups including Alchemist CDC to expand access at farmers markets.

So a lot to track and support next year! What is missing for our region is large scale urban greening and habitat protection projects getting funded – we have to keep working on those so we get our fair share of everything the state is putting out there!

What in the World?

Part of the fun of this National Park City initiative is we get to collaborate and learn with groups all over the globe! Right now there is a ton going on that you can join in!

  • River to River Trail meeting – Founders of the SF Crosstown Trail and Boston’s Walking City Trail are in town for CIM and want to meet with help with our own Instant Urban Trail at Oak Park Brewing Sunday, Dec 4 at 3:30pm.
  • Our National Park City partners in Galway, Chattanooga, Chicago, Belfast and Glasglow are putting on their first webinar on Urban Greenways and Blueways with lots to share – I hope they record it since it will be 3am our time – that’s one of the challenges with these international things!
  • National Park Cities created a new collaboration group we are participating in. Let me know if you would like to be added!
  • Biophilic Cities reports on how nature based solutions have been integrated into Cities4Diversity in 35 cities in 16 countries with tons we could apply here.
  • The Nature of Cities is inspiring us with ideas about building a sustainable ecological culture that is informing our vision for Sacramento – I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter.

That’s just a taste. In January we are going to launch in person meetings to see how we can apply all this locally!

916 Day

Our September list was missing a key event we just learned about – 916 Day! Celebrate the City of Trees with plantings in council districts around the city – and not all of them are on the 16th – a lot seem to be on the 10th and the 17th, but the Garcia Bend celebration happens on the real day! Parks are the gems in our National Park City crown so come out and show them some love – seeking 916 volunteers. Keep watering those trees too – I’ve seen a lot of parched leaves falling early and you don’t want to lose that investment!

September is Packed

Mark your calendars for some outdoor fun – some of our favorite events are coming right up! Chalk it Up is a Labor Day weekend fixture and the creative festival at Fremont Park is getting an expansion with Natomas Garden and Arts Club having a special event on Saturday only – stop by and check it out!

History is one of the things we celeberate and Preservation Sacramento is having their Historic Home Tour Sept 18. Get your tickets early and stop by our table to say “hi” and talk National Park City.

Give back by helping cleanup the Parkway on Sept 17 with American River Parkway Foundation and Sac Picks it Up! If that day doesn’t work Sac Picks it Up! is hosting multiple cleanups every week and making a huge difference for our environment – join in and get to it!

The big event is the Farm-to- Fork Festival Sept 8-24 with all kinds of events for you to enjoy tasting, listening, and using all your senses! I see a night Street Food fair on R Street is Sept 10 and the music on the 23rd and 24th look great! SABA is planning a social ride to parks that weekend that could end up there too!

Last thing not to be missed is Porchfest! It’s what every porch wants to be and showcases some of the best things in Sacramento. OK it is October 1, but you’ve been warned in advance so you don’t miss out. Get out a calendar and plan to hit all these things!

City Designed by Trees

Ever thought about what our city would be if trees designed it? The Possible City considers the long term thinking and celebration in their exhibition and story The Dance of Thousands of Years that just opened in Seoul!

“a tree’s body,
record of a dance
that’s lasted thousands of years

can we remember
the steps?”

How would this oak that lived long before the street was paved have wanted it designed?

They ask – What if we listened to the voice of the trees, how might the things we hear transform the landscape of a city over years, decades, centuries? Here in the City of Trees we have so many to listen to – try it and share what you hear!

Celebrating with some magnolia blooms!
This one along the Parkway is very happy!

Designing our city like a tree would fits nicely with how we want a National Park City – share your ideas on our What If page as we build our vision for what it will be!

Green Drinks and Recruiting

Green Drinks is back and highlighting us this Thursday at New Helvetia! Come on down and say hi! We’re starting to ramp up our campaign and if you’ve been on the sidelines and want to help out now is the right time to join – you can have a say in what Sacramento National Park City means and how it rolls out.

It’s been really fun starting this campaign virtually by meeting so many great local partners, and our last network call had people from all over the world participating – New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands, UK, Korea, and Chattanooga! (Funny none of them had heard of Green Drinks either!) If you can’t make it Thursday drop me a note and we can talk about how to get involved.

PS -Happy Hour is til 6 so come a little early!