Food Agriculture & Nutrition Network of Solano County
Written by Solano County Public Health Intern Shannon Sweeney
Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan is the next FANNS Partner we are highlighting in our Get to Know FANNS series. She is the Local Food Program manager with Sustainable Solano. She describes Sustainable Solano as an organization that “nurtures initiatives for the good of the whole.” Prior to working for Sustainable Solano, Stephanie attended culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art where she received her Certificate of Professional Cooking. After that, she ran a catering business for 8 years in Chicago. Her favorite food is curry or anything with Indian spices.
Sustainable Solano is a “grassroots, countywide movement uniting people through work that aims to serve the future of Solano County, to promote ecologically regenerative, economically and socially just communities in a world that works for everyone.” The organization was founded in 1999 under the name Benicia Community Gardens as an all-volunteer organization. As their organization’s work grew beyond community gardening, they changed their name to better reflect their mission and work. Click here to learn more about Sustainable Solano.
Their work has six focus areas including: air quality, green infrastructure, local food, food rescue, community conversations, workforce development, and youth engagement. They collaborate with Food is Free Bay Area, another FANNS Partner, on their Vallejo Food Rescue program. The program collects extra food from “neighborhood gleaning initiatives, college cafeterias, small and large catering companies, and other providers.” This food is “diverted from the landfill directly to communities most impacted by COVID-19 and other systemic inequalities.”
Chef Stephanie oversees the Local Food program which includes cooking classes, local food maps, recipes, and other food and agriculture related community resources. Sustainable Solano has just under 50 cooking classes posted on their website hosted by Stephanie and other chefs from the Solano community. On top of that, they have a large recipe section using seasonal local foods. The Covid-19 Pandemic lead to the classes being online which furthered the reach of the classes. In the classes they focus on different holiday meals, types of cuisine, and elements of meals. Chef Stephanie reuses the recipes from Sustainable Solano’s Cooking Classes in her own life. She recently made the grilled vegetable ratatouille from their “Grill It Cooking Class” for her own family. The classes have a larger reach that than expected because they were posted online. Viewers of the classes ranged from Solano community members to those watching from Australia and England. Click here to view Sustainable Solano’s recipes & classes.
Stephanie and Sustainable Solano are committed to promoting local foods. Stephanie highlights Community Supported Agriculture boxes to connect community members directly with farmers. CSA boxes are regular subscriptions of boxes filled with fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, and dairy depending on what the farm produces. Sustainable Solano has a list of local CSAs on their website. Community Supported Agriculture programs create a way for community members to buy a share of the harvest directly from local farmers. Community Supported Agriculture Boxes are a great way to buy food directly from farmers.
As a network, we hope to connect community members with local food sources. We also hope to provide information on nutritious cooking. We appreciate Stephanie and Sustainable Solano’s commitment to these goals. Thank you to Stephanie for interviewing with us and her contributions to the FANNS Network.