yolo county

YoloShines: Yolo Farm to Fork

As we've shared, Yolo Farm to Fork is one of our favorite (most appetizing?) nonprofits. Like many small, scrappy organizations, F2F does a lot with a little, and their impact spans generations.

With our YoloShines program, Repower homeowners select a local nonprofit organization to which we donate $500. When the selected organization is one of our faves, our donation has even more meaning.

To wit, we would like to thank Davis resident Kirk Mills and his family for choosing Yolo Farm to Fork, and we are proud to donate $500. Here's an encapsulation of why the Mills family selected F2F:

The video on Yolo Farm to Fork's website really spoke to our family. We value buying local produce because it's delicious (mostly), but also because we know it has only traveled a short distance to our local store thereby creating less pollution in the traveling process. The idea of schools using local produce is so exciting. Even more exciting is the concept of school gardens. We know first hand how excited our son gets about our garden at home and how it makes him want to eat what he grows. It is truly a gift to see our son so excited about something so beneficial and positive that he will carry through his whole life.

Thank you, Kirk, for making a difference in our community. Please join the Mills family and Repower in supporting Yolo Farm to Fork.

YoloShines: Davis Schools Foundation

When homeowners in Yolo County go solar, we ask them to identify their favorite local nonprofit organization (aka, YoloShines). On behalf of El Macero residents Alan and Yuki Oshima, we are pleased to donate $500 to the Davis Schools Foundation. Here’s what the Oshimas had to say about DSF:

We realize the local schools can use all the help that they get for enriching the school experience. We were fortunate to have our four daughters attend local Davis schools. Three attended UC Davis, one Sacramento State University. All graduated with degrees. All are married have children and are working. We're very proud of them all.

This donation hits home with me, as the product of DJUSD schools (Birch Lane, Holmes, DHS) and the parent of an Emerson 8th grader and DHS junior. When you're the product of something great, oftentimes you take it for granted; when you're the parent of kids (involved in something great), too often you do not appreciate how good your children have it. I fall in to both camps!

Davis schools are great -- in my opinion -- because our community cares. We prioritize education, we celebrate accomplishment, and we support our schools.

Please join us in supporting Davis Schools Foundation, whether you're a product, parent or beneficiary of Davis schools. Click here to learn how you can support DSF, or contact DSF President Lori Duisenberg: 530-219-9033 info@davisschoolsfoundation.org.

And, thanks again to the Oshimas for making Yolo shine!

A great day, leading up to the Big Day of Giving

We have the fortune of helping homeowners go solar. In so doing, there are three particularly gratifying outcomes: Saving homeowners money, improving the environment (through clean energy), and giving back to our community.

Last Wednesday was a great day: We mailed ten $500 checks — $5,000 in total — to local causes, including Yolo Food Bank, Davis Schools Foundation, River City Rowing Club, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Progress Ranch, Davis High Girls Water Polo, and Make it Happen Yolo County.

The donations were made on behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners through our YoloShines program, aka our 2016 Big Year of Giving. Homeowners are not just repowering their homes and benefiting our planet, they’re also repowering our community. For this we are extremely grateful.

Leading up to the May 3 Big Day of Giving, we will share a bit about these tremendous Yolo nonprofits. In so doing, we invite you to join us in supporting the organizations and strengthening the fabric of our community. When you do so, a great day will be yours too!

YoloShines: Repowering community organizations

When we conceived RepowerYolo, we made two conscious commitments:

1. We will not solicit homeowners. No advertising, cold calls, direct mail or commission sales people.

2. We will reinvest in and support local nonprofit organizations; in other words (excuse the trite phase), repower our community.

The obvious residue of not knocking on doors, cold-calling homeowners, or peppering mail boxes with sales collateral is that we will sell less solar. We can live with that, because we strongly believe markets are conversations and nobody likes to be solicited (sans their permission). And, by eliminating sales/marketing/advertising costs, we significantly reduce the cost of going solar for friends and neighbors.

Furthermore, many an eye has been rolled at our community fundraising efforts: Why are you donating large amounts of money to nonprofits (when you could/should be pocketing the money to send your kids to college)? In simple terms, we believe RepowerYolo is a community program and our commitment to — and support of — local nonprofit organizations is a community dividend.

This community dividend is growing. To date, we have donated upwards of $23,000 to more than 25 local causes on behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners. And, in 2016, we created YoloShines: Every time a homeowner goes solar, we donate $500 in their name to their favorite Yolo County nonprofit.

The first four recipients of YoloShines donations in 2016 are Progress RanchYolo Crisis NurseryDavis Schools Foundation, and River City Rowing Club. 2016 is off to a great start … the future is bright for both homeowners who go solar and nonprofit organizations that stitch the fabric of our community.

Community Choice Energy: Coming to Yolo County?

I’ve had the — sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding — pleasure of working with a team of Davis residents to evaluate Community Choice Energy (CCE) for the city and county. Over the past year, our Community Choice Energy Advisory Committee has taken a deep dive into CCE: Does it make sense for our community and, if so, what’s the best approach? Last night we had a productive discussion with the Davis Chamber of Commerce's Government Relations Committee, and our committee is nearing a recommendation to the City Council.

In simple terms, CCE provides PG&E ratepayers with a second option for their electricity source. Competition — providing customers with options — is, of course, good for a market, particularly when the sole provider is a regulated, investor-owned monopoly. Under CCE programs, PG&E continues to manage the grid and deliver customer service. Status quo. Except, CCE (it’s happening in Marin and Sonoma Counties) reduces electricity costs for ratepayers while delivering cleaner energy.

CCE is not a slam dunk, here or elsewhere. Utilities will continue to fight to protect their entrenched monopolies. Ultimately, consumer choice is good … let the market work. And, if we can develop additional renewable energy resources locally (and keep the dollars here, versus filling PG&E’s pockets), our local economy will benefit.

You can learn more about the City’s CCE assessment here.

And, on Feb. 11 (6:30 at the Vet’s) we are facilitating a public forum to elaborate CCE and engage community input. Please join.

Or, of course, feel free to give us a call if you'd like to learn more.

Make plans: 2016 Capay Organic events

Capay Organic and Farm Fresh to You are Yolo County treasures. At our home, it's a bi-weekly treat to receive our produce box ... inspires us to cook new and healthy eats. Better yet, a visit or two to Capay Organic's beautiful farm in Capay Valley is a treat. Check that: A must do! 

Get to know your farmer, harvest your own fruits and veggies, ride the tractor-tram, picnic near the fields and participate in Capay's fun farm activities.

Here's their just-released 2016 schedule of events:

February 25 | Seasonal Dinner*, Mulvaney's B&L Restaurant, Sacramento (Benefiting the Health Education Council) 

March 12 | Farm Tour, Capay

April 16 | Farm Tour and 5K Fun Run*, Capay

May 7 | Cinco de Mayo Festival*, Capay

June 4 | Outstanding in the Field, Capay

July 16 | Capay Tomato Festival*, Capay

August 20 | Farm Tour, Capay

September 17 | Capay Crush Festival*, Capay

October 15 | Farm Tour, Capay

November | Seasonal Dinner*, San Francisco (Benefiting the SF-Marin Food Bank)

FARM TOUR ADMISSION:$5 per adult | Children 12 and under FREE!

No RSVP necessary for Farm Tours. Just come out and have fun!

FESTIVAL ADMISSION:$15 per adult | Cinco de Mayo

$20 per adult | Capay Tomato

$15 per adult | Capay Crush

Children 12 and under FREE!

For more information go to WWW.FARMFRESHTOYOU.COM

THE GREAT Reed + Susan Youmans

I broke bread and had a drink (okay, two) last night with one of my faves, Reed Youmans. Reed and his family own Hallmark Properties, a business -- I see it as a platform -- that enables them to enrich our community. The Youmans' are beyond benevolent; they put their community first. 

Our bread-breaking, drink-drinking gathering was a belated celebration of Reed and his wife, Susan's, recent honor: the Covell Award (aka, the Davis Citizen of the Year). Here's a great article elaborating the award.

Beyond cool. Extremely proud. And, Reed was floored when he was notified of the award, which floored and moved me.

Join the community in celebrating Davis and honoring Reed and Susan Saturday, February 13 at the Chamber of Commerce's annual awards gala. You can learn more – and buy tickets - here.

The Opportunity to Grow Fresh Food and Understanding

[Originally published October 22, 2015]

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

The benefits of all the love, sweat, time, dollars and meticulous care showered upon Holmes Junior High’s garden are rippling outward. Integrated, experiential learning about the beauty of fresh, nutritious food and the art of preparing it deliciously are becoming available to all. Who threw the first stone that is causing all the ripples? Keri Hawkins, Garden Coordinator of Holmes Junior High’s gardening project.

"Thank you for supporting our school gardens! They are a wonderful place for children to unwind and learn through doing."

--Keri Hawkins, Garden Coordinator, Holmes Junior High

In 2012, Keri inherited a neglected, overgrown, weedy mess. But she saw the potential right away to cultivate far more than vegetables, herbs and flowers. The art and cooking classrooms opened to the garden with its courtyard, and the garden could benefit both with gorgeous subjects for still lifes and fresh ingredients for culinary masterpieces and learning about nutrition.

She envisioned the impact the garden could have on the lives of children of all physical and mental abilities. Keri also saw the potential of the garden to provide the enriching experience for collaboration amongst the diverse students. Keri said that her aim is “to make the garden accessible to students of all abilities and to have the students working side by side.”

In 2013, Keri and the students replanted the garden to be low maintenance. In 2014, she had the idea to sell pumpkins in order to raise the money for the gardening program. The Esparto Lions donated the pumpkins and $1,000 was raised, with a matching grant fromTandem Grants. “The garden is truly a community garden. The more people involved, the greater the community ownership of the garden,” she said.

Keri applied her Masters in Architecture to designing tables that were accessible by wheelchair. She gave the designs to Holmes' tech teacher, Lance Gunnersen, and his students, who built the tables and entered them in the State Fair. After the fair, the tables came home to the courtyard next to the garden.

Keri then designed a potting table accessible to all users. She and her enthusiastic team pulled out everything from the existing Zen Garden, a part of the overall garden and courtyard areas, and Dave Leveque, Holmes teacher Deanna Leveque’s husband, built the framework for the Zen Garden. Sadly, with the drought, the water to the garden was cut-off and everything died.

After the potting table came a three-tier planter box, again with the idea that students of all abilities would be able to access it. Avery Phimmasehn, a BoyScout, helped design the planter box, and then built it to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. The planter now boasts seasonal beauty and bounty, replete with beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, kale, lettuce, kohlrabi and cilantro, which are quite often enjoyed immediately after picking.  Special Ed life skills are taught in the garden, where students learn about the tools and feel the utter satisfaction of using them.

The garden and courtyard are thriving, but there one more step before it can be truly accessible to all. In wet weather, the wheelchairs get stuck in the muddy pathways. Keri said that, to remedy this, they need the garden's remaining area graded. And they also need decomposed granite for the space. Please EMAIL KERI if you'd like to help with the grading or donate the decomposed granite. 

Yolo Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Fundraising Campaign makes Davis Farm to School programs possible. For example, last year, Yolo Farm to Fork contributed $250 to Holmes’s garden for garden supplies and plants, with the PTA matching the amount.

These restaurants are digging in to help educate Yolo’s children to live sustainably throughout the month of October. Eat well and help Yolo’s children learn about fresh, healthy food, recycling, and respecting the planet and one another.

Bon  Appétit!

The Savory Café

722-A Main Street, Woodland

DIG IN SPECIAL: Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Lamb Sogu

Café Italia (The Dancing Tomato Café)

1121 Richards Boulevard, Davis


Maria’s Cantina

306 Sixth Street, Woodland


Dos Coyotes (both Davis locations)

2191 Cowell Blvd., Davis | 1411 W. Covell Blvd. #7

DIG IN SPECIAL: Banh Mi Taco Plate

Jack’s Urban Eats (All Locations)

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fresh Harvest Salad

Broderick Road House

319 Sixth Street, West Sacramento

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fiesta Burger


317 Second Street, Woodland


Kitchen 428

First and Bush Streets, Woodland


Osteria Fasulo

2657 Portage Bay East #8, Davis


El Macero Country Club’s Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Sunlight

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

What does solar energy have to do with Chef Rachael Levine’s Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding, her new creation for Yolo Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Campaign? For starters, both benefit Yolo’s children.

RepowerYolo, solar energy locally grown, is a Gold Sponsor of Dig In Yolo! In support of Yolo Farm to Fork’sschool programs, we’re donating $500 for every Yolo Farm to Fork supporter who goes solar with us.

El Macero Country Club’s Chef Levine created her Dig In Yolo! special especially to benefit Yolo Farm to Fork’s school programs. Partake. Enjoy. Invite your friends. For every order of the special, El Macero Country Club donates $5. Gladness! You now have the perfect excuse to eat dessert.

Here is the skinny, straight from El Macero Country Club:

"El Macero Country Club has partnered with Yolo Farm to Fork to open our private dining program to the local community. We are delighted to share our passion for sustainable, healthy living by helping to raise awareness and funding for edible school gardens. Our Club menus feature fresh, seasonally inspired dishes that range from casual and fine cuisine. The month of October features a Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding, $5 of each sale will be donated to Yolo Farm to Fork. Please join us Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings. Service is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and by reservation only. Club dining room attire is business casual. To make a reservation, please call 530-753-3363.”

Bon Appétit, Yolo County!

RISE and Shine! Dining Out Helps Yolo's Kids

[Originally published October 9, 2015]

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

It really does takes a whole village to raise a child. And we’re continually astounded at the willingness and generosity of Yolo’s citizens to dig in. Whether the harvest is sunshine, vegetables, or healthier living, we celebrate all the good people who are repowering our community with their passion, expertise and time by teaching Yolo’s children to live sustainably. RISE (Recycling Is Simply Elementary) is a Davis Farm to School program that receives support from Yolo Farm to Fork.

Joy Klineberg has been overseeing RISE at Willett Elementary School for four years now, where she trains sixth graders to train their schoolmates to recycle. “When I was PTA president, the recycling role needed filling. I took it on and the rest is history,” she said. Each sixth grader serves two 1-week shifts during the year. The RISE student mans the recycling and trash area to helps their compadres understand what goes where and why. The peer-to-peer approach is really effective.  

Joy donates her stipend for overseeing the schools’ recycling from the District to help fund the sixth graders’ outdoor education week in Pollock Pines. The district pays her stipend from the money recycling saves them. (It’s costly to haul all the garbage away to landfill.)

“RISE gives me a chance to interact with the kids,” she said. “I’m charmed by the little first grader who is trying to throw her sandwich away when no one is looking.” Joy also presents Why Recycling Matters, a PowerPoint, to the school children.

Davis Farm to School’s role is on the administrative side. They advocate for and manage RISE, negotiate the stipend, and provide pilot programs for all the elementary schools. “RISE is in the Davis junior high schools to varying degrees, although most of them don’t do composting,” said Joy.

We love being a Gold Sponsor of Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Fundraising Campaign that raises money for Davis Farm to School’s programs, including RISE. Here’s the skinny. Some Yolo County restaurants have created Dig In Yolo! Specials and, every time you order the special, the restaurant will donate to Davis Farm to School. Other restaurants are contributing in different ways. 

These restaurants are digging in to help educate Yolo’s children to live sustainably throughout the month of October. Bon  Appétit!

The Savory Café

722-A Main Street, Woodland

DIG IN SPECIAL: Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Lamb Sogu

Café Italia (The Dancing Tomato Café)

1121 Richards Boulevard, Davis


Maria’s Cantina

306 Sixth Street, Woodland


Dos Coyotes (both Davis locations)

2191 Cowell Blvd., Davis | 1411 W. Covell Blvd. #7

DIG IN SPECIAL: Banh Mi Taco Plate

Jack’s Urban Eats (All Locations)

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fresh Harvest Salad

Broderick Road House

319 Sixth Street, West Sacramento

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fiesta Burger


317 Second Street, Woodland


Kitchen 428

First and Bush Streets, Woodland


Osteria Fasulo

2657 Portage Bay East #8, Davis


Savory Café Digs In to Help Yolo’s Children Learn About the Beauty of Fresh, Local Food

[Originally published October 2, 2015]

By Jennifer Ann Gordon, Repower Yolo's Storyteller

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

“Yolo County is one of the best places on earth to be, as far as food is concerned. The variety and abundance of fresh food available here is wonderful.”

—Juan Barajas, Co-owner of the Savory Café

Savory Café, located at 722-A Main Street in Woodland, is celebrating the soft launch of their dinner menu tonight—Friday, October 1, 5-9 PM. The restaurant décor has been refreshed and refined, with the staff at the ready, the environment cordial, and the menu reflective of local agricultural.

Savory Café owners, Kristin Hansen and brothers Juan and Tobi Barajas, design their menus to offer healthier alternatives using local produce. The variety and versatility of food grown and harvested in Yolo County inspires them.

Juan and Tobi have come from a long line of passionate cooks. Their mother is the second oldest of fifteen siblings. “My mother learned a lot of wonderful tricks in the kitchen from my grandmother,” said Juan.

Savory’s owners are keenly aware that Yolo Farm to Fork’s program, Davis Farm to School, plays a vital role in teaching our children where healthy food comes from and the creative ways it can be prepared. “We want children to be adventurous eaters and to become familiar with the wide variety of produce available,” said Juan. 

To this end, Savory Café has created a signature, seasonal dish to help raise money for Dig In Yolo!Yolo Farm to Fork’s fundraising campaign—to support its  Davis Farm to School gardening and RISE (Recycling is Simply Essential) programs.

Magic happens when culinary creativity and mastery combines with locally-resourced ingredients. Enter Savory Café’s tender, seasonal dish of Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi, with Skyelark Ranch Lamb Sugo (a classic meat sauce), their lovingly created Dig In Yolo! special. Savory Café will donate a percentage of each Dig In Yolo! special ordered to Yolo Farm to Fork to help sustain their school programs.

Yes! Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi, with Skyelark Ranch Lamb Sugo made with wine and aromatic spices. A definite palate pleaser! Supporting Davis Farm to School and RISE is even more delicious, knowing that the lamb was resourced from Skyelark Ranch—a pasture-based livestock ranch in Capay Valley, where the animals are raised humanely and with respect—known for their exceptional quality meat and eggs. Savory Café also offers award-winning wines by Route 3, located in Yolo County’s Dunnigan Hills.

Repower Yolo is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of Dig In Yolo!  Hats off to Yolo Farm to ForkDavis Farm to School, and RISE! Hats off to Savory Café! And hats off to Yolo County for caring so deeply about its children! It’s fascinating and, often, surprising the way everything and everyone are connected…somehow. We love Yolo!

Enjoy your Organic Butternut Gniocchi with Lamb Sugo at Savory Cafe! With every bite, you can smile knowing that you're helping Yolo's children learn how to live sustainably. 

Savory Café’s Breakfast and Lunch Hours:

Monday-Friday       7:30 AM-2 PM

Saturday                 8 AM-2 PM

Sunday                   8 AM-1:30 PM

Beginning on Thursday, October 8, Savory Café’s regular Dinner Hours will be Thursday-Saturday, 5-9 PM.

Savory Café Website

Savory Café on Facebook

PG&E’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) is Wonderfully Simple

[Originally posted September 1, 2015]

PG&E’s accounting methodology for solar homeowners (aka, Net Energy Metering) is wonderfully simple. It’s the bill credit mechanism that makes solar lucrative for Yolo County homeowners. Unfortunately, many solar homeowners we speak with are caught off guard when they receive their annual “true up” bill from PG&E. In all of these cases, the homeowners have leased their solar system from a national company and said that the company's salesperson did not explain the process.

To wit, when you have solar, here’s how it works:

1. You are enrolled in PG&E’s Net Energy Metering program, and you have a 20-year contract with PG&E whereby they are required to credit you for the solar electricity you generate.

2. When you generate electricity, you are credited at the full retail price (per kilowatt hour), the same rate you pay when you use electricity.

3. As a solar homeowner, you only pay your PG&E electricity bill once a year. Every month, PG&E sends you a Net Energy Metering statement, quantifying and valuing your net electricity use. Some months, you are a net generator (you make more electricity than you use) and PG&E owes you money; conversely, there are months where you use more electricity than you generate and you owe PG&E money.

4. At the end of your 12-month solar year with PG&E, you receive an annual true-up, reconciling each month’s net electricity use. Thereby, if you were a net user, you pay PG&E; if you were a net generator, PG&E pays you.

It’s that simple. Please feel free to contact us — whether you already have solar or are considering it — if you have any questions.

One Year After Going Solar: PG&E True-Up

[Originally posted July 2, 2015]

Happy Repower homeowner Fred Lee went solar a year ago. Yesterday, he emailed us the numbers on his ROI in Solar. Here is what he wrote:

Subject: PGE True-up on our one year of solar cells

PGE has just released the "true-up" on our one year of our solar cells use. 

Last year, before installation of the solar cells, we paid PGE over $5550 for use of electricity. 

The True Up total electric use was $452.20, i.e., our total electric use cost during the past year compared to solar cell generation was a negative $452.20. Therefore we have saved about $6,000 last year as a result of solar cell generation and our reduced rate of electricity use. 

During the past year, we paid $210/month on the Yolo Federal [Credit Union] loan that enabled us to purchase the solar cells. We also saved about $11,000 in our 2014 federal tax credit due to the solar cell purchase.

Thanks for all your help in obtaining our solar cells.  


Sunlight Feeds Yolo’s Hungry

[Originally published May 27, 2015]

In 2014, Repower had the pleasure of supporting more than 25 Yolo County nonprofits. Every time a Yolo County homeowner goes solar with us, we donate money to a local organization. You repower your home with sunlight and we help repower our community. What's not to love?

One of our favorite nonprofits is Yolo Food Bank. Yolo Food Bank feeds 17,000 households each month. This year, when you go solar with Repower, we will donate $500 to Yolo Food Bank in your name. That’s one meal a day for a year: Feed 1,500!

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We perform a no-cost solar analysis to review your PG&E bills and evaluate available roof space to help you determine if solar is a good investment for your home.

  2. We evaluate and explain multiple financing options, including programs with no up-front cash outlay, to help you choose the one that’s best for you.

  3. We manage the entire solar process—design, permitting, installation, and financing—for you.

RepowerYolo leverages the power of group purchasing. Combined with Yolo Food Bank's  buying power - through bulk and wholesale purchasing - Repower saves you $3,000-10,000 on your solar installation and the Food Bank stretches each dollar donated to equal $5.50 in food value. That means that your solar system will give Yolo Food Bank $2,750 worth of food to help wipe out hunger in our community.