May 27, 2013

The Sol Collective Sows Seeds for a Brighter Future

How one organization boosts the commons in Sacramento, California

Founded in 2003, Sol Collective is a community-based meeting space in Sacramento, California that uses art, education, and technology for community empowerment. The nonprofit is led by a dynamic team of volunteers, educators, and activists—community members dedicated to fostering connections between Sacramento residents. We had the opportunity to connect with Rafael Aguilera, an active member of the Collective, at the “2012 Commons Solutions Lab”:

Through the Collective, Aguilera helped established a community seed bank where residents are supplied with organic, native, and heirloom plant seeds free of charge. The Collective also offers a germination lab to show people how to get their seeds started, as well as a program called Liberation Permaculture, which Aguilera launched and continues to direct. The permaculture program meets monthly and discusses topics including urban gardening, solar cooking methods, and more related to sustainable living.

Sol Collective has many other commons-based initiatives, including:

  • The Global Hood Music Series, an audio documentation of culture, from tribal drums to Hip Hop to Salsa.

  • The Sacramento Activist School, a monthly meeting to unite Sacramento-area forward thinkers around social justice issues, including water rights, and community organizing.

  • The Free Sol Youth Arts Academy, an arts program with a strong emphasis on community service projects.

  • Recycled Sol, a project that teaches the fundamentals of design, marketing and sales and emphasizes social justice through the development of a youth-driven, up-cycled clothing brand.

Aguilera believes that the commons are essential for everyone because “they are all that is left,” and we need to protect and preserve our commons in order to create a healthy future. To hear Aguilera talk about his current projects, watch this brief video interview from the Solutions Lab at Blue Mountain Center, and to learn more about Sol Collective’s commons-based initiatives, you can visit their website at “”: