Be the Change: An Interview With Daily Acts

Daily Acts volunteers working in garden

At Left Coast Wholesale, supporting the community is a major element of our core values and our approach to doing business in the cultivation industry. That’s why we are proud to work with nonprofit partners to provide products and resources for gardening programs that strengthen communities and teach the importance of sustainability.

As part of our ongoing interview series, we wanted to highlight one such partner: Daily Acts. Their mission is to transform the world through inspired action and education. We spoke with Senior Programs Coordinator Liz Platte-Bermeo and the Daily Acts team to learn more about their efforts to create healthy, resilient, and connected communities.

Left Coast Wholesale: How would you describe Daily Acts to someone who may be hearing about the organization for the first time?

Daily Acts: Daily Acts is a small and mighty environmental education non-profit working throughout Sonoma County to inspire transformative actions that create connected, equitable, and climate-resilient communities. Through city contracts, grants, company sponsorships, and individual donations, we are able to host talks, tours, workshops, action campaigns, and youth programs focused on water conservation, climate change, and community action!

“We work to provide individuals, businesses, and municipalities with the knowledge, skills, and resources to live a rich and full lifestyle while also having a smaller environmental impact.”

How do you view Daily Acts’ role in the community? What impact do you hope to make?

I believe that Daily Acts plays a key role in community connection and education. We work to provide individuals, businesses, and municipalities with the knowledge, skills, and resources to live a rich and full lifestyle while also having a smaller environmental impact. Our hope is that our education opportunities inspire and support people in “being the change” in their communities.

A large part of your stated philosophy revolves around the power of “daily actions.” Can you explain what you mean by that?

Every action has a reaction, and every choice we make matters. At Daily Acts, we firmly believe that no matter how small an individual action may seem, it has the power to ripple out into the community and have a big impact. Supporting people in reclaiming the power of our daily actions will lead to more resilient and self-sufficient communities that will be able to survive and thrive during the climate crisis. Daily Acts’ programs help people and communities better understand the interconnectedness of the world and how we play a pivotal role in the greater system.

How does Daily Acts decide where to focus its resources and attention to make the most significant impact?

At the heart of Daily Acts’ work is an effort to empower people to make a real difference in their lives and the world. Therefore, our annual programming most often reflects the current state of the world and our community’s deepest need.

“Daily Acts’ programs help people and communities better understand the interconnectedness of the world and how we play a pivotal role in the greater system.”

In recent years, our work has supported fire survivors, participated in the development and outreach of Petaluma’s Climate Action Plan, and worked with partners like Left Coast Wholesale to distribute over 1,000 “garden kits” to address food insecurity and re-connection to the earth during the pandemic.

Due to many years of ongoing drought, our municipal work mainly focuses on water conservation programming, and some have expanded to include zero waste and climate advocacy. Our deep relationships with municipalities and donors support our evolving programs while always staying committed to the Daily Acts’ mission.

In what ways have you worked with schools and businesses to make a positive impact on the community?

Our Programs team serves as educational allies and offers engaging presentations on topics tailored to school or business learning objectives. We also participate in the Sonoma Environmental Educators Coalition, where we collaborate with and support other environmental education providers. 

Through our recently adopted ECO2school Youth Climate Leadership program, we partner with high schools throughout Sonoma County to empower students and educators to learn about and discuss climate change, mitigation strategies, and sustainable behavior changes towards a more just and resilient future. We also work with schools and businesses to provide hands-on opportunities to install low water-use demonstration gardens.

One of my personal favorite programs, titled Mulchstock, was hosted in 2015 and was deemed the largest peaceful lawn transformation on record. On the day of the event, 135 community volunteers joined at Petaluma’s Redwood Business Park to sheet mulch 64,000 sq ft of lawn. Our business partner Clear Blue Commercial conceived this project, and we enlisted the help of the City of Petaluma, Sonoma Water, Sonoma County Green Business Program, Cagwin and Dorward Landscape Contractors, and at least ten other local businesses. 

How do you collaborate with county and city governments to affect policies related to the environment, climate change, or other causes?

Daily Acts actively collaborates with city and county officials to advance the planning and policies that address climate change, pesticide use, and how equity principles are woven into planning processes. We have affected climate policies through our seat on the Regional Climate Protection Authority’s (RCPA) Climate Action Advisory Committee, our partnership with the Petaluma Climate Commission, and our direct work with City of Petaluma staff and Councilmembers.

Daily Acts also takes an active leadership role within our Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools (SASS) Coalition, which received the Local Heroes Award in 2020. Sonoma SASS actively engages public education campaigns to drive environmental health policy protections and promote regenerative land stewardship.

In 2020, Daily Acts was named Best Non-Profit of Sonoma County by the North Coast Bohemian. To what do you attribute your success in making a noticeable impact?

I think this honorable award is a testament to the community work and connections that Daily Acts has made the cornerstone of our organization since 2002. We are constantly innovating our programming to support a more diverse audience and place a high value on creating authentic relationships with community partners.

We have created 38 demonstration gardens and counting, supported multiple school garden installations and rainwater catchment systems, hosted an abundance of volunteer workdays for the community and businesses each year, and provided many opportunities for people to get involved through programming and educational workshops. 

What are the various ways that people, businesses, and organizations can help support the mission of Daily Acts?

Daily Acts’ success is dependent on community involvement! People can participate in our programs or support this vital work with tax-deductible donations. Work parties are a great deal of fun to volunteer for, and you get to develop skills and meet people while helping transform a landscape. Our educational programs are designed for people to implement the solutions offered in their personal and business lives, thereby supporting the Daily Acts’ mission.

Businesses and organizations can organize special volunteer days to give back to the community while helping Daily Acts move forward on bigger projects. To increase the impact of our local work as well as teach others how to replicate it in their region, Daily Acts needs investment-level partners and advocates who share this work with others to get them involved.

Any exciting new plans for 2021 that you would like to share?

I think that 2021 will be a year of renewal and resilience as we will be gearing up for Daily Acts’ 20th year of operation! Our talented Executive Director will be launching a book and our Programs team will be re-designing programs to have a deeper focus on equity and climate solutions while continuing to innovate and adapt our events and fundraisers to an increasingly online world. 

And of course, keep checking our website for events or sign up for the Daily Acts monthly newsletter for new offerings. We always have something new cooking up that serves people and the planet. Join the community-powered fun and be part of the solution!

We thank Liz Platte-Bermeo and the Daily Acts team for telling us about their efforts to educate, support, and inspire communities to be stronger and more self-sufficient. Find out more about Daily Acts and our other nonprofit partners here.

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