About Us

L o c a l   L i v i n g   V e n t u r e


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       2011         2010



Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future


Local Living Venture
Checking Back ~ Looking Forward

The Sustainable Living Project formed in 2010 out of the previous Sustainable Energy Fair, in response to a community desire for simpler, cheaper and more joyful ways to live.

In 2014 we incorporated as a non-profit corporation with a new name, the Local Living Venture (LLV), and with a small staff overseen entirely by dedicated volunteers. The LLV collaborates and educates for a more capable community and regionally-based economic vitality in the North Country.

LLV seeks appropriate farm and forest land for a farm-based learning community - a "homesteading school" providing education and incubation for new farm and business development and diverse local economic prosperity.  Core curriculum: growing, eating and preserving food, renewable energy systems, green building, healthy hearth and forestry, and traditional rural skills - anchored by a tourism draw, the North Country Native Botanical Gardens.  Many local enterprises will spring from these creative community-oriented endeavors!


The LLV is inspired by a revitalized regional food system, where more food is grown for local use, reducing the "food miles" traveled from farm to plate, ensuring a healthier community, and creating economic prosperity on local farms.  And not just for food, but that is a natural starting point.

Year-round educational and skills-building workshops: composting, gardening skills, bike care, renewable energy tours, rocket stoves, health and wellness, MUCH more.

The "Local Living Festival - A Celebration of Resourceful Living" features serious fun & delightful education for all!  The fourth Festival will be held in Canton on September 26, 2015.

315.347.4223 * PO Box 736 Canton, NY 13617
LocalLivingVenture@gmail.com * www.LocalLivingVenture.org


  • The Local Living Venture works to inspire and enable people to adopt more healthy, local and sustainable ways of living and working.   We envision an even more capable community in the North Country of New York State!

  • Awareness of the externalized costs of our current lifestyle and of our unique position in a rural region -- that has retained many vital "simple living" skills and resources -- inspires the LLV to facilitate the sharing of this deep pool of knowledge within the community.

  • The year-round Rural Skills Workshops have been doing this since 2010, and the Homestead Learning Community will take it up a notch in 2014/15!

  • We want to see local farms and many other rural enterprises succeed by participating in a regional economic system based on fulfilling the local needs of local people in the North Country.


Vision Statement

We envision a thriving community life and
regionally-based economy in the North Country.

Mission Statement
(2014 - currently undergoing revision as we incorporate under our new name!)

The Local Living Venture
is working towards a resilient regional economy through

community education,
rural skills-building, and
dynamic infrastructure development.


The specific, mid to long-term goals of the Local Living Venture are:

to create the Local Living Venture Center -- a Community
& Agricultural Resource Depot that serves the community as a whole as well as rural enterprises and other non-profits working within our mission framework. 
Local Food for Local Folks
The eventual goal is to create a Homestead Learning Community with a core curriculum based on growing, eating and preserving food, renewable energy systems, sustainable forestry and healthy hearth, "green" building, and traditional rural skills. 


        The Sustainable Living Project (SLP) formed in the Autumn of 2009 when several of the key organizers of the now-defunct but highly successful annual North Country Sustainable Energy Fair partnered with the  original creator of the Fair (way back in 1992) and decided that it was time to take it one step further.  We were enthused to put on a new event that harkened back to the "roots" of the 17-year strong Energy Fair --  with an emphasis on "appropriate technology" (be it human-power or hi-tech!) and on further strengthening an already vibrant local community of homesteaders and other seekers of simpler ways to live, in town or in the countryside.

Founders -- Fall 2009:  Vanessa Bittner, Melinda Ely, Patricia Greene, and Chelle Lindahl.
               Spring 2010: Rosalind Ilett, and Bali MacKentley.

Name Change
        We have experienced that the word 'sustainable' can be perceived as too academic and/or too much of a buzzword.  It has a lot of baggage associated with it for some folks.  It can turn off people who are on the margins of interest in these new/old ways of living, who are the very ones we are trying to reach with our message.  We began the process of re-visioning our message in April of 2012 and it culminated in the Fall of that year with the decision to change our name from the Sustainable Living Project to the Local Living VentureThe change became official with non-profit incorporation on January 1, 2014.


        A dynamic organization has resulted from this initial seedcorn of an idea and other community members have joined the organizing efforts.  There is a core coordinating group of 25-30 volunteers (more always welcome!) working on the various projects of the LLV, culminating in three iterations of the semi-annual Local Living Festival ~ A Celebration of Resourceful Living, held at the Learning Farm of Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, near Canton, NY for the first three Festivals.

Sustainability doesn't happen just one day a year!

        Our year-round programs are the core of our work in the community and inform our creativity as a project through our emphasis on "open learning" -- the idea that we all have knowledge, skills and information to share with each other.  Expertise is sought and honored from both the "experts" and YOU at all LLV events.

        Each one of us can implement personal changes toward earth-friendly living - from installing low-flow shower heads to going off the electricity grid altogether.  The LLV creates venues to promote long-term sustainability -- in the North Country of New York and beyond -- with emphasis on sharing practical low-cost and creative solutions that ordinary people can use in their own apartment, farmhouse, business and social realms.



We work to inspire and
enable people to adopt
more healthy, local and
sustainable ways of living.

The Local Living Venture
is a project of Seedcorn, a
not-for-profit educational organization.


Thank you for your interest in the Local Living Venture!

Click to View
2011 Annual Report

Click to View
2010 Annual Report


The Local Living Venture Team 2013

Chelle Lindahl, LLV Co-Coordinator, Administrative / Year-Round Events & Programs
Melinda Ely, LLV Co-Coordinator in absentia (personal leave for family matters)
Rajiv Narula, Planning & Development
Chris Butchino, Planning & Development; Finance
Matt Nowak, Fundraising & Grant Development
Pattie Lane, Project Organizer (Independent Contractor)
Donna Dilworth, Project Organizer (Independent Contractor)
Krystal White, Education and Outreach Facilitator (Independent Contractor)
Jackie Bartholomew, Education and Outreach Facilitator (Independent Contractor)

Local Living Festival Contractors

Bryan Bennett, Workshop Coordinator
Jackie Bartholomew, Farmers Market & CSA Coordinator
Angie Foster, Children's Programming Coordinator
Amanda Klosner, Exhibitor Coordinator & Intern Facilitator
Matt Nowak, Fundraising Coordinator & Intern Facilitator
Relani Prudhomme, Arts Program & Intern Facilitator (volunteer)

Local Living Festival Organizing Committee Members

Allen Lumley
Ann Bennett
Bob Shepherd
Brett McLeod
Diane Colbert
Jim Juczak
John Tyo
Lynne Ross
Martha Lumley
Massena Nature Center (various)
Miles Manchester
Paul Pickens
Raamitha Pillay
Relani Prudhomme
Rosalind Ilett
Valarie Hallett

The Local Living Venture Team 2012

Chelle Lindahl, SLP Co-Coordinator, Administrative / Year-Round Events & Programs
Melinda Ely, SLP Co-Coordinator, Finance / Fundraising / Volunteers
Rajiv Narula, Project Organizer (Independent Contractor)
Jenna Brown, Project Organizer (Independent Contractor)
Krystal White, Education and Outreach Facilitator (Independent Contractor)
Sherry Long, Research & Technical Writing Associate (Independent Contractor)
Chris Butchino, Business Development (Independent Contractor)
work in progress...check back later for the final version!

The Sustainable Living Project Team 2011

(includes Local Living Festival 2011 Coordinating Committee members)

Chelle Lindahl, SLP Co-Coordinator, Administrative / Year-Round Events & Programs
Melinda Ely, SLP Co-Coordinator, Finance / Fundraising / Volunteers
Rajiv Narula, Project Organizer (Independent Contractor)
Alyssa Lemmerman, SUNY Potsdam Experiential Learning Intern
Paul Pickens, Recording Secretary & Major Donors
Jacki DeGraw, Exhibitor Coordinator, Outreach Staffing & Hospitality at our monthly Gatherings
Jim Christensen, Benefit Concert Logistics
Viki Christensen, Program Creation, Outreach & Graphics
Mark Berninghausen, BeeKeeping Discussion Group Co-Coordinator
Lynne Ross, North Country Library System Interface Coordinator
Betsy Hodge, Local Food Vendors & CCE Liaison
Susan Dillon,
Outreach Staffing, Workshop Recruitment & Zero Waste
Arthur Freeheart,
Outreach Staffing & Welcome Booth Administration
Rosalind Ilett,
Outreach Staffing, Zero Waste & Festival Hospitality
Valarie Hallett, Outreach Staffing, Zero Waste & Workshop Presenter
Bali MacKentley,
Outreach Staffing & Zero Waste
Raamitha Pillay,
Outreach Staffing, Children's Workshops & Signage
Bill & Katherine Brown -- Campus Sustainability Summit Coordinators
Krystal White, GIS Mapping, Festival Evaluation, Liaison to SUNY Potsdam Middle Ground
Sue Cypert, Workshop Recruitment
Miles Manchester, Outreach Staffing & all-around top Volunteer
Setanta O'Cellaigh, Outreach Staffing & Brainstormer Extraordinaire
Jacob Reid, Photography & Videography
Robin McClellan, Benefit Concert Coordinator
Patti Hogle, Children's Tent Coordinator
Bob Shepherd, Parking & Admissions Coordinator
Vanessa Bittner, Exhibitor Assistance & Digital Cogitator
Donna Seymour, Liaison to WCKN-TV and Excellent Networking
Sherry Long
, Themba PR, Outreach Staffing, Media Relations
the Experiential Learning Interns of SUNY Potsdam
The Community Based Learning students of St. Lawrence University.

Local Living Festival 2011 Committees

Exhibitors/Demonstrators -- Jacki DeGraw + Vanessa Bittner
Speakers & Workshops -- Rajiv Narula, Chelle Lindahl, Susan Dillon, Sue Cypert, Alyssa Lemmerman
Fundraising -- Melinda Ely + Rajiv Narula, Chelle Lindahl & Paul Pickens
Major Donations -- Paul Pickens
Children's Activities -- Patti Hogle, Raamitha Pillay & Krystal White
Parking & Admissions -- Bob Shepherd & Henry Seig
Signage -- Raamitha Pillay
Program Creation -- Viki Christensen
GIS Festival Mapping Coordination -- Krystal White
Farmer's Market -- Betsy Hodge
Hospitality -- Rosalind Illet
Food Vendors -- Betsy Hodge
Home Tours -- NEEDED
Media & PR -- Chelle Lindahl & Sherry Long
Evaluations -- SUNY Potsdam's Middle Ground
Volunteer Coordination -- Melinda Ely & Rajiv Narula
Campus Sustainability Summit -- Bill & Katherine Brown
Community Supported Ag (CSA) Display Creation -- Alyssa Lemmerman
Zero Waste -- Alyssa Lemmerman, Rosalind Ilett, Valarie Hallett, Bali MacKentley, Susan Dillon, Arthur Freeheart

Contact Us

The Project is also greatly assisted by the student Interns from
SUNY Potsdam and the
Community Based Learning program of the
Center for Civic Engagement at St. Lawrence University

L o c a l   L i v i n g   V e n t u r e




Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future
The Local Living Venture is overseen entirely by dedicated volunteers