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Annual Report 2010 Unabridged

         ANNUAL REPORT 2010

              jump to Annual Report 2011

    The Sustainable Living Project coordinates educational programs
    promoting ecological skills vital to long term sustainability.


        * Strengthening vibrant community connections and celebrating local living, in town and in the countryside
        * Facilitating skills-building for self-reliance, appropriate technology, environmental awareness, energy independence and small scale local agriculture
        * Sharing low-impact and low-cost solutions people can incorporate into their lives to reduce their ecological footprint

    Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future

Review of Programs

    Local Living Festival (LLF)
    The Festival was a wonderful success and drew 1200 attendees participating in 49 workshops plus hourly children's activities, and visited with 63 vendors, informational booths and demonstrators.  Forty people registered to tour four homes the next day.  A net profit of $1,782.20 was realized.
    Local Living Festival (LLF) coordinators were Chelle Lindahl (Administrative), Melinda Ely (Finance & Volunteers), Vanessa Bittner (Exhibitors), Rosalind Ilett (Workshops) and Local Living Festival stalwarts Bali MacKentley, Raamitha Pillay, Rajiv Narula, Jacob Reid, Patti Hogle, Audry Duncan and Betsy Hodge made invaluable regular contributions.  Co-coordinator Patricia Greene formally resigned from the Project in this period, due to her move to New Hampshire.

  Year-Round Workshops & Events
    Workshop topics included Solar Cooking, Beekeeping, Laying Sandstone, Masonry Stove Building, and two versions of Backyard Food Waste Composting as well as a student-oriented class entitled Nutritious & Delicious - Cooking Low on the Food Chain.  An ambitious, near weekly, program of Workshops and Events is scheduled for 2011..Outreach

    Over 50 volunteers assisted the Local Living Festival directly and another twenty
     assisted the SLP as a whole.

    Several successful media campaigns for event promotion were conducted.
    The SLP created an interactive booth display and attended seven outreach events:
    The St. Lawrence County Gouverneur Fair
    The Madrid Power & Equipment Museum (Spring & Fall events)
    The Farm2Fork Celebration in Saranac Lake
    The NYPA Energy Fair
    Colton Country Days
    The Potsdam SummerFest
    Attended the Canton Farmer's Market (October only).

    A website was established and updated regularly.
    Assisted in the revival of the Ark Homesteading Community Gatherings for 2011.
    Over 300 One Sustainable Thing pledges were gained.
    Hundreds of promotional brochures distributed.
    Attended the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference in November.


    St. Lawrence Nurseries
    Maple Ridge Charitable Fund
    Liam Hunt and Kathleen Stein
    St. Lawrence County Public Transportation
    Potsdam Food Coop
    Potsdam Farmer's Market
    Great Northern Printing
    North Country Savings Bank
    The Institute for a Sustainable Environment at Clarkson University
    North Lawrence Dairy, Inc
    St. Lawrence University through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s
           Environmental Education Initiative For Active Learning, Research, and Advocacy Grant
    Media Sponsor: NCPR.org
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    Northern Regional Center for Independent Living
    Rossie Community Center
    Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning Farm
    Sweetgrass Foundation


    The Home-Made  Preserves Swap with Little Grasse Farm CSA (Community Supported Ag)
    TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate NY)
    St. Lawrence University's Greenhouse
    Cinema 10
    Cornell Cooperative Extension
    The Potsdam Farmer’s Market
    The St. Lawrence County League of Women Voters


    All administrative functions of a non-profit organization were created during this
    period of time, from items as mundane as stationery and a post office box,
    to a logo and website.
    Reporting requirements to our parent non-profit, Seedcorn, Inc., were met.


    Five major donors contributed a total of $5,800 to Festival creation.
    Minor donations totaled $3,249.
    The Sweetgrass Foundation contributed $1,000 to fund the SLP into 2011.
    The beginning balance for 2011 is $2,782.20


    Volunteer Hours Log:
    Local Living Festival 2010, specifically - 2875 hours
    Sustainable Living Project, as a whole - 3425 hours
    Five interns from the Community Based Learning Program of the Center for Civic Engagement at St. Lawrence University participated during the Fall 2010 semester, contributing a minimum of 125 hours total.


    All Workshops and the Local Living Festival utilize Evaluation forms for attendees that are referenced in ongoing planning.  Additionally, a post-Festival evaluation, of and by the coordinators, discussed the overall impact of the Festival and potential areas of improvement.  These are reflected in future organizing efforts.


    Community Store
    We envision an outlet in either Potsdam or Canton, NY that will serve as a community hub for many local projects.

    The Store itself will be only one of several operations.  It will sell largely locally-produced goods -- creating a market for local entrepreneurial diversification of income.  This is relevant to both agricultural and non-agricultural items.

    The Sustainable Living Project (SLP) is also inspired by the potential for the Community Store to provide a "hub" or "umbrella" site for many other local endeavors, such as agricultural cooperatives in need of a depot providing storage and refrigeration, online services for support of local agricultural, green building supplies, renewable energy or other relevant concerns, including such enterprises as a proposed Mobile Processing Unit (a more humane, farm-based mobile slaughter facility) that will need a base and storage unit.

    Perhaps the first and most important step is to host a commercial kitchen for use as a business incubator for small agricultural entrepreneurs as well as for use by the public for canning or other food preservation projects, by the hour or day.  Finally, a community space for use by locals and non-profit organizations; a place to share meals, parties and dances, will round out the mix.  We envisions a multi-use facility, spreading the expense among various enterprises in order to provide an affordable facility for all.

    Our plans begin with a feasibility study and eventually a business plan.  Funding is available through many sources, especially for agriculture endeavors such as the Commercial Kitchen.  The SLP seeks volunteers and/or funding for expertise in various facets of this plan.

    Homesteading College
    Many young farmers and builders seek the knowledge to go out on the land and need a space and place to learn vital skills to celebrate the beauty and bounty of rural life as well as avoid expensive and time-consuming pitfalls that can wipe out a small family farm or business.  We will begin creating online tutorials this year as a start on sharing the wisdom of farmers and builders, with the maxim "whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well".

    In the not-too-distant future the Sustainable Living Project plans to create a Homesteading College in the St. Lawrence River Valley.  We view the Homesteading College as the fruition of all of our efforts.  Initially we will create online tutorials and tape our more popular Workshops and events for web viewing, but we plan a bricks and mortar campus in the future as well.  This facility may host many of the services that the Community Store will house initially as the store grows into it's own -- in town..    Out at the countryside campus, we envision a holistic approach to education, with a view to our place in the world as a web, interconnected.  This will translate into the very campus itself, with the builders providing housing for the farmers who grow everyone's food using renewable energy technology and so on.

    A close connection with the other area campuses, and opportunities for advanced degrees in conjunction with those other schools (since we will not offer English or Civics courses, for instance), is part of the big picture we envision.

    Our plans for the Homesteading College include approaching the MBA program at Clarkson University to help us create a business plan in 2011.  We seek retired college administrators and professors to help us make this dream a reality...and folks with a keen interest in changing the way our society values food and farmers, shelter and builders, and the renewable energy (industrial, home-made, or human power!) that makes it all happen with ease.

    Core curriculum:

    Sustainable Agriculture
    Many young farmers have no option to run a family farm on a small, non-industrial scale if they are also to receive a higher education, due to the high costs of an education.  We strive to put action into education and assure that those who want to participate in a local economy have both the skills and the means to do so.

    Renewable Energy
    Integral to all things is energy. On-site production and wise use of the resources created are essential.     

    Green Building
    Builders create the spaces and places within which we dwell.  With local master builders as our guides, we plan to build well and share that knowledge with others.

    Program Management Positions
Goals for 2011 include the initiation of recompensed program-oriented positions within the organization.

Submitted by:

Chelle Lindahl & Melinda Ely, Co-Coordinators

Sustainable Living Project  Local Living Festival

Sharing Knowledge from the Past  ~  Building Skills for the Future