“The [5 day] program was an excellent balance between the physical environmental aspects and the social and community dynamics. It worked very well. Being able to sit in on the “World Café” was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it. Can’t wait to return.” – Heather Sullivan-Catlin, Professor, SUNY Potsdam, Sustainable Communities class trip 2013
Learn@EcoVillageIthaca programs help people to:
gain a new vision and hope for how humans can live together in partnership with the planet
understand the link between social justice and ecological sustainability
- experience a sense of belonging to the land and to a learning community
develop specific skills and knowledge to apply in their own lives and work
be motivated to take action when they get home
Experiential learning programs and events include in-depth Tours, overnight Immersion experiences, and New Farmer training. We also educate and inspire people across the US and the globe through presentations and publications. Two major programs focus on innovative neighborhood design and local food and farming:
EPA Climate Showcase Community
In partnership with the Tompkins County planning department, this three-year EPA-funded project documents and shares the best practices learned over twenty years of developing EcoVillage at Ithaca. It demonstrates how we can form the built environment around the human scale, walking pace and social needs of people. And how green building and mixed land use are technologically and economically feasible.
Targeting builders, developers and municipal officials, we’re helping to apply these practices to new residential development in more mainstream settings. The Aurora Pocket Neighborhood, the Amabel community, and the proposed Cayuga Trails development (all in Ithaca, NY) create dense neighborhoods that enhance residents’ quality of life while using fewer resources.
City planners involved in the EPA project also gained our assistance in writing Pedestrian Neighborhood Zoning code recommendations, along with a cottage ordinance which applies the same principles to smaller infill sites.
Beginning farmers, aspiring homesteaders and seasoned farm operators come together for courses and workshops presented by Groundswell. From the 10-month Organic Orchard Management class to the Farm Business Planning 10-week intensive, learning is hands-on and collaborative.
Nurturing the next generation of farmers, our mission is to:
- engage diverse learners
- empower them with skills and knowledge
- provide access to resources including land and tools
so they can build sustainable land-based livelihoods and equitable local food systems.
This experience-based education and business incubation takes place through a network of successful local farms and partner organizations. West Haven Farm and the Incubator Farm, both onsite at EcoVillage Ithaca, serve as our “main campus.” Five more Finger Lakes farms run by Groundswell mentors host trainings and coach new farmers.