NCP's Sustainable Living Centers in Harrisonburg, Virginia and Starksboro, Vermont put our principles into practice. As with all our programs, they seek to combine pragmatic and creative approaches to bringing change with a spiritual and moral grounding that seeks to transform people and serve as leaven in local communities. They model and teach energy efficiency, eco-building principles, sustainable transportation, engagement with their communities, and outreach to people on the margins of society. Visitors and longer term workers are welcomed, and they actively seek to be a resource to schools, colleges, community organizations and faith groups.
Read on for more info about NCP Harrisonburg; go here to learn more about NCP Starksboro
NCP's work in Harrisonburg, VA offers an integrated approach to seeking healing for our neighbors and for our planet.
All these efforts are coordinated by Tom Benevento (photo at right), who is joined by an able crew of co-workers, apprentices and a steady stream of volunteers from schools, colleges and the surrounding community.
Check out our Apprenticeship opportunities!
Sustainable Living Homestead
Along with its on-site innovations related to farming, water use, waste disposal and more, the Sustainable Living Homestead serves as a model for other groups in the community seeking ways to mitigate the impacts of global warming. For instance, the Central Valley Habitat for Humanity board has invited NCP to collaborate in making the solar hot water system Tom has developed a main feature of all future building projects. NCP staff also work with local church groups and others to create neighborhood garden spaces for locally produced organic food. Good news travels fast!
In addition, the market garden seeks to collaborate with people in "difficult life circumstances" (our most marginalized in Harrisonburg , generally people who are homeless or unemployable). These folks are Creation Care Apprentices within our sustainable living center program. In this capacity they have a chance to gain job reference and experience, make a small amount of income (from sales at the farmers market along with a small initial amount of funds from one of our grants), and gain a healing experience with the earth. The market garden is local, organic, and the produce transported by bicycle trailers. Our goal is to create healing and meaningful work for people in need, chemical/pollution free food, and zero emissions food production.
NCP also offers Permaculture Design Courses to area residents. Based on patterns and processes of ecological systems, permaculture is the art and science of creating healthy and resilient human environments abundant in food, water, shelter, energy, and community. These courses focus specifically on exploring sustainability strategies for the Shenandoah Valley, and participants emerge as a thriving practitioner network, each with the ability to design and build gardens, homes, and communities modeled on living ecosystems.
Undoing Global Warming campaign
The focus of Undoing Global Warming is to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the buildings in which we live, meet and worship. Even more so than car use, heating and cooling homes and other structures is a leading consumer of energy in the United States. And, of course, with energy consumption comes a whole host of other outcomes, including:
That's where the Undoing Global Warming project comes in! NCP offers congregations, camps and other organizations the opportunity to examine energy usage in their facilities, homes and grounds. Plans for a weekend workshop are made in consultation with the hosting group, depending on their needs and interests (see sample schedule below).
A modest honorarium is requested to offset NCP's expenses for this program. Groups are also invited to contribute a portion of the money they save from greater efficiencies toward healing our planet and enhancing the well-being of our neighbors.
Tom Benevento gives leadership to our Undoing Global Warming campaign based out of our Spring Village Ecology Center in Harrisonburg VA. Tom brings the expertise of a degree in Sustainable Systems, along with years of practical experience in the US and Central America.
Pete Antos-Ketcham coordinates the program in the northeast out of our New England Sustainable Living Center in Starksboro, VT. Pete has a degree in Environmental Studies and has spent many years working with organizations designing and managing energy efficient buildings.
Here's how a weekend might go:
Saturday morning: Earth-Friendly Facilities
With the pertinent committees and/or building manager we assess the buildings and grounds in regard to energy and water conservation, alternative energies, waste reduction, food preparation, transportation, and eco-landscaping. Together we explore cost effective and simple techniques that will reduce energy and water consumption and reduce waste thus becoming better stewards of the environment, reducing global warming gases, saving money, and inspiring others.
Saturday or Sunday afternoon: Hands-on workshops
Learn about and discuss topics such as composting techniques and organic soil fertility; spiral herb gardens; home eco-cleaners; building a wood-fired or solar oven; deep mulch keyhole gardening (the no watering/no weeding garden); solar food dryer; forest gardening; organic pest control; season extender gardening; edible landscaping; political and institutional actions.
Saturday afternoon or evening: Earth-Friendly Home
In the home of a volunteer (and including up to 15 other observers) we will use activities and discussion to explore the many diverse and simple techniques for a more earth-friendly home that we can all begin implementing today. This workshop includes energy and water conservation, alternative energy, waste reduction and toxins, food, and transportation. We will also discuss connections between our lifestyles and people of the Poor World.
Sunday morning presentation: The Sacredness of Life
On Sunday morning, we are available to give a presentation on faith-based, earth-friendly living or other topic suitable to the setting
In many ways our earth is sending out an emergency cry as humans continue to use it beyond its capacity. Religious communities and other concerned groups can play a leading role in responding to the call for help by making simple yet important changes at home and with other facilities. Plan for an Undoing Global Warming weekend in your community soon!