Sustainable Settings is an entrepreneurial non-profit organization that inspires people and communities to embrace integrated solutions for sustainable development.
To accomplish this mission we research, design and demonstrate whole-systems strategies in sustainable agriculture, green development, micro-enterprise, land stewardship and art for daily life
Some come to Sustainable Settings to focus on sustainable agriculture. Some want to study and apply renewable energy and green building. Others want to integrate sustainability into the work place or community. Still others hope to develop models of local foodshed resilience. Though all find practical knowhow they soon find out that being here is also about diet, health, cultural values, and humility in seeing Nature as source.
Once they have “arrived”, which typically takes two to three-months of being here, they learn first of all that they are responsible for their own learning and that studying at Sustainable Settings is about responding to pattern and a shift in daily concerns with long range goals in mind. They begin to see our emphasis on integration, collaboration, and on careful listening and observing and then acting. Here we favor continuity over ingenuity. Being here is about creating or stewarding a super-organism - a healthy place - one that yields health in the soil, air, and water and that generates health in our individual and collective beings. After a few months living and working here most realize that crucial to this shift in thinking and acting is to understand the limits of human knowledge. Only then may we better harvest Nature’s intelligence and learn how to become native to a place.
Our emphasis is on the whole and not the parts and on the strength of diverse and collaborative systems because we know that when we have all these seemingly different systems working alongside each other the whole yields multiple benefits, many of which would not be possible any other way. It is the space between things, the edge effect, and the co-mingled messy vitality that creates the unforeseen benefits and the healthiest most fertile and resilient systems.
Though we teach many skills and focus on particular avenues of becoming alert and aware we do not teach specialization here. Specialization is part and parcel of why we, humanity in the 21st century, are in the mess we are in. It was the reductionist’s perspective that has allowed us to think we had power over Nature and that some how gave us the chutzpa to act the way we have, in defiance of nature’s economy. Here at Sustainable Settings we proudly graduate alert, hopefully humble, thrifty, disciplined, patient, and even frugal Certified Generalists.
We host Internships in sustainable living, apprenticeships, workshops, and short courses in sustainable agriculture, organic farming, sustainable living - featuring 90 acres of pasture for rotational grazing of livestock, nutrient cycling, seed saving, Permaculture, Biodynamics, Management Intensive Grazing, bee guardianship, food preservation, value-added production, a small scale diverse farm model with chickens for egg production, a raw dairy co-operative, a market garden selling through our ranch store, CSA, and Aspen's Farmers Market, domesticated animals for meat and fiber production.
We are a model of applied sustainability featuring:
- Green development
- Renewable energy
- Self reliance
- Development of local foods and energy sheds
- Participation in the surrounding community
The educational center offers internships, classes, workshops, lectures, film series and educational programs for all ages related to sustainable living, organic farming & animal husbandry, green building, permaculture, biodynamics, renewable energy, self-reliance, the arts and building a durable future.