The Sustainability Project was born out of the love for a forest and a vision of a world in harmony with nature. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2000, The Sustainability Project promotes a love of nature, environmental stewardship, caring communities and ways of living that deepen our understanding of the interconnected web of life. Its guiding principles embrace diversity, inclusion and compassion as fundamental to the long-term well-being of our planet and its inhabitants.
The Sustainability Project's primary organizational goals are:
- to develop wheelchair accessible gardens, trails and camping sites at our 33-acre center in the Emerson Brook Forest
- to encourage and support new program ideas, initiatives and collaborations in line with our mission
- to offer our mission driven events and activities to bolster our community's sustainable living skills and capacity for life in balance with the natural world
The physical heart of the organization, a 33-acre parcel of land in the Emerson Brook Forest, Gilsum, NH opened officially for public use in 2013. Here, an all-volunteer endeavor has created wheelchair accessible trails and edible forest gardens for public use and ecosystem benefit. In addition to giving the public access to a beautiful place in nature, the center is emerging to become a learning lab for edible forest gardening, permaculture design and sustainable community practices.
The Sustainability Project envisions a dynamic upcoming year in the Emerson Brook Forest. In 2017 interns will be a key component of on-site development and program planning at the Center. The following application is designed to help The Sustainability Project find strongly motivated individuals to inhabit the forest from May through October. Interns will support mission-driven activities, collaborate with others and cultivate their leadership skills. They will work with TSP core members to create a supportive, fun, healthy, and whole learning environment for Workaway volunteers, overnight guests and visitors to the center through a variety of planned activities and programs.
Our 2017 projects at the Emerson Brook Forest Center include:
- building organic demonstration gardens, sheet mulching, planting annuals, vegetables, herbs and flowers as well as installing perennial polycultures
- sive species remediation and mycological landscaping
- designing and implementing rain gardens
- working cooperatively in the garden to supply the food needs of interns, volunteers and short term guests, as well as for the Keene Community Kitchen Gleaning Program
- creating a solar irrigation system
- building and maintaining wheelchair accessible trails
- creating an outdoor kitchen, an amphitheater, and 2-3 tent platforms
- building a rocket mass heater and/or a cobb oven as part of a workshop
- building a latrine
- improving onsite structures
- creating educational materials, including maps and interpretive signs for gardens and trails
TSP Signature Programs:
- The Seed Celebration and Sustainable Community Fair (February)
- The Wholesome Foods Breakfast (June)
- "Give Peace a Tri" triathlon (July)
- Chinese Cultural Exchange (August)
- National Public Lands Day & Music and Art in the Forest (September)
- The Monadnock Region Permaculture Group
Accommodations: Interns will sleep at The Sustainability Project's Emerson Brook Forest Center, in an unheated, solar powered, primitive cabin located off a well-established trail with a nearby composting latrine. Interns will have 3 locally sourced, organically grown meals daily. Interns will have access to a bathroom with a shower at the Piedmont-Fleischmann Homestead.
Stipend payout: $100 per 40 hour week
Policy: The Emerson Brook Forest Center serves as a drug and alcohol-free safe space to support members of the community who may be addressing addiction issues. Interns and Workaway guests are asked honor our commitment to supporting the overall health of our community by refraining from "substance" use at the Center and while engaged in TSP efforts. TSP honors the legal use of medical marijuana to improve one's capacity and quality of life.
The Piedmont Fleischmann Homestead: Valerie and Pablo's neighboring homestead supports The Sustainability Project's programing It also functions as an Airbnb bed and breakfast. This requires a high degree of maintained beauty and order. While interns and workaway volunteers will have access to the limited amenities, it is important to keep the homestead a haven for guests.
A bit of history:
Valerie Piedmont and Pablo Fleischmann have been off-grid solar homesteading for more than thirty years. Their first home was a 10'x10' canvas tent. They raised 3 children and did their best to live lightly on the earth.
In 2000, they helped establish The Sustainability Project in response to a threat from a logging operation.
In 2007, Pablo and Valerie opened a retail store, Green Energy Options in Keene to share their passion and skills for off-grid living and energy conservation. The store specializes in the sale, installation and service of solar (PV) and domestic hot water systems as well as renewable energy home heating systems.
In 2011, when the last of their children had moved away, they opened their home as a bed and breakfast through Airbnb.
The Monadnock Region: The Emerson Brook Forest is a refuge from the fast paced world. It's a place to unwind, and reconnect with the natural world. Adjacent to miles of surrounding woodland trails, the locale is perfect for outdoor recreation. We are an easy drive to several public recreational areas including Pitcher Mountain (great blueberry picking from July through August) and beautiful Mount Monadnock (reputed to be the most climbed mountain in the world). The town of Gilsum has a library, a tennis court, and a general store. A few miles up the road from the store is Mole Hill Theatre which hosts live music and local productions.
The nearby city of Keene is home to Keene State College (and the Redfern Art Center and Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery), Antioch University, the Colonial Theater, several recreation parks, and nearly 90 restaurants. The greater Monadnock Region is teeming with summer arts and a variety of entertainment options.
While there is not public transportation between Gilsum and Keene, Valerie and Pablo are willing, when available, to support the transportation needs of volunteers.Internship Application: Apply online here or print an application here. Mail it to P.O. Box 311, Gilsum, NH 03448.
P.O. Box 311, 26 Emerson Brook Drive, Gilsum, NH 03448, (603) 209-7272