The Center for Sustainable Living is a 501(c)(3) non-profit teaching and demonstration center concerned with all aspects of sustainable living. We are located in the Genesee Valley / Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Sustainability has been defined by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

M. Nickerson, in Guideposts for a Sustainable Future Project, states that “activities are non-sustainable when they

Require continual inputs of non-renewable resources
Use renewable resources faster than their rate of renewal
Cause cumulative degradation of the environment
Require resources in quantities that could never be sustainable for all people
Lead to the extinction of other life forms

We believe that the earth’s natural systems provide an impeccable model of sustainability. The vision of the Center for Sustainable Living is to encourage the development and widespread use of human technologies which are modeled after natural systems. We hope that through education and example we can help create sustainable alternatives to our present growth-oriented society.


The project was inspired by a 2-week training one of our founders attended in 1999 at Genesis Farm, an ecological learning center in Blairstown, New Jersey. Under the leadership of Dominican sister Miriam Therese McGillis, Genesis Farm focuses on the connections between the health and sustainability of the earth and the health of human communities. Genesis Farm offers intensive trainings in sustainability within a bioregional (or local) context. The teachings are infused with a perception of the sacred nature of the unfolding universe and are life-centered rather than human-centered. Central to the Farm’s work is a large community supported agriculture project using biodynamic methods.

A core group of educators, activists and organizers in the Genesee/Finger Lakes area began collaborating in 1999 to develop a local center that would reflect the needs of this region. Several years were devoted to studying the bioregion and existing organizations. In 2002, the core group expanded, incorporated under the name “Center for Sustainable Living” (CSL), and began offering educational programs.

In 2003, the CSL established it’s home base at the Rochester Folk Art Guild’s (www.rfag.org) East Hill Farm in Middlesex, New York.