Our Programs and Initiatives

Sustaining Way Programs and Initiatives

Sustaining Way has over 80 partnerships with community, business, academia, government, and other philanthropic, non-profit organizations that are working together to improve the lives of residents in historically marginalized communities. Our flagship project, Annie’s House, is located just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail in the historic Nicholtown Neighborhood located in downtown Greenville, SC.

Demonstration Site
“Annie’s House”

Located at 60 Baxter Street in the Nicholtown Community, Annie’s House is an interfaith initiative demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of living more simply and sustainably. Bordering the Swamp Rabbit Trail and just minutes from downtown Greenville, Annie’s House is passed by over half a million people annually, making it an ideal location for maximum impact. Food and energy costs create a burden that reduces the ability for individuals to break out of poverty. Annie’s House seeks to leverage its more than 60 partners to help break the cycle of poverty and progress Nicholtown to be a more sustainable community.

Annie’s House was built in partnership with Genesis Homes and completed in early 2015 to be a model of an affordable, highly efficient home. The home and grounds serve as an education center and demonstration site as well as a base of operations for Sustaining Way. It is regularly visited by the public to develop the community’s knowledge about sustainability. We educate, demonstrate, and advocate to develop individuals and the community in 6 areas of sustainability: Food and Landscape, Energy and Energy Efficiency, Consumption and Waste, Healthy Lifestyles, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Sustainability.


Some of the current sustainable practices demonstrated on-site include:

  • Backyard gardening, chickens and edible landscaping
  • Home energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • Water quality and conservation
  • Green transportation (hybrid/electric car, car sharing, biking)
  • Food preservation (canning, root cellars)
  • 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Steward Education Opportunities

Are you interested in scheduling an educational event in the Annie’s House garden for your company, school, or other type of group? Are you interested in having Sustaining Way staff teach a workshop at your company, school, or other type of group? Please complete the Steward Education Interest Form below and a member of our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Before filling out a form please note the following:

  • We are able to support groups of up to 50 individuals during times that are not overlapping with our recurring garden workdays, up to 15 individuals during times overlapping with our recurring garden workdays, and have no required minimum number of individuals.
  • Our group events are family friendly, though we require all minors to be accompanied by an individual at least 18 years of age or older.
  • Group form submissions for groups larger than 12 individuals should be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to the preferred date.

COVID-19 Response - Meals and Mask Distribution

Sustaining Way is meeting the needs of food-insecure community members. We partner with local farms and community organizations to provide hot meals, frozen meals, fresh produce, and other resources. Seniors and any other residents are able to receive this essential food every Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Hope Church parking lot next to the Nicholtown Community Center. We hope by providing healthy food, we will alleviate some of the stress on the Nicholtown community.

Community Coordinator Program

The coordinator is a paid full-time rotating development position that lives at Annie’s House and works with our various partners to serve as community coordinator/advocate, lead community programs, and demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of living more simply and sustainably. During their time at Annie’s House, the coordinator develops relationships with residents and works to understand and meet community needs in a sustainable manner. They do this either through direct support or by connecting residents and community organizations to other nonprofits and partners. Through this work and our professional development program, the coordinator develops the skills and confidence necessary to leave the program and go out to serve as a leader within the community.


Steward Youth Program

The Steward Youth Program employs a multi-tiered strategy aimed at reaching a variety of youth at different interest and commitment levels. First, the Steward Education Program provides sustainability and leadership curriculum for k-12 students. The Steward Fellowship Program provides civic and paid workforce development opportunities for high school age youth at Annie’s House and within the surrounding community. Finally, the Steward Leader Program is an intensive year-round program that provides hands-on education to selected youth that have a passion for sustainable community development and a desire to drive change in their community. Curriculum in each of these programs is focused in six different areas of sustainability: Energy, Consumption and Waste, Food and Landscape, Social Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Backyard Garden Program

Sustaining Way has launched a Backyard Garden Program to increase local, fresh food access in Nicholtown. Backyard gardens can address accessibility and affordability concerns related to healthful, seasonal, and culturally significant foods. Backyard gardens provide opportunities for individuals to learn about agroecological practices, such as native or climate-adapted and perennial planting, natural pest control, composting, rain barrel catchment, crop rotation and cover cropping. Through a living classroom of a backyard garden, individuals are able to learn experientially about how their food grows and understand the environmental benefits of a more localized food system. Individuals also can attend Gardening Workshops that will supplement their learning and connect them to other participants. This network of Backyard Garden participants will foster a culture of sustainable gardening in the community. There are currently 10 households participating in this program.

Interested in sponsoring a backyard garden or providing program resources (ex: soil, organic fertilizer, seeds, plants, carpentry skills, tools, labor, gardening education, etc.)?
Please email hello@sustainingway.com for more information.


Gardening Workshop Topics

  • Soil Health
  • Seasonal Gardening
  • Water Management
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Food Preparation and Preservation
  • Food Waste and Composting

General Gardening Resources

  • Clemson Extension
  • ChipDrop (free wood chip mulch deliveries)
  • Seed Library (10 free seed packets with library card)

Sustaining Way Provides

  • Site consultations
  • Soil sampling (soil testing completed by Clemson Extension)
  • Garden kit (includes tools, seeds, and educational materials)
  • Initial labor and materials for garden set-up
  • Ongoing site advisement
  • Garden materials after initial set-up (reviewed upon request and based on our supplies)
  • Gardening Workshop Series

Current sponsors

  • Fall For Greenville
  • Keep Greenville County Beautiful

Community Forums

Educational discussions about relevant and important topics in the Nicholtown community. These events are free to the public. Frequency, date, and location varies. Check our website, social media accounts, or email us at hello@sustainingway.com for more information on the next community forum.


Energy Home Visit Program

In 2019, in collaboration with our partners, we weatherized over 1,000 homes in Nicholtown and held multiple energy efficiency workshops. To continue to address the significant challenges around energy burden, Sustaining Way launched the Energy Home Visit Program in early 2022 to build on our previous energy efficiency work. This program offers free energy efficiency evaluations and basic upgrades of Nicholtown residents’ homes while providing practical actions and tips for homeowners to lower their energy bills.

Do your part in making a difference.

Click here to sign up to participate in our Sustaining Way volunteer days.

Programs Under Development

Community Garden Program

Sustaining Way is educating, mentoring, and providing resources needed for residents in Nicholtown to grow more of their own food. The broader purpose of this project is to eliminate food insecurity and health challenges by improving access to affordable, nutritious foods in Nicholtown. This effort includes multiple community gardens and expansion of our Backyard Garden Program.

Annie’s House Concept Proliferation

While continuing to serve Nicholtown, Sustaining Way is currently in the planning stages to proliferate our model to transform and lead systems-level change in other historically marginalized communities throughout South Carolina and beyond.

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