Our Programs and Initiatives

Sustaining Way
Programs & Initiatives

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

Located at 60 Baxter Street in the Nicholtown Community, Annie’s House was built in partnership with Genesis Homes and completed in early 2015. Annie’s House a model of an affordable, highly efficient home. It shows the public the feasibility and benefits of living more simply and sustainably. The home and grounds serve as an education center, demonstration site, and a base of operations for Sustaining Way. 

Annie's House
Demonstration Site

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

Youth & Adult Development

Steward Youth Program

A multi-tiered strategy aimed at reaching youth with varying interests and commitment levels. The curriculum focuses on the six areas of sustainability. If you want to schedule an educational event with Sustaining Way, please click here.

  • Steward Education provides a sustainability and leadership curriculum for K-12 students.
  • Steward Fellows is a six-to-seven-week paid summer internship program that provides sustainability education, workforce development, and personal growth opportunities for rising ninth through twelfth graders at Annie's House and the surrounding community. Summer 2024 applications are now being accepted. Click to apply! 
  • Steward Leaders is an intensive year-round program that provides hands-on education to selected youth with a passion for sustainable community development and a desire to drive change in their community.

Before filling out a form, please note the following:

  • We can support groups of up to 50 individuals during times 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 all minors must accompany someone at least 18 or older.
  • Group form submissions for groups larger than 12 individuals should be submitted no later than two weeks before the preferred date.

Community Coordinator Program

The coordinator is a paid, full-time, rotating development position at Annie’s House. The coordinator works with our partners to serve as a community advocate and shows the feasibility of living more sustainably. They build relationships with residents, work to understand community needs, and address those needs sustainably through direct support or connecting residents with our partners. Through this work and our professional development program, coordinators gain the skills and confidence to become community leaders upon program completion. Please complete our job interest form if you are interested in the coordinator or other adult development positions.

AmeriCorps VISTA Program

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), part of the broader AmeriCorps network, is a national service program in the United States.VISTA members commit to a year of full-time service to address poverty-related issues through capacity-building projects with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community groups. They focus on empowering and strengthening communities by improving education, increasing economic opportunities, and enhancing access to healthcare and other essential services. Sustaining Way is a VISTA Sponsor Organization. We rotate the AmeriCorps positions every year. Please complete our job interest form to apply for an AmeriCorps VISTA position.

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Food Security

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Food Distribution

Sustaining Way partners with local farms and Project Host Food Truck to provide hot meals, fresh produce, and resources to Nicholtown residents. This occurs every Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Hope Church parking lot next to the Nicholtown Community Center. We hope that by providing healthy food, we will ease some of the stress on the Nicholtown community and meet the needs of food-insecure community members. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are interested in tabling, providing produce, or supporting our food distribution programs. 

 

Backyard Garden Program (BYG)

Through hands-on experience in their backyards, individuals learn about the environmental benefits of localized food systems. The Backyard Garden Program improves access to fresh, seasonal, culturally significant foods and educates participants on agroecological practices like native planting and composting. Individuals can also attend Gardening Workshops to supplement their learning and connect them to other participants. Please get in touch with us to provide materials or other support for BYG. Or, if you are a member of one of our focus communities (Nicholtown and New Washington Heights) and are interested in a backyard garden, apply here.

Energy

Energy Home Visit (EHV)

Sustaining Way launched the Energy Home Visit Program in early 2022 to build on our previous energy efficiency work, specifically the weatherization of 1,000 homes with our partners in 2019. 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. Please contact us to provide materials or other support for EHV. If you are a member of one of our focus communities (Nicholtown and New Washington Heights) and are interested in the Energy Home Visit program, apply here.

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Community Health

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Nicholtown Community Health Initiative (NCHI)

The NCHI has four focus areas, each with a team working toward a specific goal in the Nicholtown community. The community chose the four focus areas based on feedback from the Community Health Survey. They include energy burden, food security, mental health, and personal health. We are working with residents, community partners, and staff to reach these goals by sharing resources, hosting events, and engaging with the community.

Other Activities

  • Community forums
    • Educational discussions about relevant and important topics in the Nicholtown community. These events are free to the public. The frequency, date, and location vary. Check our website or social media accounts, or email us at hello@sustainingway.com for more information on the next community forum.
  • Community Garden Program
    • Sustaining Way is educating, mentoring, and providing resources needed for residents in Nicholtown to grow more of their food. This effort includes multiple community gardens and the expansion of our Backyard Garden Program.

 

Interested in sponsoring a program? Please email hello@sustainingway.com for more information.

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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

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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