Learn@EcoVillageIthaca

EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) is part of a growing global movement for a saner, more sustainable human culture. It is developing an alternative model for suburban living, which provides a satisfying, healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing ecological impacts.

EVI is comprised of both an intentional community, the EcoVillage Village Association (EVIVA) and a non-profit educational organization, Learn@EcoVillageIthaca. The residential portion of the project was initiated by the non-profit as a “living laboratory” to demonstrate and teach best practices of sustainable living.

Learn@EcoVillageIthaca, a project of the Center for Transformative Action, promotes experiential learning about ways of meeting human needs for shelter, food, energy, livelihood and social connectedness that are aligned with the long-term health and viability of Earth and its inhabitants. Its primary teaching tool is the ecovillage with its green buildings, renewable energy systems, cohousing communities, organic CSA farms, open space preservation, and social entrepreneurship. Increasingly, it includes collaborative partnerships with local organizations, and it is also part of national and international networks.

Learn@EcoVillageIthaca programs and collaborations include:

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. This thriving program helps diverse learners develop the skills, knowledge and access to resources that they need to build more equitable and sustainable local food systems. A major USDA grant provides funds to help train beginning farmers, and will help to start an incubator farm program on ten acres of EVI land. Groundswell's mission is to help diverse learners develop the skills, knowledge and access to resources that they need to build more equitable and sustainable local food systems. With our hands-on, farmer-led educational programs, we hope to nurture the next generation of aspiring farmers, gardeners and food system activists.

Current Programs include:

  • A 6-credit Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming & Local Food Systems, a college-level intensive course in sustainable agriculture and food justice
  • The New Farmer Training Project, a Sustainable Farming Certificate program for beginning and aspiring farmers
  • The Finger Lakes Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), a community of farm interns that meet throughout the growing season for farm tours and social events
  • The Ithaca Crop Mob, a group of farm volunteers that meet monthly for work parties on area farms

Groundswell’s main campus is West Haven Farm, an independently owned CSA farm located at EcoVillage at Ithaca. Groundswell programs build on over a decade of experience in sustainable living and sustainable agriculture at EcoVillage and West Haven Farm. In addition, Kingbird Farm in Berkshire, Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, Sweet Land Farm and Remembrance Farm in Trumansburg, and other local farms are part of Groundswell’s “campus without walls.”

Your tax deductible contribution to Groundswell helps support these efforts and more!

Other Learn@EcoVillageIthaca programs and collaborations:

EPA Climate Showcase Communities. Learn@EcoVillageIthaca, in collaboration with the Tompkins County Planning Department, recently received funding from the EPA to evaluate the lessons learned from developing EcoVillage at Ithaca over the last twenty years, then apply those lessons to three model residential developments in Tompkins County:

  • TREE, the planned third cohousing community at EVI, which has three goals: sustainability, accessibility, and affordability. TREE is utilizing German Passiv Haus standards to cut its energy use by ninety percent compared to typical American housing.
  • Aurora Dwelling Circle, a planned urban in-fill project in downtown Ithaca which is utilizing EVI’s experiences to build a mini-cohousing community.
  • Village-scale development on county land is in the conceptual stage.


Tours and workshops: 

Learn@EcoVillageIthaca provides tours to over a thousand visitors a year. Some of these are scheduled by university classes, others are building or planning professionals who come from around the world to visit a successful sustainable community, and still others are interested members of the public.

Workshops and speaking engagements are provided on request. Upcoming ones include a weekend workshop at Riverside Church in NYC.

Media & Outreach:

EcoVillage at Ithaca has been featured in numerous documentaries, articles in national publications such as the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, and radio and television broadcasts such as PBS, CNN and NPR as well as international media. Learn@EcoVillageIthaca handles all the media outreach for the ecovillage.

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming Director Bio:

Joanna Green has been the director of Groundswell since 2009, working closely with Groundswell’s diverse collaborators to design, conduct, and evaluate farm-based education and training programs. Joanna has thirty years of experience as a pioneer in the fields of sustainable agriculture and regional food systems development. Before retiring from Cornell University in 2009, she served as Extension Associate with the Cornell Small Farms Program and as Senior Extension Associate with Cornell’s Community, Food and Agriculture Program and Farming Alternatives Program.  She is the coauthor (with Groundswell Advisor Duncan Hilchey) of "Growing Home: A Guide to Reconnecting Agriculture, Food and Communities," as well as coauthor of the award-winning publication, "Farming Alternatives: A Guide to Evaluating the Feasibility of New Farm-Based Enterprises." She produces much of her family’s food on a 2-acre homestead farm in Enfield, NY.