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May 22nd, 2021
For their work to cultivate a thriving, sustainable, and equitable environment in Greenville’s Nicholtown and surrounding communities, Sustaining Way is the recipient of the 2021 Environmental Equity and Justice Award.
Formed in 2012 by founder Rick Joye, Sustaining Way works to use education, collaboration, and advocacy to create sustainable, caring, and equitable communities for current and future generations.
Food and energy costs create a burden that reduces the ability for low-income individuals to break out of poverty. Through educational programs at the organization’s innovative flagship Annie’s House, located just off the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail in Nicholtown, Sustaining Way supports the community in living more sustainably, in turn reducing the burden of high food and energy costs.
Some of the current practices demonstrated at Annie’s House include: gardening and chicken keeping, improving home energy efficiency and utilizing renewable energy, water quality education and conservation, green transportation, food preservation, and composting and recycling. And because it’s never too soon to learn about sustainability, the Steward Youth Program provides students in grades K-12 with information to build healthy, lifelong habits.
To help community residents offset rising energy costs, the organization’s Energy Home Visit Program — a partnership with Duke Energy, City of Greenville, Community Conservation Corp and the Nicholtown Neighborhood Association — has weatherized and helped improve the energy efficiency of over 1,000 Nicholtown homes. Energy efficiency workshops have also provided practical actions and tips for homeowners to lower their energy bills.
As access to fair and equitable housing becomes an increasing concern in the rapidly gentrifying Nicholtown community, Sustaining Way has been offering virtual workshops in partnership with the Nicholtown Neighborhood Association, the City of Greenville and Greenville County Human Relations to educate residents about pathways to homeownership.
Sustaining Way is also working to tackle food insecurity, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. Through its weekly Meals & Masks events with the Nicholtown Neighborhood Association and Project Host, Sustaining Way has been providing meals, FoodShare boxes, and personal protective equipment to vulnerable community members.
In early 2021, founder Rick Joye handed the reins to incoming Executive Director Michael Brown. Under Michael’s leadership, Sustaining Way plans to continue work with impacted communities in eradicating the reality of food insecurity, championing affordable housing and promoting energy efficiency in an equitable and sustainable way.