Inspired and passionate people collaborate at the Center for Sustainable Living of Bloomington, Indiana to share how we can care for our Earth and live well, together. Our non-profit has more than 20 years of experience nurturing great ideas like yours, so find your place and do great work with us.
The Center for Sustainable Living supports 10 different projects.
Find your passion and jump in!
Teaching bicycle repair skills and reshaping our community for sustainable commuting.
The Bike Project is a local cooperative that helps get the city of Bloomington moving by recycling bicycles back into the community. Looking for a bike? We sell bikes that volunteers have restored. Have a bike or parts to donate? We’ll accept it! Does your bike just need a little work? Our volunteers can teach you the basics of repair and maintenance. Or are you looking to help people with all of the above? You’ve come to the right place!
Hosting potlucks and encouraging advocacy for sustainable eating with other vegetarians and vegans in your community.
BloomingVeg is an all-ages social and advocacy group for vegetarians, vegans, and veggie-lovers alike. BloomingVeg was founded in 2012 to help at the local animal sanctuary, promote and publicize vegan dining options in Bloomington, demonstrate against animal cruelty at circuses, and engage in similar friendly efforts to help others live more compassionately.
Also, because eating is such a social aspect of our lives, we wanted to provide a venue for fun gatherings like potlucks, holiday cookie swaps, Meatless Monday dinners at local restaurants, and more among like-minded people! If you are a long-time vegan or vegetarian, just starting out, or maybe you just like eating vegan food, BloomingVeg has something for you! You’re welcome in our friendly group of compassionate eaters.
Have you heard of a “Little Free Pantry” (LFP)? Little Free Pantry Bloomington, fellow project of the Center For Sustainable Living, has a variety of small pantries around town, similar…Read
Jordan from Bloomingfoods shows us how to make seasonal potato zucchini fritters with a rainbow chard slaw. If you make this recipe, post a picture on Instagram and tag @bloomingveg…Read
Try vegan this January with vegan specials at participating local Bloomington restaurants.Read
Encouraging everyone we come across to use reusable shopping bags.
We spend time talking one-on-one to people in grocery stores and at various community events, explaining the problems with plastic bags, and distributing free reusable bags. Person by person we are showing how small individual changes can lead to measurable, community-wide improvements! If you’d like to help make simple changes that have huge impacts, then join our efforts to teach and inform.
The original goal of Bring Your Bag Bloomington was to introduce a city ordinance to drastically reduce distribution of single-use plastic bags by implementing a ban and/or fee on bags. After working towards this goal for 18 months, the Indiana Legislature rushed through a bill in March 2016 which banned any local laws controlling plastic bags or any other disposable food containers. This was outrageous, but nevertheless we have continued to encourage everyone we come across to use reusable bags.
Creating something new from what would otherwise be discarded, giving clothes, material, and more a second or third life.
Discardia helps you find new life for textiles and other reusable materials, spurring creativity and reducing the flow of these materials to landfills. We’re establishing a hub for creative artisans who are already fashioning items from used materials. If you want to encourage others to see the benefit of creative problem solving by way of example and education, you can help imbue not only a sense of community involvement, but also establish a local identity of creative motion for everyone involved.
Establishing wildlife habitats, increasing biodiversity, and beautifying the land anywhere there is a bit of space.
Through Habitat Stewards, we take the national Backyard Wildlife Habitat principles and share with others the joy and benefits of growing local native plants, establishing wildlife water and shelter needs, and more. We started by working to certify Bloomington as a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Today, we still encourage new wildlife habitat developments throughout Bloomington and share what we have learned about our local ecosystem. You can help create wildlife habitats in backyards around our community!
Giving what you can; taking what you need
Little Free Pantry is a project at the Center for Sustainable Living that aims to build community and address gaps in food accessibility in Bloomington. LFPs are outdoor cabinet units that neighbors can stock with items they wish to make available for those in their community. In high poverty areas, the LFP can be used to supplement emergency food access and provide for personal item needs. In less at-risk communities, the LFP can be used for an after school snack or the proverbial cup of sugar. No matter the setting, LFP nurtures the spirit of giving for givings sake.
Bringing solar to more places to expand the number of businesses and public buildings powered by the sun.
The Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN) formed in 2008 to promote an alternative energy model to reduce dependence on coal. Since then, we have continued to help more and more homes, businesses, churches, governmental buildings, and schools become solar powered. By presenting free, public Going Solar programs, and organizing Solarize group-purchase programs in partnership with city teams around the state, we help overcome barriers to adoption of solar in the Midwest by demonstrating its performance, affordability, and availability. If you want to see our culture move away from fossil fuels as a foundation, embracing the possibility of carbon-neutral energy, then join our efforts right here in southern Indiana.
Purchasing solar power together to expand access to those with limited funds, providing energy independence and economic savings for all.
By quickly ramping up photovoltaic (PV) installations in Indiana, we are making solar power financially accessible to those with limited funds through our bulk purchasing and collective subsidizing plan. Together we are increasing energy efficiency, building community, and creating resilience.
The price of solar installations has dropped dramatically in recent years, yet people with fixed or limited income still cannot afford to buy in, and typically do not qualify for the federal renewable energy tax credit. These people are also the most vulnerable to inevitable electric rate increases and have the most to gain from reduced utilities expenses. All households, businesses, and other organizations are eligible to participate and benefit from the bulk purchase discounts we negotiate in a given area, and by buying with us subsidize installations of solar PV systems for people with fixed or limited incomes—providing some energy independence and economic savings for all. Not only do people of all economic positions benefit from our purchasing plan, but along the way volunteers gain skills in home weatherization, solar installation, and roof repair. If you want to learn these skills for possible new employment opportunities and help spread solar access, this is the project for you!
Making and building in a space dedicated to community, art, and sustainability.
As the economic and political landscape of Indiana continues to change, it is vital to secure permanent spaces for radical organizing, learning, cooperation, gardening, public events, non-profit efforts, and open discussions. We are a collective of artists, inventors, non-profits, community organizers, and makers creating that space in Bloomington, Indiana.
Many community center buildings are rented rather than owned. We now own a space that we are working to make accessible to the community and sustainable over time. Without the stress of rent hikes, we are better positioned to increase mission-driven programming over time and maximize resources to the community. If you like this can-do attitude and want to work to revitalize our neighborhoods with skills, friendships, and more, then stop by the Overlook.