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Sustainability and CCE

Community sustainability refers to the ability of a community to utilize its resources to ensure that all present and future members can attain a high degree of health and well-being, economic security, and a say in shaping their future while maintaining the integrity of the ecological systems on which all life and production depends.

Sustainability depends on integrating the full range of resources and approaches to resolving issues, including but not limited to social and economic well-being; water; land; air; wildlife, biodiversity and habitat; agriculture; energy; economics; human health; recreation; culture; and aesthetics.

Cornell University has established the Center for a Sustainable Future to advance multidisciplinary research and to cultivate innovative collaborations to foster a sustainable future for all.  Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is committed to sustainability through our research, education, and outreach. Listed below are samples of CCE programs and resources that foster sustainability.

Agriculture | Family well-being | Community Vitality | Environment & Natural Resources | Nutrition & Health


Finger Lakes Sustainable Farming Center - collaborative effort between CCE of Ontario, Seneca and Yates counties that is devoted to the understanding and implementation of sustainable practices and programs for agriculture and communities in the Finger Lakes Regions.

Cornell Small Farms Program - fostering the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms that contribute to food security, healthy rural communities and environmental preservation.

Cornell Farm-to-School - developing strategies to increase the amount of and appreciation for locally grown food served to New York's students.

Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship (NECFE) - providing assistance to beginning and established food entrepreneurs to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities. Within the NYS Food Venture Center at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.

New York Sustainable Ag Quarterly - offering information regarding SARE's (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) funding opportunities and showcasing new approaches to enhancing sustainable agricultural development.

VineBalance: NYS Sustainable Viticulture Program - defining and promoting the use of sustainable growing practices on New York's 33,000 acres of vineyards. Collaboration between the wine/grape industry, CCE and NY Soil & Water Conservation Committee.


Consumer Education Program for Residential Energy Efficiency (CEPREE)
CEPREE is a joint program between the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University and the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). The goals of this program are to increase consumer awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and of programs available through New York Energy $mart (sm) to make single homes and multifamily buildings more energy efficient.

EmPower New York (sm)
Workshops, funded by NYSERDA, are conducted by CCE Educators which are designed to assist consumers to reduce energy bills by maximizing resources and reducing energy use.

Energy Savings in the Home
CCE of Tompkins County has developed an interactive tool where home owners can learn how to save 20-60% of their energy costs each year while doing things that will also save the environment. There are also energy saving tips provided for apartment dwellers and tenants.

Choose Health for You and Your World
Through this 4-H program, youth learn how sustainability efforts are good for both personal and world health. Examples: Eating locally grown fruits and vegetables helps meet the requirements for a healthy diet and reduces travel costs. Refilling a water bottle helps a person to stay hydrated and decreases the amount of plastic discarded.

Go Figure!
This program engages youth in online science, technology and math experiences. For example, youth can learn how to track the amount of water they use in a day and discover ways to save water which promotes the sustainability of our natural resources.

Operation Military Kids (OMK)
OMK's mission is to support National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Duty Soldier's children and youth by building local community capacity to provide sustainable support to these youth through 4-H Military Community Clubs.

Tracking Climate in Your Backyard
This is a pilot project involving a collaboration of the NYS 4-H Office, the Paleontological Research Institution, the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the Cornell Institute for Resource Information Systems and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCo RaHS) based at Colorado State University. Youth will learn how to take measurements of precipitation and record the data on the CoCo RaHS web site. The goal is to develop young scientists with a connection to science, data collection and their community.

One Seed at a Time: Alleviating Climate Change Through Youth Community Action
A project developed by the Department of Horticulture involving a pilot set of youth-determined activities to assist youth and adults in beginning to understand the impact of climate change and explore making a difference through sustainable gardening practices.

Partners in Caregiving
CCE helps sustain the quality of life for older adults in nursing homes by conducting workshops to enhance communication and foster partnerships between family members and nursing home staff which may result in changes in nursing home policies and practices.


Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI)
CaRDI works to strengthen and support New York's local communities and citizens. CaRDI serves as a point of entry to Cornell University's resources and expertise in community development and local governance, and provides outreach to community leaders, educators, elected officials and citizens interested in the vitality and sustainability of their communities.

Land Use Leadership Alliance Training
The overall goal of this CaRDI program is to improve the understanding of and decisions about issues that influence the current state and future of New York landscapes as they involve residents, communities and the land that supports and connects them. The above, links to the Yates County - Keuka Lake Land Use Leadership Alliance Training.

Agroforestry Resource Center (ARC)
ARC provides leadership for the achievement of a sustainable balance between economic development and preservation of the forest dominated landscape in the Catskill Mountain/Hudson Valley Region. Established by CCE of Greene County, it serves as an educational resource for forest owners, farmers, policy makers and the general public to assist in making wise land use decisions to ensure that rural landscapes continue to provide the viable sustainable natural assets on which residents depend.

North Country Regional Foods Initiative
This project involves CCE Associations in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties and the Economic Development Administrative University Center at CaRDI. The goal is to understand and document how local food businesses and activities benefit northern NY and identify strategies for enhancing those benefits.

Natural Gas Development Resource Center
The CCE Natural Gas Development Resource Center brings together information from a variety of sources, including academic research, industry analysis, local government officials and citizens. The goal is to provide a space for dialogue and learning that will lead to informed decision making by all concerned.


Biofuels and Renewable Energy Systems
This site highlights the efforts within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University to develop renewable clean energy and economically sustainable systems to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.

Cow Power
A joint project between Cornell University and the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) which is exploring fuel cell feasibility for energy conversion on dairy farms. This site also provides links to renewable energy resources and organizations.

Grass Bioenergy
A program within the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University which focuses on growing perennial grasses to produce grass pellet energy on marginal farmland that will provide alternative resources to rural communities.

Manure Management Program
This program which is part of PRO-DAIRY within the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University provides ongoing research and information about Biogas, which is a product of anaerobic digester systems.

This Department of Natural Resources program provides educational resources to help forest owners (families and private citizens) make decisions about the management of their property to ensure the sustainability of private forest land productivity and ecological function.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The NYS IPM Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and help people to use methods that minimize environmental, health effects and costs. This website includes pest management information for the home and farm.


Food Decision-Making Program
This program's vision involves the health and well-being of children and their families who are supported by sustainable, just and equitable community food systems.

NYS Farmer's Market Nutrition Program
This program promotes the development of farmer's markets as a component of sustainable quality communities while enhancing the health of eligible, low-income, nutritionally at-risk residents with fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education.

Sustaining Local Food Systems in New York State
Local foods efforts support and foster the relationships between producers, consumers and community developers with the goal of strengthening and sustaining these communities through the connections that are made.