This spring has been an exciting time of launching The Sustain a Kid Foundation and building the facility that will house it.  Our vision is “inspiring a stewardship model of living in community that will help ensure a future for all children”.

The Open House on March 3rd was attended by over a 100 family and friends, eager to see what craziness were going on in the Mojave Desert.  We had an introduction to Green Building Design presented by architect Houston Drum, graduate of Pomona and UCLA and designer of our straw bale facility.  Tony Malone “green guru” and instructor gave folks an introduction to renewable energy in home use;  Tony Patag gave a presentation on solar water heating; Robert Smith discussed how the construction industry can think sustainably, Mike Wiltshire described his innovative insulation and roofing systems and  Neville presented the fundamentals of straw bale building and described the grey water system for the facility.  Also had wonderful discussions about green retrofitting existing structures, solar ovens, green construction and ideas for energy savings.  Our friends and family came wondering what in the world we had been talking about  and doing for the past five years, we hope they were pleasantly surprised and  enjoyed sharing the South African “Potjie”- a whole meal in a pot, we had a number of varieties, lamb, chicken, pork, and beef, all of which were gobbled up before we could get the next one out.  We all (young and old) had a great day of sharing, learning, exploring and enjoying the incredibly beautiful Mojave Desert.

More in-depth information will be presented at the Green Retrofit Workshop, Saturday, April 14th, 9am – 5pm at the facility. Please email the if you would like to attend, we have to limit of 20 folks.

We have made great progress on the building this spring thanks to help from some wonderful friends. Completed the second floor using sustainably harvested TJI  floor joists from Roseburg Industries  They were one of the first companies to use waste lumber to produce these OSB joists, that reduce the need for dimensional lumber and produce a much quieter, stronger floor.  Thanks to our local company Bear Valley Fabricators who were a great help fabricating some extra joist hangers and Apple Valley Feed Bin for the Straw Bales. The Open House presentations were all done in the upper story, now that the floor is down, it was great to see it being used as “classroom” with everyone sitting on straw bales and listening to the people sharing their wealth of knowledge.

The back wall is up and looking great with the windows and doors in.  It is a SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) wall, an exciting alternative building solution. Our panels were recycled from a warehouse project and it was quite a challenge fitting the variety of pieces together, but thanks to our great team we managed to get it completed before the open house.  I must say that although it is incredibly rewarding when you actually accomplish a task, it can be frustrating when you are continually “reinventing the wheel”- this Blog Site is intended to share some of that hard-earned information so that more people will be encouraged to live sustainably. The back wall is also sunk back six feet into the hill to take advantage of the earth as a natural heat modulator with our desert soils cooperating by maintaining a  62-680 F temperature range year-round. The fun continues on the Straw Bale Walls, the solar PV system, solar water heater and our back yard farming experiments, more updates to follow…..