What We Do
SustainFloyd works to leverage and preserve Floyd County’s existing assets and traditional strengths in agriculture and craftsmanship to help build a resilient rural local economy.
Supporting the growth of our community’s next generation requires a community commitment, which is why we work closely with local and state governments and agencies, local businesses, like-minded non-profits and local citizens. Together we can find ways to develop the financial and ecological health of our community for the well-being of all citizens of Floyd County. But we also join with other communities throughout the region and around the globe to model new ways of living on, working in, and caring for the world around us.
Our project areas focus on efforts to:
- Localize our economy
- Enhance and protect natural and cultural resources
- Advance issues related to strengthen food systems, energy independence, transportation, waste and recycling, and education
On November 16, 2008, a small group of Floyd County residents gave a public presentation in the Floyd Country Store entitled “The Future of Floyd.” Arranged by The Floyd Fund, a local affiliate of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, some 60 residents attended and presented diverse viewpoints. After the presentation a number of people stayed behind to talk further. This group became the core of the SustainFloyd initiative.
In January, 2009 the core group began bi-monthly meetings and created a mission statement, selected a board of directors, formed committees and elected officers. In May, SustainFloyd presented a guest lecture with famed environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose words were a watershed moment for the organization. We moved forward on a number of initiatives, including participation in the global event 350 Action; SplitRail, Floyd County’s first environmental festival; and the opening of the Floyd Community Market. In December, SustainFloyd applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
In February, 2010 SustainFloyd hired its first Director, Mike Burton, who had previously served as a board member. In March, SustainFloyd received non-profit status and Congressman Rick Boucher helped dedicate The Station building, a newmulti-purpose complex that includes the Floyd Community Market. In May, the Floyd Artisans Market and Floyd Farmers Market opened in the Floyd Community Market, featuring local arts, crafts, fresh produce, breads and cheeses.
In the succeeding years SustainFloyd has taken on a wide diversity of projects, trying to respond to the needs of the community in relation to our mission. For example, 2009 we undertook an energy and emissions study on behalf of Floyd County—a way to create a baseline of energy usage against which to measure future energy saving initiative. In 2011 we initiated a film series that continues to offer opportunities for the community to see leading edge environmental documentaries and discuss the issues involved. In 2013 we secured funding to start and experimental farm and to offer a series of farm classes to the community. We have also raised grant funding to conduct a feasibility study for a value added food processing facility in Floyd County—a study that is now available to the community. And we were able to find funding to run a two year Farm to School Program that looked at ways to help the Floyd County School system to bring more fresh and local foods to students.
In 2020 we are a leaner organization, with one part-time staff member supporting an active board. We continue our work with The Farmers Market, Film Series and Energy Initiatives which are now well established and growing. Still, we see the growing urgency of our work and we continue to generate new projects as opportunities and needs arise. We are expanding the Floyd Energy Fest into a regional event–The Blue Ridge Eco Fair–and we have initiated new projects related to climate change, waste management and wildlife habitat.
Strengthening creative, local community is a critical component of a sustainable future and we continue to develop projects aimed at addressing pressing environmental issues in ways that can engage a growing group of people.