In 1997, on their return from seven months in China, Brook and Rose LeVan, affected by their travels and the subsequent culture shock upon their return to the US, initiated an experiment to create a setting in which people could live and learn to create a more sustainable future. The LeVan’s initially founded Sustainable Settings under the nonprofit umbrella of COMPASS, a sponsoring organization devoted to lifelong learning, social justice, responsibility and community. In 2001, Sustainable Settings established itself as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and began a nation-wide search for a permanent home and headquarters for the organizations future research, demonstration and education activities. This search culminated with the identification of the Thompson Creek Ranch along the Crystal River in Pitkin County, Colorado. After a successful first phase of the “Our Sustainable Future” Land Campaign, the ranch was purchased in the Spring of 2003 with the generous support of Adam Lewis, Peter B. Lewis, and our board of directors.

Sustainable Settings was formed in order to create a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable society, one that can provide permanent prosperity within the biophysical constraints of the real world, in a way that is equitable to all of humanity, other species, and future generations. Sustainable Settings brings together many disciplines to create a whole systems approach and setting conducive to:

  • Intelligently designing, building and operating sustainable development
  • Experimenting with long-term solution for food, herb and fiber production
  • Anchoring our experiential teaching and learning in the surrounding ecosystem
  • Investigating how we can incorporate art and aesthetics into our daily lives, and
  • Building a more cooperative and just society