RUST – The Regenerative Urban Sustainability Training
-an intensive weekend workshop of skills for building ecologically and socially resilient cities
As a greater number of Earth’s population moves into cities, it is becoming increasingly critical that we re-design our urban environments to be more sustainable: capable of meeting the needs of their residents while simultaneously improving their ecological and social health. Accomplishing this goal will become of dire importance as the interplay of climate change, energy constraint, and economic inequality converges upon us.
This process of transition will necessitate that we drastically reduce our consumption of Earth’s resources, as well as recycle our waste products back into natural systems. To those not familiar with the fundamentals of sustainable living, the task of working towards it can seem daunting and confusing.
In this class, Scott Kellogg and other sustainability experts give attendees a “toolbox” of techniques and knowledge usable by anyone wanting to create sustainable systems in their own communities. Using the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center as a living learning laboratory, class participants will engage in an intensive weekend of participatory hands-on activity, seeing firsthand how integrated ecological systems function in an urban context. Students will come away ready to implement these techniques in a variety of spaces ranging from the micro to the macro!
Typical topics & hands-on demonstrations include:
- Aquaponics: fish &plant integration
- Microlivestock: chickens, pigeons, and mini-goats
- Waste to soil: composting food wastes with animals, worms and microbes
- Rainwater harvesting, duck-a-poop-a-ponics, and DIY River Remediation
- De-toxifying the urban commons – Low-intensity bioremediation: cleaning contaminated soils using plants, fungi and bacteria
- Edible mushroom cultivation and fungal remediation
- Partnering with bugs: Beekeeping, black soldier flies, polystyrene eating mealworms, and silkworms
- Microgreens production, spirulina, and perennial food systems
- Bioshelters, greenhouses, and season extension techniques
- Reconciliation ecology: promoting biodiversity and biocultural diversity in the city
- Autonomous energy: methane digesters, urban wind and solar, and biothermal heat
- Ecoliteracy and youth eco-justice education
- Ecological micro-economies
- Urban Ecosystem Justice – Equity in the urban soil, water, atmospheric and waste commons
$150 to $350, sliding scale (pay what you can within this range). The cost includes meals for both days.
Limited worktrade positions are available for those who would not be able to attend the class otherwise. The worktrade costs $90 and involves 6 hours of work the Friday before the class. You are welcome to volunteer with the worktrade participants if you would like the experience or have free time. Please only apply for one of the worktrade slots if it is really needed, as they fill quick and then we are forced to turn people away.
We also offer diversity scholarships for people of color, which lowers the price of the course to $50. Please contact us if you are interested in applying for a scholarship.
Floor space in the neighborhood is available for Friday and Saturday for $5/night.
Lunch will be provided for lunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Attendees are reponsible for breakfast and dinner. Please let us know if you have special dietary needs and we will do our best to accommodate.
Space is limited – we encourage early registration for all classes. Past classes have filled well in advance.
You can either register online
or send a non-refundable deposit of $90 to:
59 Elm St., Albany NY 12202
**Please make checks and money orders payable to Radix Ecological Sustainability Center.
Canadian registrations – please send a money order in USD.
With your registration, please include the following information:
a paragraph about yourself – what are your interests and how did you come to hear about RUST?
any special needs
The book “Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide” (South End Press, 2008), by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew, was written as a companion to the RUST workshop. It is highly recommended that course attendees read the book so that they may be more familiar with the systems described within it. Doing so will allow you the opportunity to ask questions, have diagrams to refer to, and will contribute to you having a more rewarding experience at RUST overall.
Below are the bios of the primary teachers of the course. Guest presenters will be brought in as well.
Scott Kellogg is the co-author of the book “Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide” (South End Press) and the primary teacher of R.U.S.T. – The Regenerative Urban Sustainability Training, an intensive weekend workshop in urban ecological living skills that has been attended by over 700 people since it was first taught in 2006
Currently, Scott is the Educational Director at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, an urban environmental educational center in Albany, NY. It is a demonstration of environmental technologies and sustainable micro industries applicable in today’s cities. ( http://www.radixcenter.org ) Radix contains a solar heated bioshelter greenhouse that contains an integrated food production system involving fish, plants, rabbits, worms, chickens, ducks, silkworms, and black soldier flies.
Scott was also a co-founder of Austin, Texas’ Rhizome Collective, an urban sustainability education project, and worked as the director of its sustainability program from 2000-2009.
Scott is a graduate student in the Ph.D program of Science and Technology Studies at RPI. He has a Masters in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University and is an appointed member of Albany’s Sustainability Advisory Committee to the Common Council and the chair of it’s urban agriculture subcommittee. He has taught at numerous universities in the US, and has given numerous workshops and multi-part sustainability courses both nationally and internationally.
Stacy Pettigrew is the Executive Director of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center and was a co-founder of the Rhizome Collective. She has participated in the construction of sustainable systems and organizational infrastructure. Stacy is also a journalist and producer with WINGS: The Women’s International News Gathering Service. She has Masters of Science in Epidemiology and is earning her PhD in Environmental Health Science at the School of Public Health, University at Albany.
Lisa DePiano is a certified permaculture designer, teacher and practitioner with over 15 years of experience. She has taught hundreds of students in various settings from the streets of Occupy Wall Street to the media lab at MIT to delivering the keynote at the 2012 Northeast Permaculture Convergence.
She is currently a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts and co-founder and lead instructor of Permaculture FEAST. She runs the Mobile Design Lab which specializes in participatory permaculture design and installation.
Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew are a dynamic team of powerful minds on a mission of quality life in urban areas – I admire their dedication and knowledge. I am so inspired to take what I learned and to plant seeds of change. – William Padilla-Brown
The RUST weekend was packed with learning while still feeling informal and relaxed. I can’t believe how many topics were covered with a good amount of depth. Scott and Stacy’s enthusiasm is contagious and I left the workshop feeling very inspired! It was wonderful to meet the participants who were from all over – everyone had something to contribute. – RUST 2015 attendee
Scott and Stacy have developed an informative and engaging weekend workshop providing knowledge and hands-on training to provide solutions to ecological problems. The strategies and resources provided can be easily replicated. I was left feeling energized and eager to implement some of the tings I learned. – Sam Samson
Frequently Asked Questions
The curriculum seems very ambitious, will we really cover all this material in a weekend?
Yes. The course is designed to be highly intensive and to cover a large amount of material in a few days. The list topics given above is meant to give a general feel for the course material – some topics will be explored in greater depth than others.
Why is the course only two days long? Travel is expensive and it would be more worth my time to stay longer.
We understand the cost of travel is prohibitive and that out of town attendees would prefer the course to take place over several days rather than a weekend. It is very important to us, however, that the course be accessible to working people, which makes it necessary to be condensed into a weekend.
How is the course structured? Will I get to learn about all the topics or must I chose only a few?
There is one single curriculum that everyone will attend. The mornings will be lecture, and in the afternoons we will split the class into halves for the hands-on workshops. The same workshops repeat for the other half the following day, so everyone will get to learn about all of the topics.
Who is this course for?
Anyone interested in learning specialized techniques for small-scale sustainable design in cities will benefit from this course. While the focus is on urban design, these skills can be applied to rural areas with little modification. Renters can adapt these designs to temporary situations as well.
No prior knowledge of permaculture or sustainable design is required, however, please note that this is not a permaculture design course – very little time will be spent explaining the principles of permaculture. The main focus is learning specific techniques that can be used without an extensive theoretical basis.
When to arrive?
We recommend arriving Friday to be prepared for class Saturday morning. The class will end Sunday evening. Once you have registered, you will be sent an information form with more details about the course – how to get there, the course syllabus, etc.
or call (518) 605-3256