Sustainable Living: Interview with Omega Center for Sustainable Living and Omega Institute

Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a non-profit educational, retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York and houses the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. We had the honor to visit the Omega campus and speak to Chrissa Santoro, the Director of External Communications and talk about the many eco-friendly initiatives and holistic programs that Omega offers.

Sustainable Living: Interview with Omega Center for Sustainable Living and Omega Institute

The interview was held at The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) which was opened in 2009 and was the first building ever to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification—the highest environmental performance standards available.

The OCSL is an environmental education center and hosts a greenhouse and state-of-the art Eco-Machine™, a natural water reclamation facility that has reclaimed 45M gallons of wastewater during the last 10 years since it was opened. The Eco-Machine™ uses plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to turn Omega’s wastewater into clean water which is then used to restore the aquifer.

The majority of the building is built with reclaimed wood, and a small amount of the wood is sourced from FSC Certified Forests. The building uses geothermal technology for heating and cooling and utilizes 211 solar panels to generate 134.2 kw/day.

The center is designed to generate more electricity than it uses and in the last 10 years it saved a total of 867K pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Omega’s campus has numerous additional eco-friendly initiatives to prevent waste and reduce its environmental impact that range from recycling, composting, conservation of resources, supporting sustainable agriculture and local businesses by offering farm-to-table meals that are locally sourced and mostly organically grown and powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power.

Besides the OCSL, Omega provides over 350 educational workshops and events annually that range from: body, mind, and spirit to creative expression, to leadership and work, health and healing, relationships and family, and sustainable living. Omega’s commitment to creating a climate for positive change extends beyond workshops and R&R retreats, through other key initiatives and programs including the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, work with Veterans that offers programs and scholarships for Veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, Yoga Service which brings yoga practice to underserved populations such as prisons, senior homes, and schools with at-risk youth, as well as programs that bring mindfulness practice to educational institutions and healthcare providers.

To learn more about the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living please visit their website: https://www.eomega.org

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Sustainable Living: Jessie Creek Winery

We had the honor to visit the beautiful Jessie Creek Winery and Inn in Cape May during our travel through New Jersey. The owner Dr. Bruce Morrison talked to us about the wineries mission and their award winning wines. He also informed us about their sustainable ground keeping practices and how the winery plants native plants to invite native organisms and insects and promote a healthy environment for the Monarch Butterflies.

Jessie Creek Winery was awarded by the Cape May Chamber of Commerce for their aid and contribution to the The Wetlands Institute for wetlands conservation projects throughout the county.

The owners gave us a tour of their beautiful Inn at Jessie Creek that the couple lovingly restored. The Inn is listed on Airbnb and can be rented also for special events. Jessie Creek Winery is a great place for any events including weddings and birthdays.

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Please visit the Jessie Creek Winery website for more info and visit their Facebook page.

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The East Coast #Vanlife Tour Road Trip Part 2

Our #Vanlife itinerary from Florida to New York Part 2 brought us from Maryland to Delaware and New Jersey. After spending a couple months in our travel trailer in Florida during the Spring, it was time to get going and living on the road again! Our road trip from Florida to Maine and back included cruising up along the coast to New York and New Jersey where we’ll be taking a work break for a few weeks and spend time with family before moving onwards to the North!

On this road trip we were primarily boondocking (free dry camping), we slept in our van while being parked in different city parking spots and on several small farms and wineries through the Harvest Hosts program.

In Cape May we visited the beautiful Jessie Creek Winery and Inn where we had the honor to speak to the owners and get a private tour of the Inn which was recently restored and lovingly decorated.

The owner Dr. Bruce Morrison told us about the winery and their eco-friendly and sustainable farming practices that help prevent extinction of the Monarch Butterflies and promote native plants, insects and organisms. The winery also donates its profits of three of their award winning wines for the local wetlands conservation.

We had such a great time at Jessie Creek Winery and enjoyed their delicious wines and beautiful views before having a restful and quiet sleep next to their vineyards.

Jessie Creek Winery is a member of the Harvest Hosts Program and we loved staying at this winery and other farms that we visited during our trip. It is always a great and unique experience.

Harvest Hosts is a program offering overnight stays for RVers and self-contained Vanlifers at over 600 participating farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums and golf clubs.
For a $79 per year membership fee the hosts allow for an overnight stay on their land at no cost while members are encouraged to drink, eat or shop at the host’s establishment before going to sleep on their property. It’s a win-win situation that provides for unique experiences, learning opportunities and social exchange that make for wonderful memories.
For more info visit the Harvest Hosts website.

We are so excited to be back in our van and living the simple van life and exploring all the beauty that the East Coast has to offer!

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The East Coast #Vanlife Tour Road Trip Part 1

Our #Vanlife itinerary driving from down South in Central Florida and cruising up along the coast to North East New York and beyond. After spending a couple months in our travel trailer in Florida it was time to get going and living on the road again!

This time our road trip is taking us from Florida to Maine and back! On this road trip we were primarily boondocking (free dry camping), we slept in our van while being parked in city parking lots, at a friend’s driveway in North Carolina, a campground in Ocracoke and on several small farms.

The East Coast #Vanlife Tour Road Trip Part 1

We also had an interview with farmer Marissa of Whippoorwill Farms in South Carolina and learned from her about their eco-friendly, organic and sustainable farming practices and how they raise their pigs, chickens and rabbits humanely and with free range. Check out the video interview here.

Whippoorwill Farms is a member of the Harvest Hosts Program and we loved staying on this and other farms on our trip. It is always great to stay at a farm and we always have a peaceful night and it is a unique experience.

Harvest Hosts is a program offering overnight stays for RVers and self-contained Vanlifers at over 600 participating farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums and golf clubs.
For a $79 per year membership fee the hosts allow for an overnight stay on their land at no cost while members are encouraged to drink, eat or shop at the host’s establishment before going to sleep on their property. It’s a win-win situation that provides for unique experiences, learning opportunities and social exchange that make for wonderful memories.

For more info visit the Harvest Hosts website: http://harvesthosts.refr.cc/wandergreen

For two nights we stayed in an Airbnb in the Outer Banks in North Carolina that we fled to because of some very aggressive mosquitoes that tried to eat us alive even with the van doors and windows shut, but they found their way inside through a small crack at the side door frame.

We are so excited to be back in our van and living the simple van life and exploring all the beauty that the East Coast has to offer!

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