Sustainable Living Network
The Sustainable Living Network is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to supporting people, groups, and communities to move towards healthier, more sustainable ways of living through inspiration and education.

The network was founded in 1999, by Jillian Hovey, with a view to developing a one-stop shopping for all things related to sustainable living that were in the realm of subject areas that Ms. Hovey had expertise in and was being consulted about. The areas that we focus on are: permaculture; organic farming, gardening, and urban agriculture; natural building techniques; renewable energy; alternative grey water and black water treatment systems and composting toilets; ecovillages, cohousing, and intentional communities; communication, facilitation, consensus, and conflict resolution skill development; as well as personal growth and health. The focus is on inspiration and education, which is accomplished through participation in projects at the network, summer student positions, internships, courses and workshops, and consulting.

Sustainable Living Books
Sustainable Living Books is a volunteer-run community service project of the Sustainable Living Network, which helps us fulfill our mandate of inspiration and education about sustainable living. The community service bookstore has made available over 4,000 different books and other resources on sustainable and healthy living at eco events and shows over the past six years. We have a draft web site up at www.sustainablelivingbooks.com, and hope to have the site functional by the end of this summer.


We are looking for motivated people, with positive personalities and
a desire to learn while giving of their time, energy, and expertise. We are especially open to people who are clearly committed to a life path of movement towards health and sustainability, and who have a strong interest in the areas the Sustainable Living Network is involved with. Organization, self-motivation, critical thinking, and the ability to communicate effectively with others are very important skills and attributes that we are looking for.

Except for summer students, for whom we receive funding from the HRSDC, everyone at The Sustainable Living Network is a volunteer, including the founder and Executive Director (aka "Head Volunteer") Jillian Hovey. We work together as a team, building community while we learn about sustainable living, and grow as human beings.

There is always more to do than we have people to do it. The work is primarily to help in the development of The Sustainable Living Network, and the Sustainable Living Books community service project.

Right now, as we are doing so much development of our electronic office infrastructure, we especially need people to help who have computer skills.

For more Details about Becoming a Technical Volunteer CLICK HERE!

Ongoing Projects that we Need Help with:

There is always more to do than we have people to do it. The work is
primarily to help in the development of The Sustainable Living Network, and
the Sustainable Living Books community service project. Some of the
tasks/projects are as follows:

• Contact database: continuing database design, data entry, developing of applications (such as emailing lists, etc.)
• Development of the resource centre's library: design of a reference system
so all the categories from “alternative energy” to “zebra mussels” are readily
accessible to people wanting to use the library; filing uncategorized materials
• Cataloguing of thousands of slide images from sustainable living projects
from around the world, to be used in slide shows, web sites, and promotional
• Development of promotional materials: continued development of our web
sites www.sustainablelivingnetwork.org and www.sustainablelivingbooks.com , design and production of brochures and event display materials
• Research of funding options and development of funding application
• Continued development of www.sustainablelivingbooks.com : completing
and polishing data entry for our 3,000 titles, with a view to having a subset of 1,500 core titles up on line by the end of the summer; possible print catalogue development; research of new titles
• Books sales: help displaying books at special events, fulfilling book
orders, processing returns
• General organization and maintenance of the office, including gardening
• Development of and cultivation of the office rooftop, container, and back
yard gardens
• Courses and Workshops - assisting in preparing for, assisting at, and
processing afterwards

The list above is a brief overview of the areas of our work that we can use help with. There is much more detail available about each of these projects, especially the more technical ones that require computer expertise.

How Much Time Do I Have to Commit?

There is a lot of flexibility in the volunteer work, which depends on the
skills and interests of the volunteers currently involved, the availability of the volunteer and the person who will work with the volunteer, and the
priorities of the Sustainable Living Network. Volunteers will often be directly supported
in their involvement by Jillian Hovey, a leading expert and educator in the
holistic field of sustainable living.


Core Skills Development

• Personal organization, goal-setting, time management, and self-management
• Team planning: time lines, goals & objectives, performance evaluation
• Project organization, and potentially project leadership
• Working on own and in groups
• Communication: in person, phone, email, fax, letter
• consensus, conflict resolution
• Office organization and management
• Computer and software proficiencies: word processing, contact data base management, Access database, email, web search, web site development software, graphics programmes, image cataloguing (Extensis Portfolio), networked computer usage protocol, computer organization and hierarchy
• Promotional literature development (lay out, aesthetics, content)
• Web site design
• e-commerce skills
• Public outreach and service
• Customer service skills (phone and in-person)
• Fundraising: research and application development
• Event planning: including time and cost budgeting
• Workshop and course curriculum and schedule planning
• Organic growing: back yard, roof top, and container
• Organization of a Community Shared Agriculture project
• Natural building techniques
• Volunteer programme coordination

Opportunties to Travel to Eco Events and Projects

In addition to the learning opportunities through the continuing development of
The Sustainable Living Network in the home office, volunteers become eligible to go on
excursions to other sustainable living locations and events in Ontario,
Quebec, and into the United States. These opportunities occur through the workshops offered by the Sustainable Living Network (e.g. edible landscaping, solar showers, composting toilets,
earthships, strawbale, natural plasters, earth floors, permaculture, and ecovillages), and through attendance at eco events that Jillian Hovey is speaking at and/or we take the Sustainable living Books community service project to. This itinerary and costs will be determined on an individual basis.

Reduced Cost on Books for Volunteers

Volunteers become eligible to purchase books from the Sustainable Living
Books community service project for reduced prices, down to our cost.
Similarly, volunteers become eligible to attend workshops offered by the
Sustainable Living Network for reduced costs, down to free.

Opportunities to Be Referred to Placements with Other Organizations

An added advantage of becoming invested in helping the Sustainable Living
Network, is that volunteers who have cultivated a good relationship with
us become eligible to be recommended for internship placements in locations
in North and Central America, with associates of the Sustainable Living
Network. These locations can be exemplary of sustainable living, and
volunteers can focus their learning on areas such as natural building (strawbale,
cob, thatch, earth plasters, earth floors), renewable energy (passive and
active solar, hydronic heating, solar hot water systems, composting toilets,
grey and black water treatment systems), and organic growing and food


As a very common reason people are interested in volunteering at the Sustainable Living Network and/or with Sustainable Living Books is that they want to learn more about various aspects of sustainable living. Some people want to pursue their education in a more formalized and/or structured manner. As Jillian Hovey is capable of directing and supporting people to the graduate level academically, and a wide range of people in a non-academic environments. We develop more formal internship/apprenticeship, which are designed on a indivual basis.


We are very open to people developing and part- and full-time working positions for themselves with the Sustainable Living Network. This can be achieved through public and/or private grants (we can issue charitable tax receipts), and through developing a profitable buisiness idea.


The office is in a residential neighbourhood in the Garrison
Creek bed, on Alberta Avenue in Toronto, which is between Oakwood & St.
Clair and Ossington & Davenport.. There is access by several different routes of the TTC Bicycles can be securely parked at the office, and are encouraged. There is also street parking during the day for cars.


Contact us with a written expression of interest, and attach your resume (if you have one). Indicate:

• how you found out about us
• what you are interested in doing with us and why
• what are the skills that you bring to the project(s)
• what skills you would like to develop
• the time you have available to volunteer: when you can start, how much time you can commit to, how often can you come in to the office, length of time of involvement

Phone 416-410-7581, or email jillian@permaculture.net .


There is plenty to do in the office and the garden during the months of April and May as we prepare for the summer student season that runs from the latter part of May to the end of August. The sooner you apply, the better, as people who develop a relationship with us early in the busy season are in the best position to be considered for the coveted work trade spots at this seasonís workshops and outings.

Opportunities for involvement are available throughout the year.
Each volunteer position is relatively unique - designed to suit YOU.

Volunteering with the Sustainable Living Network can change your life!

Pictures Copyright © 2007 Jillian Hovey.
Copyright © 2007 Sustainable Living Network.