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Diamond Valley community bands together to form sustainable living centre

Three years in the making, the Diamond Valley Sustainable Living Centre will open its doors on Saturday.

The centre focuses on programs to educate the community about recycling and upcycling, along with food, water and energy security.

Susan Kristoferson and her husband, Larry Kapustka, are co-founders and financial backers of the project who have a goal of building a strong community spirit while empowering people to reduce their environmental footprint.

“We want people to realize possibilities, build connections and community that they haven’t known before,” Kristoferson said.

“We’re trying to do something locally that has a global impact.

“It’s a small community, it’s a small impact but if everybody does that, it makes a difference in the world.”

Kapustka says the project is an opportunity to introduce people to concepts and ideas to help with food, water and energy security.

He’s a PhD botanist and is spearheading the food security aspect.

“There’s a lot of things that people can grow inside that would not only be nutritious food but would help them with their food budget,” he said.

“We’ve got some aeroponic towers in which plants grow and a nutrient solution drips across them and those can generate enough salad for a family of three or four without doing anything except having it in the window.”

Kapustka says it’s about sharing ideas with the community rather than building and selling products.

He’s looking to empower people to build these food security solutions themselves.

“We also have a grow box,” he said.

“It’s got an LED light system that I’ve used to raise carrots, radishes, lettuces, mixed greens of all kinds.”

The centre is also home to a massive makers’ space filled with tools where people can learn how to use them and rent the space to create all kinds of items.

Doug Lothrop is a retired carpenter who enjoys teaching others how to use the tools of his trade.

“Repurposing things is what I think is very necessary,” he said.

“This stool, for instance, came from China in a crate — it was the packing crate.”

He enjoys turning all kinds of wooden scraps into beautiful pieces.

“What’s going to happen here is people are going to come through the door and say, ‘I wanted to make one of those,'” he said.

“Well, they can. They can come in here, use the tools and I’ll show them how and they can take home a treasure.”

Corbin Uhl got involved in the makers community in 2014 and will host a number of workshops along with teaching people how to use the laser cutter.

“The way you can create now is crazy … all the software, all the robots, all the printers, everything. You can make things with your mind,” he said.

“It’s never been easier.

“I’ve always been excited about helping other people become more creative and then seeing what they do with it.”

Uhl is also passionate about coming up with solutions to keep things away from the landfill.

“I like the idea of being able to enable to repair,” Uhl said.

“Let them fix their own appliances, kind of reduce the impact of each thing.”

Kristoferson says many in the community have been waiting for the centre to officially open and people are always coming by to check on its progress.

Kennedy O’Brien is one of them and is excited to get his hands dirty.

“I actually officially retired yesterday, and I’m really looking forward to getting involved in something that is going to benefit the community,” he said.

“There are so many artistic people in and around this area. Lots of people have got different skill sets and whatnot and this is the first approach to bringing everything together.”

You can learn more about the centre at

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