Help us protect the natural beauty and neighborhood culture we love for generations to come!

We in Hampton Bays are deeply fortunate that our hamlet possesses a rich ecosystem, cedar shingled homes, and local businesses. These features create our sense of place and identity. 

The slow erosion of these subtle gifts by increased population density has come at a price: the pollution of our water, the death of trees, the loss of biodiversity, and the rise of tick-borne diseases. As community members, we know we are part of the problem, and feel frustration at the slow pace of change. Part of the solution, the Ecological Culture Initiative, launches simple local projects that result in secure, incremental change.


Current Initiatives


The GGC is an interdisciplinary live-learn facility where students and visitors see firsthand how a multi-acre permaculture institute and organic food forest that serves as a model for an alternative to the destructive land use practices and growth-based development damaging the health of the local aquifer, soil, and waterways.

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We engage enthusiastic and energetic individuals interested in learning permaculture techniques and small scale, bio-intensive, organic farming practice.  Duties include Vegetable Production: soil, compost and garden bed preparation, planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting, as well as weekly beehive inspections and management.  Our farm market outreach program allows interns and staff members to serve as vendors in the ECI booth at Hampton Bays Farmers’ Market.

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A unique approach to field-based learning, this innovative curriculum is an interdisciplinary experience where students learn how to create resilient agro-ecology systems as well as a built environment that integrates with the surrounding ecosystem and collaborates with natural processes. We study alternative architecture, ecological engineering, environmental justice, regenerative community development, relocation self-build housing, sustainable food systems, and much more.

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A small building, garden and information center modeling residential construction, agro-ecology and landscape design practice endorsed by ECI. The “shack” and parcel surrounding it will be an outdoor teaching lab for ecology, permaculture and regenerative design. Outfitted with a roof based rainwater collection system, the shack site will feature a rain barrel, rain garden, edible native plant-scape, colonial herb garden and cottage garden, as well as examples of contemporary organic gardening technique. Working in tandem with the community and school gardens the Eco-shack will provide a fundraising location via the sale of organic produce and locally handcrafted artifacts.  ECI staff members, college interns, local youth, and interested community members will work together to install and maintain the gardens.

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The ECI Teaching Garden is a hands-on, adult beginner organic gardening opportunity. Members learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve produce from their own plot and from shared garden space in a cooperative learning environment.  The 14-week long course follows the Summer growing season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Class is held twice a week at our garden site.

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An in-depth class series featuring the basic skills and knowledge needed to develop a bio-intensive vegetable garden from the ground up. Topics will include permaculture design, soil analysis, compost preparation, plant propagation, rain harvesting, irrigation, organic pest / disease management, edible natives, pollinators, seed saving, and winterization. The program is divided into four distinct units of eight classes each. Students who complete the series will be rewarded with a certificate in organic gardening.

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An outdoor farmers market on the grounds of St. Mary’s Church, every Saturday, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Locally produced, fresh foods will be available from local farmers, fishers, and food producers to sell directly to the customer.  Patrons will also be educated with practical ways to maintain the connection with the sources of their food.

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You are what you eat, and the best way to know the quality of what you are eating is to base your consumption habits on where you live.  ECI hosts four dinners a year based on the ancient calendar that guided our foodways: the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, as well as Summer and Winter Solstices.  We work with neighborhood food purveyors and culinary experts to provide healthy meals that are organic, sourced locally, and primarily vegan, because our own health is directly related to the health of our ecosystem. Learn More →

Join our upcoming dinner! ECI will host an Organic Farm-to-Table Summer Solstice Dinner on June 21st, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Nurel's Farmers' Market at 226 E Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays 🍽

 

ECI will set up four new Honey Bee beehives in Hampton Bays. The hives will be used as an educational tool in conjunction with adjacent pollinator and vegetable gardens. The increased use of pesticides and fungicides has caused a sharp nationwide decline in bee populations and other pollinators. Beekeepers lost 44% of their honeybees between 2015-2016 - the highest decline in bee populations ever recorded. We plan to help rebuild that population one hive at a time. 

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A healthy culture requires a healthy dialogue.  Our goal in presenting an ongoing educational series is to engage the community with discussions about the issues that affect our quality of life. At ECI events, the audience learns about our Initiatives, and becomes informed about how to evolve our neighborhood in the most ecologically enlightened way possible. Learn More →

Join our upcoming screening! ECI will host a film screening of the award winning documentary More Than Honey on Thursday, July 27th, 6 pm at the Quogue Library. A portion of the proceeds from the film helps support ECI’s Pollinator Project 🐝

 

Located in a vintage card catalog in the reference section of the Hampton Bays Public Library, our seed library enables community members to procure organic vegetable seeds for free as a public benefit. Establishing a seed library is an important step to develop a network of community based seed savers who create locally adapted plant varieties, increase biodiversity, and mitigate the loss of plant gene integrity due to the genetic engineering of commercially produced seeds and plants.

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Permaculture design seeks to minimize waste, reduce labor and energy input, and is applied most commonly to the design of buildings and landscapes, by integrating techniques such as agroforestry, natural building, and rainwater harvesting. Emphasizing existing patterns in the landscape, and the interconnection of species, a permaculturist determines where elements of the built environment should be placed so they can provide maximum benefit to the local ecosystem. ECI advises the local municipality, community organizations, and homeowners on creating low-impact design, construction and renovation projects.

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Other Initiatives


Food Security Stewardship

  • Aquaculture Education
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Edible Schoolyards
  • Farmers Markets
  • Food Forests on Municipal Grounds
  • Slow Food Events

Creating a Sense of Place

  • Aesthetic Standards
  • Conservation Easement Assistance
  • Historic District Advocacy
  • Landmark Advocacy
  • Property Stewardship
  • Vernacular Material

Ecological Education

  • Agro-Ecology
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Ecological Aesthetics
  • Ecological Art
  • Ecological Design
  • Eco-literacy
  • Field Ecology
  • Permaculture Design
  • Pollinator, Drought Resistant, and Native Plantscapes
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Waterway & Aquifer Protection
  • Wildlife Husbandry

Heritage Economic Revitalization

  • Art, Craft, Culinary, and Musical Festival Development
  • Historic and Environmental Design Consultation
  • Reclaimed Material Distribution
  • Small Farm Support
  • Traditional Craft Workshops (Boat Building, Duck Carving, etc.)

Eco-tourism

  • Low-Impact Design Initiative (Passive Solar, Bio-swales, etc.)
  • Outdoor Recreation (Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Sailing, Surfing, etc.)
  • Eco-Culture Adventure Course