Western Sustainability Exchange was founded in 1994 on the principles of preserving the abundance of the Northern Rockies including its open spaces, wildlife habitats, water resources, rural communities, and agricultural land and heritage. Today, WSE boasts numerous successes in bringing together concerned parties who are committed to the future of Montana. The organization has aided farmers and ranchers in designing and implementing innovative and sustainable production strategies, developed value-added markets for these producers, and educated thousands of consumers about the long-term benefits of sustainable purchasing.
WSE is rooted in this region and connected to the world
WSE consists of local, regional, national and international partners working cooperatively to resolve problems facing the rural West. Our members are farmers and ranchers, small business owners, conservationists, sportsmen, real estate professionals, retirees, teachers and more – encompassing the full spectrum of people living in the region. Additionally, WSE collaborates with government partners, as well as companies genuinely committed to sustainability.
WSE advances sustainable choices that preserve the region for the generations to come
WSE embraces the principles of “sustainability” which recognize our responsibility to future generations and the relationship between human well-being and the health of the natural world. It does not demand perfection in the beginning. Sustainability is a journey comprised of individual choices. These choices collectively lead to healthy natural and social systems, systems which can be sustained long into the future. Environmental stewardship, economic prosperity and community well-being are pursued as inseparable goals.
WSE empowers individuals to make sustainable choices every day
WSE focuses exclusively on voluntary, incentive-based strategies. We financially reward landowners for exemplary stewardship by marketing their products to lucrative niche markets. We celebrate local food. We showcase green building materials; alternative energy, fuels and vehicles; and other sustainable goods and services at our Sustainability Fair. We train ranchers in sustainable ranch management and chefs in sustainable cuisine. We help new residents learn ways to protect the West’s landscape and culture. We offer information, options, inspiration and hope.
WSE is committed to a positive focus
WSE collectively problem solves and consistently seeks solutions “outside the box.” In the face of polarizing issues, WSE remains non-political and committed to seeking nonpartisan solutions. We neither lobby nor litigate.
WSE is passionately committed to the West
WSE is committed to the well-being of the West’s future generations and to the preservation of its landscape and culture. We strongly believe its people are fully up to the task of sustaining its unique character.
WSE envisions an economy and a society “to match the scenery” of the West
We foster this by engaging the people who make their living off the land and the many small businesses in our food system to create an alternative economic structure based on sustainable practices. We work with farmers and ranchers to identify and implement stewardship practices that protect resources and habitat. We reward this stewardship by building relationships between these producers and customers willingto pay a reasonable premium price. We organize Local Food Commerce Days to bring together farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors and market buyers to share their needs and together find ways to build a food system that is healthy, humane, environmentally responsible and locally based. We help chefs afford to pay premium prices by linking them to resources that save money by conserving energy and water and reducing waste. Lastly, we mentor sustainable entrepreneurship among children so that our next generation of business leaders understands the importance of giving back to their community and the responsibility of being good stewards of the world in which they live.