Western Sustainability Exchange (WSE) was founded in 1994 to conserve the abundance of the Northern Rockies including its open spaces; wildlife habitats; soil, air, and water resources; rural communities; and agricultural land and heritage. Today, WSE boasts important successes in bringing together concerned parties who are committed to the future of the region. The organization has aided nearly 1,000 farmers and ranchers in designing and implementing innovative and sustainable production strategies, developed value-added markets for these producers, educated thousands of consumers about the long-term benefits of sustainable purchasing, and increased access to sustainably produced local foods for citizens of the region.
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, 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 is a journey comprised of individual choices and does not demand perfection in the beginning. 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 and financially reward landowners for exemplary stewardship by marketing their products to lucrative niche markets. We celebrate local food and showcase sustainable goods and services while also providing educational workshops for ranchers in sustainable ranch management and chefs in sustainable cuisine. We help new residents learn ways to protect the West’s landscape and culture, and 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 nonpolitical 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 willing to pay a reasonable premium price. WSE brings 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 reasonable premium prices for locally produced goods 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.
Banner Photo Credit: "Dazzling, Crazy Sunset" courtesy of MGotta Photography.