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BTC is centered on a half-acre urban homestead in Reno, NV, just two miles from the neon glare of the downtown casinos.  Katy and Kyle Chandler-Isacksen began the project in August of 2011.

We are dedicated to service and simplicity and guided by principles of integral nonviolence.  Our work begins with ourselves and the earth beneath our feet and radiates outward to our neighborhood, city, and state. 


All of our work revolves around sustainability - of spirit, community, and environment. 

At our site, which is also our home, we grow a lot of food, raise animals, practice Permaculture principles, build with earth, and make use of appropriate technologies.  We also host field trips, give tours, and put on workshops.  We live without electricity or fossil fuels and were car-free until purchasing an electric car in 2017.


We live on very little money and take on projects as we feel moved and called to do so.  Increasingly, we see ourselves as incubators of projects which we can then release to other capable folks to take on and nurture.  The Reno Rot Riders and the Reno Garlic Fest are two recent examples of this.  The RRR residential program is now run by Down to Earth Gardens & Compost and the Fest is being taken on by Reno Food Systems.

It is our hope that by modeling a simpler, saner, and more sustainable lifestyle that others will feel inspired to take action in their own lives and communities to help make the more just and beautiful world we know is possible. 

In 2015 BTC became a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Here’s some of what we’ve accomplished in the last six years with the Be the Change Project:


  • The BTC Homestead

    • Electricity and fossil fuel-free

    • Car-free for six years (now own a electric Nissan Leaf)

    • Grow and raise a substantial amount of our own food including rabbits, pigs, chickens and now milk from goats

    • Avid cyclists for getting to and fro

  • Reno Rot Riders

    • Food Waste Collection Service started in October 2015 to model how to transform and recycle local resources

    • Dedicated to redirecting food waste from the landfill into compost to create healthy soils for water retention, purification, better food, and carbon sequestration while developing advocates and raising awareness of the value of composting

    • Collected nearly 200,000 pounds of food waste and converted it into compost in Reno

    • A growing business run under our nonprofit doing both residential and restaurant collection

  • Wormtopia

    • Expansion of the RRR using collected scrapple to create vermicompost

    • Another powerful model of the full circle of waste recycling that’s possible if we dream big and work locally

    • Production began in January of 2018.

  • Reno Garlic Fest

    • To support local farmers and local food while building community

    • Organized with the Local Food Network

    • 2017 was the inaugural year

    • More than 2,000 people attended the event in their neighborhood park (Pat Baker Park)

  • Baker Park Music Series                                               

    • Three free concerts in Pat Baker Park in 2015

    • Bringing Artown to the ‘hood to develop community and a safer neighborhood

  • Penpals with a Nevada prisoner since 2014

  • Standing Rock

    • Organized events and a small caravan with local native organizers to support the effort at Standing Rock in 2016 and early 2017

    • Filled a 16’ box truck with supplies – clothing, tents, solar charging station, sleeping bags, 1000 pounds of food – and delivered it to SR

    • Participated in actions to prevent the pipeline from being built and witnessed firsthand the militarized police response in North Dakota

  • Climate Action Initiative

    • Kyle co-created the CAI with Councilmember David Bobzien in late 2015

    • A group of local experts met for 7 months to document how climate change will impact Reno and to develop an action plan for mitigation and resiliency

    • Our work was handed off to Reno’s Sustainability manager when she was hired in 2016

  • Liberty’s Children:  Voices of Immigrants in the Land of the Free

    • A play created with Jeanmarie Simpson based on interviews we conducted of local undocumented immigrants

    • To bring awareness to the lives and challenges of undocumented immigrants and “Dreamers”

    • Ran successfully for three weeks in 2013 with facilitated discussions after each showing

  • Neighborhood Art

    • Four murals on Wedekind and one giant desert tortoise sculpture

    • Replaced graffiti with art to make a safer and more beautiful neighborhood

    • Engaged kids and taggers in making the murals

    • With Pan Pantoja, Potentialist Workshop, Reno Art Works, Ward 3 NAB, Sierra Arts Foundation

  • Kyle served two terms on the Ward 3 Neighborhood Advisory Board

  • Powered By Sunshine

    • Partnered with David Gibson on an effort to get NV to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2040.

    • Lobbied the 2017 legislature and organized local events to raise awareness for renewable energy potential in NV

  • Natural Building

    • Several workshops in town including the One day cob house event – a weekend build in Reno with 70 people  

    • Utilize earthen building from landscape walls to cabins to clay paints

    • Teaching workshops across the country with House Alive! Natural Builders

  • Mountain Ministries

    • Since 2012 have volunteered weekly with MM doing food collection and distribution to needful folks in Reno

  • PLAN

    • BTC is proud to be a member group of PLAN – the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

  • Patagonia

    • Have given away over 15,000 articles of “Worn Wear” Patagonia clothing to needful folks (95% in town)

    • Hosted three volunteer work days, given two Brain Food talks, and participated in their Compost Evening Event

  • Permaculture

    • Practice and model Permaculture Principles on our site

    • Awarded a PRI/USA Permaculture Homestead Grant in 2015

    • Permaculture Pedal destination

    • Katy became a certified Permaculture Designer in 2014 and has used her skills and knowledge to develop our property and consult for others

    • Hosted several permaculture work bees

  • Edible ‘Hood

    • An ongoing program to support food growing and soil building in our neighborhood

    • Gave out 35 “guilds” to neighbors – fruit tree, nitrogen fixers, pollinator plants, with compost…

    • Continue to raise trees from local seeds at our micro-nursery and give to neighbors

    • Give away hundreds of seed packets from our driveway each spring

    • Collect harvested pea shoot mats each week from a local grower and distribute throughout our ‘hood to develop soil

  • Neighborhood “Giving Garden”

    • Transformed a neighbors vacant lot into a productive garden

    • Hired and trained three aspiring growers to run the garden

    • Got to know even more neighbors as folks stopped by, harvested, gave welcome advice…

  • Mother Earth News Homestead of the Year, 2013

    • Recognized for our enviro and community work

    • Have written dozens of MEN blogs about our life and work read by a couple hundred thousand people

  • Raising two boys

    • And trying our darndest to instill a love of nature, a commitment to service, hope for a better future, and courage to dream big and follow their hearts in our two boys who realize our lives are a bit unusual but seem to like it all the same

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