Kyle Chandler-Isacksen, Cofounder of Be the Change Project
Name: Kyle Chandler-Isacksen
Occupation: Co-director (with his wife) of the Be the Change Project
Interests: Natural Building, Permaculture, community building, urban homesteading, martial arts, tinkering, hiking, basketball, playing with his kids, green businesses, composting and vermicomposting, writing
Location: Reno, Nevada
Background and Personal History: Kyle is a jack-of-all-trades type of guy with a lot of “former” pursuits. He’s been a science teacher, school designer, roofer, political organizer, non-profit educator, carpet cleaner, lobsterman, and so on…While winding down his teaching career, Kyle was introduced to natural building, permaculture, and organic gardening by a host of great mentors. In 2007 he and his family started downsizing and shifting their lives to better reflect their values and moved into a 200 square-foot strawbale cabin at the River School Farm.
Two years later, they moved to southern Oregon and apprenticed at the House Alive Natural Building homestead where Kyle fell in love with natural building. Next, was a move to the Possibility Alliance in northeast Missouri, where they found the integrated vision of living for which they had been searching. Ready to put their new knowledge into practice they returned to Reno to launch their nonprofit “Be the Change Project” in August of 2011.
The Be the Change Project is an urban homestead and learning center dedicated to service and simplicity and rooted in Gandhian Integral Nonviolence. Their home is electricity and fossil-fuel free and they recently bought an electric vehicle after being car-free for six years. They grow and raise a lot of their own food through their organic gardens pigs, chickens, goats and rabbits on their half-acre lot. Their experiments with simple living include living on less than $12,000 a year.
The neon lights, casinos, and pawn shops of downtown Reno are visible from their backyard but, fortunately, the open desert, the Truckee River, and the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains are not much further.
• 2011 – Kyle’s children’s book, “Snakes Wear Socks” is published
• A 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year
• In 2015 Kyle starts the Reno Rot Riders – a food waste collection and composting business – to build soils, fight climate change, and develop advocates for better waste practices
• In 2017 Kyle puts on the Reno Garlic Fest to support local farmers and local organic foods
• In 2018 Wormtopia opens — a vermicomposting operation fueled by the food waste the Rot Riders collect each week. This is the next link of their hyper-local climate change and soil-building work that also houses a compost tea bubbler, a chick-brooding setup and seedling and vegetable-growing areas.
• 2013-2017 Be the Change distributes over 15,000 articles of Patagonia clothing to needful folks in the Reno area
• 2012-present – Kyle volunteers weekly with Mountain Ministries to collect and distribute food to the hungry