We provide the tools to help you achieve your goals.

Group work session

Strategic Planning and Facilitation

Are you developing a strategic plan for a multi-partner group?
Are you designing goals and strategies around a complex, hard to solve issue?

If yes, your team may benefit from our most popular service-Strategic Planning. This service is available for non-profits, committees, coalitions, government entities, and any organization focused on solving the world’s complex problems.

Learn more about how you can get started with this free download, 7 ways to get your organization ready for strategic planning.

Economics for Decision Makers

Is your team looking to ensure you continue to have positive impact as you scale your programs? We typically work with nonprofits, universities, and government agencies who need more data to answer their top questions. This helps you make decisions based upon evidence. We use tools from agricultural and environmental economics to design research projects that help your team get the information you need to move forward.

Maybe a feasibility study, impact assessment or needs assessment would benefit your team. Perhaps you want to better understand what barriers your target audience has for adopting a new agricultural BMP. Or you’re wondering what the economic benefits are from your new food security or conservation program. Whatever the question your team has, we custom design the research to meet your needs.

Photo by John C. Lorson
Photo by John C. Lorson

Who We Help

jon-flobrant-unsplash WHO WE HELP nonprofits

Conservation nonprofits

As conservation leaders, you love and want to protect nature. You have many successful programs and are expanding each year. A common question we hear from you is, “how do we continue to demonstrate impact as we scale up and grow our programs?” We help you walk through the options and design customized solutions that fit within your budget. We are here to help you integrate human well-being into conservation planning and to measure the impact of your programs on people.

Agricultural Organizations

As a program manager who supports agricultural production, you know that many farms are at risk and the future is full of uncertainty, particularly for small and mid-sized producers. With a background in agricultural economics, we help you do the research and analysis needed to design programs to support farmers, ranchers, and food producers. We facilitate focus groups and listening sessions; develop and implement surveys; prepare and write case studies; and complete market analyses. We also specialize in the development of strategies to incorporate resilience and sustainability into local food systems.

leslie-saunders-- Smithville OH WHO We help AG NONPROFIT
Who we help Local Government

Local Government

We know that it is important for your county, municipality, or township to maintain and improve the quality of life for residents. With a background in sustainability, we use an integrated approach to community planning and program design that involves a range of outcomes including support for economic development, tourism, open space, and parks and recreation.

We add value by using a data-driven process that focuses heavily on public participation. Having an external firm conduct a feasibility study, lead focus groups, or complete a needs assessment
can help the public see the process as objective and fair. 

Economic Development Organizations

We understand that our economic development partners are busy and that makes sense. Economic development is not only about business retention, expansion, and workforce development. Success in economic development also relies on other factors like sufficient access to housing and transportation. It relies on access to quality-of-life amenities like good quality schools, trails, and a vibrant downtown.


We support your team by managing your complex, multi-partner planning and program design projects. With expertise in facilitation, we use a data-driven approach that engages multiple partners from diverse sectors, and we support with grant writing as well. 

daria-nepriakhina-WHO WE HELP_econ development
Hands holding a plant

Business leaders & Entrepreneurs

For small and mid-sized businesses, it can be challenging to have the time and resources needed to research how to best approach sustainability. Our team focuses on initial planning and research for new sustainability initiatives. We help you think about goals, ranging from climate action to supporting biodiversity or improving water quality. We support you by gathering case studies, surveying consumers, or facilitating listening sessions with key stakeholders in your supply chain.


We help you get past assumptions and make evidence-based decisions that build trust with consumers by showing transparency. We also highlight opportunities for nature-based solutions to improve the quality of life of communities and improve employee retention. 

Academic Institutions

With experience in agricultural and environmental economics, we support a range of applied research projects. We have expertise in survey design, facilitation of focus groups, and conducting interviews – all designed to get at a range of quantitative and qualitative data points. Examples of recent research include entrepreneurialism in local food systems, participatory approaches to land use planning, and socioeconomic metrics for nature-based solutions. We also offer facilitation of workshops and welcome the opportunity to collaborate on grants.


What it looks like to work with Sustainable Economies Consulting

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give me an example of a typical project?

Something that differentiates Sustainable Economies
Consulting is our personalized approach to project design. We leverage tools
and methods from agricultural and environmental economics to ensure you have a
well-designed project that gets you the information you need to make decisions.
While we do customize each project to your needs, our projects generally fall
in two categories: strategic planning (covered in the next question) and program

In our initial consultation (at no charge), we would meet
with you to do the following, 1) determine what you are trying to achieve, and
2) determine what the barriers are to success, and 3) together, design a
project that meets your needs.

For more examples of projects, please refer to the Projects & Resources page.

We’re not sure where to start with strategic planning.
What does the process look like and how long does it take?

Thanks to our nearly 10 years’ experience in
strategic planning, we have developed a streamlined process that involves
standard steps around goal setting, developing strategies to meet goals, and
selecting performance metrics. We also have curated a suite of tools to make
the process easier for your team. We work with your team to customize the
process and select which tools will be useful to meet your needs.

The process can be as short as two months for a
small organization where there is already has a clear idea of direction. Larger
processes can take over a year. Our average process takes between 6-9 months.

Can you help us write a grant? Or would you like to
collaborate on a grant?

Yes, we’d be happy to help your organization
write a grant for a fee. We’ll work with you to identify a handful of grants
(unless you have a particular grant in mind), outline timelines, and make a
plan to have the content and deliverables ready by the deadline.

We are also open to collaborating on grants that
align with our mission. Members of our team have partnered on a variety of
grants, including USDA, NOAA, and many foundation grants. In cases where we are
a partner on a grant, Sustainable Economies Consulting will collaborate with
your team to develop a narrative and deliverables.

Do you only focus on environmental sustainability

We do a lot of work around environmental projects, such as
those that support habitat protection and restoration, as well as projects
focused on nature-based solutions. Our environmental projects typically focus
also on incorporating socioeconomic metrics as well as conservation outcomes.

In addition to environmental sustainability projects, we
also look for opportunities to enhance the benefits to communities and the
local economy. For example, we’ve done work with local food systems and
balanced land use planning. In both of those cases, sustainability was not initially
a focus of the project. Our role was to help incorporate sustainability goals
into the projects.

Past Partners

Twenty Twenty Affairs
College of Wooster Social Entrepreneurship Program
Wilderness Center
Wayne Farm Bureau
Healthy Ocean Coalition
Local Roots
Wayne Park District
Raritan Headwaters
The Nature Conservancy
Wayne Center For The Arts
farmers market

Photo courtesy Damon Noe    

contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Environmental Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 234-249-0298


contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Environmental Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 234-249-0298


contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Environmental Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 234-249-0298


Copyright © 2020. Sustainable Economies Consulting LLC.