Nevada City, California

For my tastes, Nevada City is pretty darn close to a perfect town. It harbors an engaged and active citizenship, reverence for the arts and nature, commitment to good, local food, strong community leadership, a pleasing climate, and of course, beautiful Sierra scenery with outstanding and abundant outdoor recreation. Nevada City also sets a very fine example for how small towns can thrive when people come together, embrace the changes that have beset so many small towns, and create a vision for how to move forward.

As we confront the reality that we can no longer rely so heavily on non-renewable resources, many small towns across the country are facing difficult transitions in changing times. Many are resisting the inevitability of change and are losing both jobs and population. But others are finding their way -moving from cultures defined by their founding economies and vocations (ports, fishing, agriculture, mining, rails, timber etc.) to things more modern and sustainable. Those that are thriving seem to have found a balance -between the traditional values of neighborliness and community that make small town life appealing- and more sustainable models for business, economic growth, and community life. These are the towns that are the inspiration for and Nevada City is a trail-blazing community in this regard.

Working together with local government, community groups and businesses, The A.P.P.L.E (Alliance for a Post Petroleum Local Economy) Center for Sustainable Living is an excellent example of how strong leadership and community building can help shepherd these challenging transitions.  With a mission to “educate and empower individuals to take personal action toward a more sustainable lifestyle [and] to ignite projects which foster newly complementary and sustainable energy -environmental-economic-and-social paradigms” the APPLE Center has helped to create common vision and commitment among residents -necessary qualities in the capacity to grow and change.

With an emphasis on sustainability, the commitment to a strong local economy permeating the community-in business, the arts, food culture, and outdoor recreation-  Nevada City projects a strong sense of self. It is vibrant, welcoming, creative and spirited, and it fully embodies what we at are seeking.

Quick Facts

Population: 2,929
Elevation: 2,525
Avg Temp in January: 50/32
Avg Temp in July: 86/56
Known for: Biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, Green initiatives, local, sustainability, Environmental Film Festival, Most solar panels per capita in the nation, Former mining town, Tour of California (Race start in N.C. 2010), Apple Center for Sustainability



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