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Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center

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Last updated: February 22, 2015      
Kerr-Cole house

The Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center was created by the late Barbara Kerr and the late Sherry Cole. The Center envisions a future where humans live sustainably and in harmony with the natural world in a fashion that fosters social and economic justice. We believe the path to a meaningful and enriching life can and should be built on processes that will secure the foundations of our civilizations in the millennia to come. Our mission is to educate individuals and families to integrate sustainable living methods into their lives. Our focus is on: solar cooking and food drying; renewable energy; organic gardening; and other technologies and practices relating to the home environment. The center is committed to on-going research, development and testing of these methods, and to the sharing of this knowledge locally and globally. We demonstrate that living responsibly goes hand-in-hand with a physically and spiritually fulfilling lifestyle. [1]

News and recent developments

  • July 2013: The Center is now entering a new phase of operation we are calling the “renaissance”. After several years of difficulties stemming from our late founder Barbara Kerr’s declining health, we are back on track to continue our mission to promote her vision. We are perpetuating Center activities at her residence pretty much as they were occurring until around 2009 – tours, demonstrations, open houses, classes, outreach, publications (hardcopy and via web site), solar cooker product sales, book sales and the like. The web site is being brought up to date. We hope also to find a way to again be involved in solar and sustainable product evaluation and development - if a qualified and motivated person wishes to take on that role.

Visit the Center

Visitors are welcome by appointment. Call 928-536-2269 or email

Group Tours, Seminars and Private Tutorials

You can have a general tour of the Sustainable Home, or we can focus on a particular interest. 1 to 6 persons, 2-hour session; $5 per person. School field trips can be negotiated.

Guest Accommodations

Overnight stays are possibile: guests provide their own food, vehicle, tent, sleeping bag, personal equipment, etc. A motel is three miles away. Meals are often shared and evenings spent together. In the past the on-site living spaces were available for longer term residency and internships, but the availability of these options can no longer be guaranteed.


You can rent a car in Phoenix or take the White Mountain Bus Line to Show Low. By prior arrangement, we will pick up and return to Show Low.

History of the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker

Barbara Kerr designed the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker, which is based on the ROB (Reflective Open Box Cooker), in response to a request from a hiker needing a readily transportable solar cooker. This cooker is the direct ancestor of the CooKit, which was engineered by Solar Cookers International for mass production. To convince the SCI Board that perhaps this was a better third-world choice than her cardboard box cooker that SCI was promoting at the time, Barbara simply sent a Backpacker to each SCI Board member as a Christmas present (without comment). Initially the SCI folk thought it would be ineffective, until some of them actually tried it. The rest is history.

Below are the original construction plans for the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker.

Articles in the media

External links


Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center
P.O. Box 576
Taylor, Arizona 85939

Tel. +1 (928) 536 2269


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