Global Village Institute (GVI) has been developing and disseminating appropriate technology since 1974, including the Community Technology Pavilion at the 1981 World’s Fair, the first solar-powered car company (1985), and many other innovations. From 1996 to 2004 it served as a Secretariat office for the Global Ecovillage Network.
Institute program areas over the past decades have included research into food and energy applied sciences towards the end of improving food security and reducing climate-altering dependence upon fossil fuels; using improved communications methodologies for demonstrations of alternative economic and social experiments; and multidisciplinary research into mechanisms for narrowing the gap between the developed and developing world without undue negative cultural and environmental impacts. Its focus is on a convergence of renewable energy, environmental building, sustainable agriculture, biological wastewater systems, community conflict resolution methodologies, holistic community planning, permaculture design, experiential education, natural capital economics, ready access to global information, and a host of emerging modalities for systemic social improvements.
Global Village Video is a subsidiary production company which produces instructional tapes and dvds on a variety of subjects. GVI has received numerous awards and frequent recognition for this work, which has always been at the leading edge of systemic social change, but it continues to rely principally on grassroots support in the form of donations to pursue these efforts.
As of 2006, it has been participating in the emerging Sail Transport Network, returning coastal trade to wind-power with shipments of cacao, cassava starch, coffee and vanilla bean. The Institute continues to provide support to the Global Ecovillage Network, and guided the formation of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas. The Institute's program partners include the Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka, Seoul National University's Sustainable Urban Development program in Korea, Sortavala in Russia, the Green Kibbutz Movement in Israel, Los Angeles EcoVillage, The Tholego Development Project in South Africa, Luna Nueva in Mexico, the Institute for Latin American Permaculture in Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela and Peru, Reserva Sasardi, the Institute for New Frontiers in Cooperation, Builders without Borders, the United Nations Best Practices program (ECOSOC), Plenty International, Permaculture Association of the United Kingdom, Seeds for the Future, Regrarians Ltd, Farm Historical Society, Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural, Aztlan Centro De Rescate Ecologico, Ecoaldea en Huehuecoyotl, Asociacion Gaia, Ecovillage Network of Canada, Comunidade Tribal Vale Encantado and ABRASCA (Brazil), the emerging ecovillage communities in Unguia and the Sasardi Reserve in Colombia, the Permaculture Institute of Brazil, Fundacion Darien, 7 Generaciones (Uruguay), La Caravana Arcoiris para la Paz, and many more.
GVI has been working with Village Habitat Design since 1994, designing conservation communities and education the next generaton of architects and master planners. Founder Greg Ramsey's father, George Ramsey, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a champion of ecovillages in the early 1970s. George Ramsey taught architecture and master planning at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the distinguished National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France in Paris, where Greg grew up and developed his theories of conservation communities. Greg's designs have been recognized with awards from the American Institute of Architects, the State of Georgia, and the United Nations.
Since 2005 Gaia Education has delivered more than 190 programmes to more than 11,000 participants from 94 countries, collaborating with 80 partner organizations in 43 countries on six continents. Its hands-on 'Ecovillage Design Education' course and the on-line training in 'Design for Sustainability' training have been a contributions to the UN 'Decade for Education on Sustainable Development´ and since 2015 are delivered through Gaia Education as an official partner in UNESCO's 'Global Action Plan' (GAP). Through its 'Project Based Learning' programme Gaia Education has actively contributed to sustainable development in some of the most challenged communities in Bangaladesh, India, and Senegal, as well as, in the Favelas of Brazil and working with African migrants on Sicily.
Working with the Maya Mountain Research Farm, Bioenergy Crops, Chan Ká Vergel and others, GVI has developed biomass energy solutions that integrate perennial crops and agroforestry with integrated rural development that includes health, childrens' and adult education, and microenterprise cooperatives. GVI extends its reach by working with scores of international experts through coalitions like GEN Consultants, Gaia Education Associates, the Commonwealth's Regenerative Design to Reverse Climate Change initiative, Cloudburst Foundation, NOAH Regen and Permaculture Institute of North America. Headquartered in Tennessee since its founding in 1974, it has an administration units and project management staff in Mexico, Belize, Dominican Republic, China, India, Palestine, Italy and France, as well as a network of agronomists, forestry and permaculture logistic and conversion consultants and associates. It is working with NOAH Regen to develop a a sea-going office. Recently, through eCO2, GVI started to develop specific management and equipment solutions for carbon drawdown biomass planting, harvest, mobility, drying, storage, pre-treatment and pelletizing technology, following a strong emphasis in carbon farming and ecosystem services with waste feedstocks and holistic approach through designing ecovillages, ecodistricts and ecoregions. It calls this its Cool Lab: a biorefinery business model for 100% organic animal and human protein concentrates from energy crops delivering carbon sequestration on both front and back end with perennial landscapes, biochar and biofertiizers.