Mission & Programs
Who We Are
Events and past Accomplishments
Local Food System
Community Food Assessment Report
an Earthship Workshop
Saturday, July 24, 2004
with David Bassler
as our instructor,
We had the start of
an Earthship Intern shelter to work on. We pounded sand into tires, mixed
and slapped adobe onto the filled-tire walls, and built a concrete and
pop-can “form” on top of the tire walls for the bond beam, while David
explained how everything worked. Then we had a tasty organic lunch, got a
tour of the earth-friendly facilities around the Institute, and watched a
video about earthships in New Mexico, where they originated.
Bitterroot Green Homes Tour
August 14, 2004.
After much advance
preparation and promotion work by Alice and (volunteer) Kerry Wall-MacLane,
a very successful tour was held. There were four sites on the tour: David
Bassler’s Earthship home near Florence, Louise Grout’s Strawbale home near
Corvallis, the LifeLine Farm home near Victor, and our facilities here at
the Institute. Over 50 participants met at 3 locations in the early
afternoon and were chauffeured around in vans. A BBQ dinner was an extra
attraction for the evening at the Institute, complete with live music by the
Celtic Players who play at the Hamilton House in Victor on Tuesday nights.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
We held our first annual
harvest event, a Salsa Festival on a rainy Saturday
afternoon. To get out of the weather, we set up the greenhouse for plenty
of chopping space. Though we were a small group, we had great fun chopping
and nibbling while discussing current events and new ideas. We created
four large pots of tasty salsa, which we divvied up among the choppers, and
ended the day with a scrumptious Mexican potluck dinner.
Spinning & Weaving Workshop
Tues & Wed, Oct. 5 & 6, 2004
with Avid Olsen
We organized a Spinning &
Weaving Workshop that was held in the B’root Library meeting room and was
led by Avis Olsen, teaching the basics with hands-on practice on spinning
wheels and table looms. Avis also knows all about raising sheep
and their various wool types.
in Missoula, Nov. 17, 7pm, at UofM,
in Hamilton, Nov. 18, 7pm at The Exchange
in Pablo, Nov 19, 1pm at Salish
All the events
drew capacity crowds. Helena has gathered a lifetime of experience about the
impacts of globalization from all around the world. She emphasizes the benefits
of building a strong local economy which will result in solutions to a whole
range of social, environmental and economic problems.
Ancient Futures is highly recommended, and you may find it on our web-store.
18 - March 25
6 Videos were
shown on Friday evenings at the Hamilton Library meeting room from Feb. 18
thru March 25, 2005. The series included: Is WalMart Good for
America, Ancient Futures & Local Futures, The Future of Food, Globalization vs
Community, The End of Suburbia, and Escape from Affluenza.
We are collecting more videos that pertain to sustainable living issues and
will offer another series in 2006.
Susan Witt and Chris Lindstrom
Tools to Build a Local Economy
May 12, 13, 2005
We had some very
informative meetings in May with Susan Witt and Chris Lindstrom of the
Schumacher Society in Massachusetts. (www.smallisbeautiful.org).
They came came to speak on the benefits of setting up a local
currency, and on the SHARE program and all about Community Land Trusts,
where the community holds title to land and leases it at very
reasonable rates to people who will put it to use in a way that benefits the
community. It is a tool for keeping farmers happy and working on the
Making Comfrey Salves Workshop
with Lisa Classen
July 9, 2005
attended the workshop. We learned about harvesting the plants,
preparing the plant for processing, and made salve for everyone to take
home, using olive oil, cocoa butter, beeswax for thickener, and
essential oils for aroma
2005 Sustainability Tour of Green Homes
This year it was a collaboration between homeWORD of Missoula and
Sustainable Living Systems. Nine tour sites were available in Missoula and
eight sites in the Bitterroot valley. The tour was a great
success, with 66 tickets sold for the Bitterroot tour and 65 for the
Missoula tour. Many people wished for more time to see all of the tour
- Permaculture Workshop -
Saturday & Sunday, Sept 10, 11, 2005
- with Michael Pilarski from
Friends of the Trees Society (see Links page).
Theme: Permaculture Design for Small Properties -
Increasing Biological &
A housefull of people, 9 from outside the Institute, and 9 SLS folks,
gathered in Mac and Shirley's cozy home here at SLS to learn from Michael.
In the mornings we would listen about and discuss permaculture principles
and in the afternoons we walked about the WCHI property and talked about the
uses of plants, animals, and the ways in which their interaction can
increase biological productivity on the land.
May 13, 2005
Currency group (from the Conversation Café meetings) has met and is
promoting a currency and a bartering system as well. The purpose
of a local currency is to create a network of people sharing the wealth of
goods, services, and friendship that we have to offer one another in the
valley. This enables us to move toward ecological responsibility, local
economic self-reliance, and the ability to make a living doing things that
we do well and enjoy doing. It builds community and keeps wealth
circulating locally. For now, we are calling the currency:
Bitterroot Valley Food Co-op
Since Dec 7, 2004 when we held our 1st
Co-op organizational meeting we have been working on starting a Co-op.
A Steering Committee has been formed, a grant applied for and received from
the Mt. Dept. of Agriculture, and, as of November, 2005, we are well on our
way to incorporation.
On Wednesday, August 3, Bevan and the SLS
interns began managing a portion of the produce section of the Bitterroot
Community Market, offering fresh, local and organic
produce. This is laying the groundwork for the Co-op.