Sustainable Living Systems



Mission & Programs

Who We Are 

Producers' Directory

 Events and past Accomplishments

Local Food System

Community Food Assessment Report


Seed Bank



Contact Us



Our MISSION is to:

    (1) demonstrate and teach sustainable living regarding our food, energy, and shelter systems, based upon permaculture principles and including collective living arrangements such as Ecovillages.
    (2) contribute toward building a localized economy in our region, starting with a Local Food System

 Great Reading:
    essay on Globalization: Conserving Communities by Wendell Berry.
    another good one is: The Purpose of a Coherent Community, available online at: essay
     and, here is a great article about 3 key tools for building a local economy.  

 Our PURPOSE is to empower people with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, and to be a catalyst for creative change in society. 


   VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITYis the relaxation, with dignity, of the drive for high income and high consumption. We view this as the intent to live with more awareness of the long-range ecological and cultural effects of our lifestyle choices.  Living consciously, we can share more of our time, energy and resources, and help and encourage individuals and communities to overcome the effects of the consumer society.  This will enhance each person’s ability to relate to self, society and nature in a more responsible manner.  Participants in our workshops will explore how to transform their own lives and build a movement for social transformation towards a sustainable culture.

   SELF-RELIANCE We do not view this merely as a means to an end for ourselves, but the key to restoring a stable and responsible society.  We must bring back the necessary food production and handicraft skills and encourage natural talents that can build a local food system and a local economy

    HOLISTIC HEALTH  We believe that health can be maintained if our bodies are given fresh, organic, home-grown food and our minds are at peace.  Peace is obtainable if we have useful, creative tasks to do which make distinct contributions toward sustainability for family, friends, and community. 


 Despite vast increases in productivity, our planet’s agricultural and food systems are in crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are malnourished or starving, while others suffer ill health from eating too much.  Small farmers can't make a living, and the environment is deteriorating as soil, water levels and biodiversity dwindle. 

1.  LOCAL ECONOMY  -- working towards sustainable forms of prosperity for all, we are focused on and encourage decentralized, local., land-based economies.  To this end, we are networking with local and regional organizations to help develop a Local Food System and collective living arrangements, (i.e. ecovillages) that weigh less heavily on the planet and on people.  

The style of wealth produced in our culture by what is called “economic development” is unsustainable and incapable of justice.   It cannot be adopted by all people, for the biosphere would be ruined.   The automobile society, meat-based food systems, and industrial agriculture are cases in point.  The gap between the rich and the poor is growing, especially in America.   Wealthy societies must reduce their demand for resources.   We must create resource-light economies that weigh less heavily on the planet and on people.   

2.  EDUCATION -  SLS offers both on-site workshops with hands-on training and talks and seminars in the valley, addressing principles of sustainable living. 

We are engaged in a struggle of ideas over how we view ourselves and this planet.   The industrial fundamentalists operate on the machine model - that every part has its own separate function - and man is outside of nature.  Our challenge is to join our minds together in a vision of the whole, of a living planet, Gaia, with humans integrated into that vision, acknowledging that we humans, for the first time in history, now hold the power of life & death over many of Gaia's life systems, even to the point of intervening directly into the genetic flow of plants and animals.  

We need a new language to convey the sense of what it is to be fully human.   Gaia is one organism and we are cells of that living organism.  A good term for our collective mind is the word "noosphere".   Nothing manifests on earth that isn't first created in the noosphere, and we are continuously pouring energy into thought forms in the noosphere, each of us, in every moment.   We are also continuously being influenced by what is strongly nourished in the noosphere.   Thus, together, we created Monsanto.  There is no "us and them", and we are not separate, individual beings.  We need to listen to what the earth is telling us, and together create a vision of a peaceful, healthful, sustainable world.    A better world IS possible.

"I can't believe impossible things." said Alice.    "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.  "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.   Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."   

             - Lewis Carroll

3.  SEEDS  – We are engaged in breeding, sharing and maintaining a seed bank of food and medicinal plants.  We are organizing a virtual seed bank with participating farmers and gardeners in the valley, keeping their favorite seeds and making them available via trade or barter.

A confluence of factors over the past 50 years has severely  reduced the varieties of crops being grown in the world for food.   Many varieties  have been lost.   This trend has been accelerated in the past decade with the consolidation of seed companies and the advent of genetic engineering in agriculture.   The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive processes poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats.

 4.  SHELTER – We organize an annual Green Homes Tour.   We encourage people to design and construct shelters that have the lowest ecological footprint on the earth as possible.  Some of our members have, or are building structures that are exploring new frontiers in the design of earthships, straw bale, cordwood, and adobe construction methods, with energy systems that are simplified and off the grid and also feature innovations in no-discharge sanitation systems and water recycling.   

Working with nature's cycles and processes as inspiration, humans can create shelters and systems that produce no waste, are beautiful, and make efficient use of natural resources.


This organization is supported entirely by memberships, grants, and workshops  It operates with the intent that no financial profit shall accrue to any individual.

Sustainable Living Systems                            406/ 360-1751
PO Box 53                                    
Victor, Mt.   59875