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



Upcoming events:     

         For more info,   Call:  360-1751   or    email:


donate to SLS and help us build a local food system -- see the Donations page

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 - - Green Home Toour
Meet us at the Park n Ride at Sheafman Ck Rd and Hwy 93 at 10 am. Cost $10 We will car pool, reduced cost for drivers with big cars. 10 am to 2 pm so bring water and lunch.

We will visit 3 unique energy efficient homes: 1. an earthship made of recycled materials with a greywater recycling system, composting toilet, bottle wall, passive solar. 2. a balecob house on an earthbag foundation, using strawbale, earthbag, rubble trench foundation, cob, wattle daub, and features a rocket mass heater, earthen floors and ferrocement garden beds. 3. a super insulated frame house with a CO2 heat pump that is under review in the U.S., and a ventilator with heat recovery.

Past Events Follow:  
Events in 2015 (most recent first)

Sept 11- 7 pm Janine Benyus speaks at Bedford Bldg. Janine co-founded the Biomimicry Institute in 2006 to share nature’s lessons with the people who design and make our world.   Biomimicry Institute empowers people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet.  

July 11, 10 to 4, Geology tour in the B'root
with George Furniss - a tour of the sites in the valley that show the effects of the ice ages and Glacial Lake Missoula. Travelling into Roaring Lion and Judd Cks, then Lost Horse Ck and end the tour at Lake Como.

May 18 - 7 pm at Lee Metcalf Visitor Center - Native Bee Presentation and Workshop - led by Leah Grunzke,  sponsored by SLS in partnership with the Bitterroot Audubon Society.  Leah will present a slide show of flowers and native bee pollinators, going over the basics of pollinator gardening and habitat requirements (what types of flowers attract different pollinators, planting suggestions), the life cycle of native bees and how they differ from honeybees (in terms of biology, nesting, pollination, beekeeping, etc), and the specifics of building a variety of native bee nesting houses with handouts and a variety of bee hotels on display.    She can also bring some mounted bees and some field microscopes to let people get a really good look at some of our common species.   There will be booklets on bee identification to hand out.

April 18 - 10 am to 12 pm at the Victor Community Garden - Fruit tree workshop - planting fruit trees, led by MSU Extention
       then, at 12 pm, Victor Garden Work Day to spruce up the garden and get it ready for planting.

Events in 2014 (most recent first)

Saturday, Sept. 20- Harvest Dinner and Pollinator Workshop - led by two native bee researchers, Marirose Kuhlman and Leah Grunzke. Held at the Corvallis grange, starting 5 pm. Lots of info re/ native bees given, pluse how to make bee hotels.

Saturday, June 14 - Geology Tour in the B'root - led by George Furniss, showing the effects of the Ice Ages and Glacial Lake Missoula.  Meet vans in Hamilton KMart parking lost at 10am, allow 5 hours, bring lunch, water, cost $10

Saturday, April 26 (Earth Day Week)
  -  Montanans for Climate Solutions - Statewide Rallies & Events - incl. in the Bitterroot
Meet at City Hall at noon - 1 hour of talks, then other actions - to celebrate this wonderful place we call home and to call for solutions to climate change. 

Events in 2013 (most recent first)
Sat, Oct. 19 - Annual Green Home Tour- 4 energy efficient structures: monolithic dome, biodiesel plant on a farm, grid-tied home with integrated solar and wind generation, earth source heat pump home.
Sat, Sept 21 - Annual 'Root Food Dinner, salsa makinig and Harvest Party at the Victor Cmty Garden.
Sat, April 20 - - Annual Earth Day - Cmty Garden Work Day and Potluck Party at the Victor Cmty Garden 10 am - 4 pm

Events Accomplished 2012(most recent first)
Sat., Sept. 15 - Annual 'Root Food Dinner - potluck party at the Victor Community Garden - to Celebrate the Harvest with games for the children, and music by the gardeners. Potluck dishes made from garden produce.

Sun. Aug. 12 - Garden Tour  5 gardens in Hamilton, Corvallis area
Sat., April 21,, SLS's Annual Seed and Bedding Plants Swap/Sale - for Earth Day! at the Rocky Mtn. Grange

Sat., April 14,
Victor Community Garden/Edible Schoolyard Workday
Friday, March 23, 7:00 pm, Bitterroot Library, Hamilton - free - The Economics of Happiness - Video - Creating a Better Economic Future for All - examines the structures and myths on which the corporate-controlled global economy is based, and explores how a new economy -- one based on an economics of happiness -- can be built by supporting the local, globally.

Events Accomplished 2011: (most recent first)

Oct 22, 10 am - afternoon,  SLS's Annual 'Root Food Dinner, Work party, and Salsa making at the new Victor Community Garden, creating a native pollinator garden in the center of the community plots and a picnic area of native trees and bushes off to the side.  Serving local, organic, home cooked food by the SLS board, including barbecued local, grass fed beef.

Sept 17, 9am - 4pm -SLS's Annual Bitterroot Green Home Tour  (Guided Tour - w/ Vans) 4 homes, 1 business; viewing an Earthship under construction using a variety of techniques, also passive solar heating, solar power, strawbale, and ecological water systems, and a pyramid home/greenhouse.  $10. Sponsored by:  Home ReSource, GreenPath Properties, Birch Creek Timber, Oasis Montana. 

May 21 , 5 pm, Bitterroot Food Co-op Annual Membership meeting and Potluckat the HRC Bldg in Hamilton. Due to lack of interest, this project is being tabled for now.

April 23, 2 - 6 pm,
1st Annual Earth Day Event - "Spring Celebration of Gardens and Local Food" at the Rocky Mtn Grange, with producers at tables and presentations from Jeremy Smith, author of "Growing a Garden City", and Ria Overholt, coordinator of the Hamilton Community Garden.  

Feb 26, 1:00 to 5:00 pm, Seed and Natural Products Swap & Sale and Music,at the Rocky Mtn Grange
2:00-3:00. Group discussion on how to grow seed, how to keep varieties true-to-seed, about GMO's, etc. Celtic Music session at 5:00. Sponsored by SLS, the Grange, the Celtic Knots.

Feb. 1 at 5:15 Bitterroot Food Cooperative steering cmte meeting at the RCEDA office talking about options for moving forward.

Events Accomplished 2010:
(most recent first)

Oct 9 & 10 - Green Home Building Workshop and 'Root Food Dinner.
10.10.10 Event
- Skills for Building a Green Home - a 2-day Workshop; and our annual 'Root Food Dinner - - In conjunction with's campaign called "Get to Work," for which they are organizing a Global Work Party which will take place in thousands of communities all over the world, each implementing their own solutions to the climate crisis.  Ours is about living in shelters that have the lowest ecological footprint on the earth as possible, using energy systems that are simplified and off the grid, and using building materials that are considered waste in this society.  Sponsored by Sustainable Living Systems   Mark your Calenders.  
Sat. & Sun., Oct. 9 & 10, 9:00am to 4:00pm.  Cost:  $100, includes 2 lunches.  $120 if camping.  Location:  Langton Ranch on Big Ck, just 2 miles N. of Victor. Turn west onto Mittower Rd, go straight through the Big Creek Ranch gate and follow the signs.  Instruction will be at 6 stations, covering rock, block, mud, tires, can or bottle/crete, and solar/electrical systems.  Participants will rotate through 3 stations/day.   Instructors:  Peggy Steffas, David Bassler, Leo Staat, Gretchen Langton, Jill Davies.   For questions or to register, call Gretchen:  207-3738  
AND - - our annual 'Root Food Dinner: Sun., 10/10, 5:00 pm, same location.  Cost:  $12, (workshop participants $10), and you will be able to tour the stations where an Earthship home is being built, and talk to the participants and instructors. Serving local and organic, home cooked food by the SLS board. Also there will be a keg from Blacksmith Brewery, a raffle of some great items, and possibly music around the campfire.

Aug 21, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Garden Tour Cost: $10 at the Van  See Slide Show here: garden tour '10
The Gardens:
Molly Hackett's, Jill's, Hamilton Community Garden, Farm to Table Restaurant at Sleeping Child Farms, Jean & Jack Atthowe's. See Garden Tour Slide Show here: garden tour '10
Apr 17, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Awakening the Dreamer Symposium  from the Pachamama Alliance
held at River St. Dance Theater, Hamilton.
Our society is at a crossroads in history, facing climate change, peak oil, health crises, and economic chaos.  Out of crises comes opportunity to forge a new culture.  What will we envision? 
Feb 27, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Permaculture Workshop - with Michael Pilarski - A Permaculture Approach to Food Production & Biomass in Agriculture and Gardening.    
Human Resource Council Bldg, 316 N 3rd St., Hamilton. Focus on gardening and small-scale farming
Jan. 29, 6:30 pm Bitterroot Food Coop meeting and potluck at the Corvallis Methodist Church to hear an update on new developments in the works for the Co-op, and to elect new board members.   Plus second showing of the eye opening movie/documentary: Food, Inc. 

Events Accomplished 2009: (most recent first)

Dec. 12, 7pm, Global Day of Climate Action re/ the Copenhagen Climate Conference - SLS showing the movie/documentary: Food, 1st Christian Church, Hamilton.   
Dec. 4, 7pm
, 7th Great Turning meeting - Joanna Macy?s: The Work That Reconnects workshop, led by Kathleen Kennedy

Oct. 30, 7pm,6th Great Turning meeing - Video: Killing Fields - about how GM soy is causing havoc in S. America
Oct. 24, 6pm, Root Food '09 and Global Day of Climate Action,
 Hamilton City Hall  $20.  Our 2nd annual local food dinner for the Bitterroot community and fundraiser for Sustainable Living Systems.  A gourmet, home cooked dinner featuring fresh, local foods; a silent local food auction; and a speaker on solutions for climate change. This event is in conjunction with the International Day of Climate Action, organized by Bill McKibbon and associates of, to take a stand for limiting CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 ppm and to encourage world leaders to pass policies strong enough to get us back to 350.  See   The speaker is Beth Berlin,

Sept. 19, 9:00 to 4:00-ish -Bitterroot Green Home Tour - a Guided tour  - 5 homes all offering a variety of green capacities, including: passive solar heating, solar power, solar-water heating, earth berm and concrete block for thermal mass, composting toilets, recirculating gravel filter with wetland plants for gray water, local rock and strawbale construction, attached greenhouses, food storage and processing, R70 cellulose walls.

August 27, 7:00, Ham. Library-Herbicides in Compost or Potting Soil - Community Meeting There has been a rash of complaints this year about garden plants being killed after contaminated compost or potting soil was used.  The herbicide Milestone is the culprit. SLS and the Fmrs Mkt Co-op are calling a meeting to collect stories, compile what we know, and identify the questions that need answers. 

July 31,5th Great Turning meeting, Video "Home", potluck 6:00 pm; movie 7:00 pm. at the First Christian Church Meeting Room 

July 20, 7:30 pm Baroque Orchestra Concert, at the Presbyterian Church, 1220 W. Main, Hamilton.  Baroque Ensemble "BRANDHOUT"

June 12. 7:00 - 4th Great Turning meeting - book reviews and a video of Jill Bolte Taylor describing her "Stroke of Insight"

June 5. 7:30 - "Gentle Winds in the B'root" - Recorder concert by the Backyard Recorder Consort of Missoula

May 29, 7:00 - Bitterroot Food Co-op Annual Meeting - B'root Library

May 1, 7:00 - 3rd Great Turning meeting - discussion re/ these changing times - First Christian Church

April 23, Final Planning Meeting of CFP Coalition,  to finalize the Strategic Plan for building a Local Food System.  Visit to see the Plan in the Minutes of 4.23.09.

March. 27, 7:00 - 2nd Great Turning meeting - a public showing of  the video:  "Escape from Affluenza" organized by the Great Turning Group, with refreshments and discussion following.

Feb. 27, 7:00 - 1st Great Turning meeting- a public showing of "The Great Turning" video, an inspiring presentation by author David Korten about these troubled times and the solution is building local economies via local food and energy.  At   First Christian Church, 328 Fairgrounds Road, across from the high school.  visit  

Monthly meetings of the CFP Coalition continued thru April when the Plan was established.   See     


Events Accomplished 2008: (most recent first)


Monthly meetings of the CFP Coalition.   See   

October 3 - 'Root Food for Sustainability - at the Hamilton City Hall - a local harvest dinner, fundraiser for SLS, silent food auction, and educational event with speaker Bruce Smith speaking on "Why Local Food and What We are Doing About It".   The board of SLS prepared the dinner and it was raved about by all.
September 13 - Green Home Tour -- in five (5) Bitterroot homes- seeing  passive solar power, an Earthship, the latest solar technology, straw-bale structures, a concrete home, and learning how recycled material can be revived.   Info packets provided.
 Participants rode on buses (Park-n-Ride vans).   Tickets ($10).  Event organized by Gretchen Langton. (207-3738)

April 12 - Bitterroot Food Co-op - Members/Subscribers 1st Annual Meeting -  at the Corvallis Grange

 After eating, we elected a new 9 member board of directors, and adopted By-laws.  This has enabled us to formally incorporate as a Cooperative Association and then we may "call in" the actual membership funds and begin implementing a new business plan.

Visit the Co-op Website  for more information, the history of this project, and to download a subscription agreement

Jan 31 -- Climage Change Video - - Five Planets

Montanans at the Crossroads of Global Warming. Hamilton Libray meeting room - 7:00 p.m.,  The Five Planets Video, made in Missoula, relevant for Montana, entirely locally produced, with experts, leaders and individuals from around the state, including Dr. Steven Running, Nobel laureate, We will have a discussion after the one hour film.
This event is in conjunction with the national campaign, "Focus the Nation", which is organizing the largest "teach-in" in U.S. history.  see: ). 

Jan 26 - - Co-op Social “Last Best Food”  by the Bitterroot Food Co-op Team ~ ~

Bedford Bldg (Hamilton City Hall, 223 S. 2nd St.)6:00 – 11 pm    ($5.00 adults, $2.00 children)

A Local Food dinner, prepared by Riversong Catering, with local beer and wine available.   Local acoustic music while dining by the Crested Hens, and Local dance music later by Blue Melon.   A power point presentation and discussion about the Co-op.  



Events Accomplished 2007: (most recent first)


Nov 3 - StepItUp #2 - National Day of Action for Climate Change

Two speakers, ½ hour each, followed by social hour and live celtic music.
Dr. Faith Ann Heinsch, U of Mt. Research Scientist in the Dept. of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences (part of the College of Forestry), colleague of recent Nobel laureate Dr. Steve Running, to tell about ecosystem changes as a result of global warming    (power point presentation) and - -  Ben Brouwer, on AERO's, Blueprint for Montana’s Energy Self-Reliance. 

Oct '06 thru March '07:  Our Buy Fresh Buy Local project hosted 5 speakers events on the topic of food, titled "Food & Culture Series".   Food & Culture Series Poster

April 14 - StepItUp #1 -  National Day of Action for Climate Change, first initiated by Bill McKibben, to send a message to congress about the need for decisive action re/ global warming.   Contra Dance at Corvallis Grange, Sponsored by SLS and The Crested Hens.

March 25  Hamilton City Hall - Bill McKibben reading from his new book "Deep Economy".

 Partner Sponsors:  Chapter One Bookstore, Bitterroot Good Neighbors Coalition, SLS

March 29 - Hamilton Library - discussion about a Montana-based food system with "Grow

   Montana" - a coalition of state-wide organizations working toward food security in the state.

Jan 29:  Jill gave a talk on GMO's - How Life Works via Cells and How GMO's are Made - to the Gardeners Collective.



Events Accomplished 2006:


Video Series -Theme: Sustainable Communities - - a series of thought-provoking documentaries about us and our society.

To be shown at the Hamilton Public Library meeting room, 7:00 p.m.

Feb 8 - - WalMart, the high cost of low prices - effects on communities, and campaigns to keep them out.

Feb 22 - - Ancient Futures and Local Futures - Documentaries by Helena Norberg-Hodge about the impacts of globalization on undeveloped countries, focussing on Ladakh.

Mar 8 - - The Future of Food – a stunning documentary about GMO’s and the patenting of life.

Mar 22 - - OutFoxed - Rupert Murdoch’s domination of the press and war on free journalism.

Apr 5 - - The End of Suburbia - about the unsustainability of our fossil fuel society.

Apr 19 - - Affluenza - about excessive consumption and materialism, and why many seek voluntary simplicity.

May 3 - - Hidden Dangers in Kids’ Meals - why genetically engineered foods are dangerous, how biotech

companies drive regulations, and the positive impact of healthy foods on kids.

May 17 - - The Corporation - a provocative study of the inner workings, history, and power of the modern

multinational corporations, with testimonies from corporate insiders.

Nov/Dec - - Jeffrey Smith came to speak in 5 cities in Montana, with our help.  He is a speaker and writer on GMOs in food and is the author of the book, Seeds of Deception, exposing industry and government lies about the safety of genetically engineered foods.   He spoke in Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, Missoula and Pable during November 28 through December 2.

See Poster:  Jeffrey Smith, Seeds of Deception

Events accomplished 2005: 

- Bitterroot Valley Food Co-op - steering committee meetings ongoing

- Conversation Cafe's - citizens sharing about creating a sustainable economy in our community, with monthly meetings since the first one in December of 2004.   The tenth and last meeting was October, 2005

- Seed Grower's Network Meetings in January and March: 

- Video Showings - 6 Videos were shown on Friday evenings at the Hamilton Library meeting room from Feb. 18 thru March 25..   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.   
- Susan Witt from Schumacher Society - May 12, 13, 2005 -  Susan Witt and Chris Lindstrom from the Schumacher Society (see our links page) came to speak on the benefits of setting up a local currency, and on the SHARE program and on Community Land Trusts. 

- Herbology Workshop - Saturday, July 9,  at SLS, with Lisa Classen on the making of Comfrey Salve,

- Sustainability (Green Homes) Tour - Saturday, July 23, 2005 - This year it was a self-guided tour in the Bitterroot Valley and in Missoula, featuring strawbale, earthship, super-insulated, recycled materials, passive and active solar, alternative gray water.

- Permaculture Workshop - Saturday & Sunday, Sept 10, 11 - with Michael Pilarski from

  Friends of the Trees Society (see our links page).   Theme:  Permaculture Design for Small Properties - Increasing Biological & Economic Productivity.

- Salsa Festival with potluck dinner and live music by the Crested Hens - Saturday, Sept 17  we made somewhere around 16 gallons of salsa in about 2 1/2 hours!  

Events accomplished 2004: 

  - New members meeting, volleyball & potluck -  Thursday, July 8, 2004

   - Building an Earthship Workshop - Saturday, July 24,  2004

   - Bitterroot Green Homes Tour - Saturday, August 14, 2004.

   - Salsa Fest - Saturday, September 18, 2004

   - Spinning & Weaving Workshop - Tues & Wed, Oct. 5 & 6, 2004

   - Biodiesel and Used Fry Oil Applications Workshop - Saturday., Oct 23, 2004

   - Helena Norberg-Hodge to speak: Globalization versus Community 

       in Missoula, Nov. 17, 7pm, at UofM, Science Complex Rm 131

       in Hamilton, Nov. 18, 7pm at The Exchange Conference Room, 3rd & Main

       in Pablo, Nov 19, 1pm & 7pm at Salish Kootenai College, Beaverhead Bldg, Rm 115

   - Conversation Cafe's - citizens sharing about creating a sustainable economy in our  community.   first meeting was Dec 2, '04,

   - Bitterroot Valley Food Co-op

   - 1st Co-op Organizational meeting: Dec 7, 2004, Corvallis Methodist Church.