As one of many projects to build a sustainable local food system in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Sustainable Living Systems obtained several contributions to create a community garden in the town of Victor on a one acre parcel belonging to a church. Following the installation of a deer proof fence (seen in the background), the digging of a well with a pump and piping for irrigation, 20x20 plots will be rented to community members for $20 per growing season. SLS will provide compost, mulch, tools and do the watering. The Victor school will take classes to the garden and use it as an “Edible Schoolyard.” In October 2011, an educational, pollinator native plant garden in the middle of the 1/2 acre was planted along with shade trees and other native shrubs in a play and picnic area within the fence.
“The building blocks of life are sacred and should be in the public domain. If scientists want to study and manipulate them for some supposed common good, fine. Then we must remove the profit motive. The private profit motive corrupts pure science and increasingly precludes democratic participation.” ―Jill Davies, Director, Sustainable Living Systems
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Gretchen Langton — President — born and bred in the Victor area, graduated from Stevensville H.S. in 1987, obtained a B.A. in Political Science (pre-law) from Mt. State Univ., with a minor in English; obtained a M.A. in English from Univ. of Oregon. Now living off the grid in a yurt on her property in the Victor area and is building an Earthship home there. She is a practicing massage therapist (Tipi Rock Therapy) and is also very busy being a mother to a rambunctious little girl named Lilly. Alica Mariana — Secretary/Treasurer — has been involved in various aspects of business and office management for many years. After selling a wood working business, Alice became mail order manager for a local seed company, then store manager for the organic garden store and nursery. Now works at Ravalli County Economic Development Authority.
David Bassler — has a BA in philosophy, BS in geology, and MS in environmental studies. He is an organic orchardist. He has built and lives off the grid in a very beautiful and artistic earthship home, with an earthship greenhouse.
Larry Campbell — Vice-President — BS in geology, Princeton University, 1970; Outward Bound Instructor ’67 to ’78; travel to pre-industrial cultures, Mexico (Tarahumara), Baffin (Innuit), Afghanistan (Nooristan), India, Nepal; Building an appropriate technology off the grid farmstead in the Darby, Montana,; Conservation activist, 1970-2004 founded Princeton Ecology Action 1970; Montana Wilderness Association Council, 1986-1988; founded Montana Waterwatch,’86; Voice of the Environment ’96-’98; Executive Director - Friends of the Bitterroot ’98 - ’02; Big Wild board member, ’96 - present; Natural Trails and Waters Coalition Regional Leader.
Janis Cooper — grew up in Maine, and consider myself at the core, a 'maniac'. However, I fell in love with the mountains of Montana in 1968 and moved here lock, stock (specifically horses), and barrel in 1978. During those earlier years I worked, among many things, as a seasonal employee for the Forest Service. Starting w/bare land on the west side of the Bitterroots, my then partner and I built a shed, garage, barn and house (in that order). I kept horses, sheep (for hand-spinning wool), and chickens. In 1993, after graduating from the University of Montana with an MA in Sociology, I worked in various Montana State human service positions for the next 15 years. I accepted a Grant Coordinator position in an Alaskan school system for the 2007-8 school season. Currently back in the Bitterroot Valley, I live and am employed in Hamilton. To mention a few of the activities that feed my soul, I enjoy gardening, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and hiking.
Kezia Coon — grew up in the Bitterroot Valley, was home schooled, is now attending Bitterroot Community College and taking nutrition and food-related course, and the director of our Food Sharing Project, pictured here with a load of squash that was distributed to low income people in 2009.
Jill Davies — (STAFF) — Director - got her bachelors degree in mathematics, but after a taste of graduate school changed course and went into more holistic studies. She studied Biodynamics in England in the early ’70’s; worked in the gardens on a commune in the French Alps and on a Biodynamic truck farm in Switzerland before returning to the US. She went back to England in 1999 to attend a course at Schumacher College on biotechnology in agriculture and has been active in that issue ever since.