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.
Therefore, our mission is to:
- have more of the food that is consumed in the valley produced in the valley
- via a Local Food System, encourage a local food production and supply system that fosters the economic health of our communities and farms, the social and physical health of our citizens, and the environmental health of our valley.
- demonstrate and teach sustainable living regarding our food, energy, and shelter systems
We do this by empowering 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 through these areas:
- The 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.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.
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. A better world IS possible.
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.
We organize Green Home Tours, and 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.