MUD is a nonprofit learning center for sustainable living practices that promotes organic gardening, resource efficiency and community building through demonstration and hands on education. MUD provides a tool library, a demonstration site, a compost bike service and a variety of educational programs for the people of Missoula.
Energy, recycling, purchasing, living wage, employee benefits, building practices, and sustainable products. MUD has a 1 kw net metered solar system producing 40% of our energy usage. We conserve energy with simple weatherization techniques, like window quilts, and have a hot water on demand water heater. We also turn off all “phantom loads” by keeping our computer equipment connected to surge protectors that we unplug each night. Our compost bike service, which hauls coffee grounds from the downtown stored 5 days a week, demonstrates the use of alternative energy. MUD recycles cardboard, white paper, colored paper (which we make into our own handmade paper), cans, plastic milk jugs, magazines/slick paper and newspapers. We also reuse many items, reducing waste. MUD conserves resources through reducing our water usage with native plant landscaping, rain barrels and a low volume toilet. MUD strives to purchase items from locally owned businesses, and we promote buying local in our “Backyard Culture” newsletter—see Fall/Winter 2002 “Grub Shed: Eating Locally”. MUD offers two of our three employees a living wage and provides health benefit stipends to all staff. We are moving towards providing a living wage for all year round staff. Our Demonstration Site showcases a strawbale structure, a building made from all recycled materials and cob constructions (a mixture of sand, clay, straw, and water finished with lindseedoil). The Missoula Tool Library, managed by MUD, provides workshops in home repair and lends over 1,000 tools per year. We sell a variety of sustainable products: hemp T-shirts, composting worms, papermaking kits, organic llama manure and compost. Our workshops offer lessons in a variety of sustainable living topics–everything from biodiesel conversion to Tai Chi. MUD also provides horticultural therapy for people with disabilities and elderly gardeners, after school classes in all of the public middle schools of Missoula, a food aid program for low income people, a free resource library, and a free seed distribution program.