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Click for Heirloom Tomato Seed Selection

Save Seeds - Victory Horticultural Library

matersearch.com - online tomato resources

A history of International Harvester and our farm's tractors.


Welcome to Dunton Family Farms
Since 1909

Our Thoughts on Consumption, Waste and Technology
Sustainability as a Lifestyle Choice and Practice

"Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost."

-- Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator"

Although our lifestyle is different than the typical urban or suburban American consumer, it is not as much so as you would imagine. It is very easy for people living in the modern world to get caught up in the "norms" of their society.

Since we choose to not live in isolation or separation, it is a constant effort to filter out much of what the media and the world around us is saying and still maintain our set of values, moral principles, and beliefs (which we do not try and force on others just as we are tolerant of other points of view). We strive to live deliberately and purposefully, to be conscientious consumers, non-materialistic, and live by "The Golden Rule."

We are 21st Century citizens who study and strive for proficiency in the "olden-day ways" of doing things and truly believe that people should possess the necessary skills to be self-sufficient.

But the reality is that in order for us to do great things that have a positive impact on this planet beyond the physical boundaries of the land that we are stewards of, we selectively integrate technologies - both ancient and modern - to maximize the output of our time. We choose to reach out into the world as opposed to retreating from it and live our lives as examples thus offering alternative ideas for people to consider and possibly adapt or adopt into their way of life.

In implementing technology, we chose to use our brains and integrate it into our lifestyle and sustainability goals. We are continually trying to refine and rethink our daily living practices. The following list is a few of these areas.

  • Recycling and Reuse Practices - Our goal is to walk as lightly on the planet as we can. We are trying to minimize what our family sends to landfills which naturally causes us to think about the purchases we make. Recycling begins at the check-out counter of your local store.

    [Climbing up onto my soap box, purchase decisions also start by choosing the actual store you are supporting. We choose to not shop in the large, big box stores with "mart" or "depot" in their names. When practical, we buy from local stores in an attempt to keep our local economy thriving. Additionally, to supplement our food requirements of what we do not produce ourselves, we support local agriculture. Not only does this result in the freshest, most nutritious, best quality food we can buy, it helps to support small farmers and encourage them to keep farming. There is enough prime farmland paved and developed in our world. Help slow the growth by supporting local agriculture. Join a CSA. Buy at local farm stands or farmer's markets.]

    • Composting
      • Strategically Located Composting Bins - Time is always short on the farm. If a process is not easy to use, it will be circumvented. We have composting bins located in garden areas but within reasonable walking distance from food preparation areas.
      • Compost Piles - This is our primary method of improving the friability, structure and fertility of our soil. Read more about this by clicking here.
      • Composting Toilet (Thoroughly composted Humanure is not used in edible gardens but in fields, woodlots and hedgerows.) Click here for more information.
    • Reuse - This is a primary goal for materials that would otherwise enter the conventional waste stream. [Click here for more information]
      • Glass and plastic containers - New uses found.
      • Lumber and building materials - Salvaged from building or demolition sites and used to build new structures on our farm. Refer to our tool shed and composting toilet projects.
      • Donations to others - If we have good, serviceable items that we no longer need and cannot think of a reason to keep, we donate it to others. We first look to people in our local community and then to organizations within our metropolitan area. We donate things like outgrown clothing, household appliances, money, garden produce, extra eggs, automobiles, and once, a whole cow, to serve organizations like the Portland Rescue Mission.
      • "The Emporium" - This is a concept that I (Mike) learned as a teenager while working as a cabinetmaker. The shop happened to be located on my boss' family's farm and they were huge proponents of reuse and recycling. They had one whole farm building, an old production chicken coop from the '30s or '40s, that was dedicated as a repository for all things hardware related. It was awesome. Family members from all over, not just ones living on the farm, would bring items like hinges, door knobs, windows, tools, appliances, etc. If you were working on a project and needed something, you first searched the tables and shelves in the Emporium and 90% of the time you would find what you needed. We use this principle but do not yet have one dedicated building for the purpose. My grandfather practiced this form of reuse as well. I still use parts and items that he salvaged and stored in the basement (neatly organized in hanging jars or bins) or in the barns. Waste is just plain ignorant.
    • Recycling - It is a secondary option to reuse. Recycling is better than tossing something into a landfill because the raw materials are not wasted, but it still requires energy and expense to convert into another product.
      • Our local trash service provides a free solution for recycling of glass containers, waste paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, metal, motor oil. Other items deemed as hazardous (used batteries, florescent lamp tubes, etc.) are collected and taken to a recycling center so that dangerous contaminants stay out of the landfills.
      • We try and support recycling efforts by purchasing items made with recycled materials.
  • Sensible Use of Technology (Sustainable Technology) - This is an ongoing area of study, experimentation, and work.
    • Working to Reduce Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels.
      • Minimizing the amount of driving we do. We no longer commute to off-farm jobs. We combine trips to town and route errands logically. We carpool with others when possible.
      • We are in the very early stages of investigating how using used cooking oil and converting to bio-diesel might be used on our farm (we have a diesel tractor which is minimally used).
    • Experimenting and implementing alternative energy technologies.
      • Solar and wind power generation technology - Again, this is a project that is in early investigational stages. We have implemented solar for application specific purposes (our main entry gate, pathway lighting, composting toilet light). But we are committed to look at ways our energy consumption can be reduced and how we can implement solar and wind systems economically. The ultimate goal would be to remain on-grid but generate more energy than we consume.
  • Water Use
    • Our main source for drinking and watering is a well drilled in 1961. We have had it comprehensively tested and it is about as pure as you can get. We have it tested for common contaminants about every other year. Right now it is pumped using electricity from the power grid. Future goals would be to convert the system to alternative power or pumping methods.
    • Rain Water Catchment - This is a project currently in the planning stages. It will be implemented by redirecting the runoff from our farm building into a series of small ponds to serve various uses.
    • Waste Water - Our "indoor plumbing" was added to the house in 1943. It was plumbed with a standard septic system (tank and leach line drain field) but the kitchen gray water was kept separate and runs out to a tank and leach line that waters the orchard. Both systems work well and are monitored and maintained. We are reducing the load on our system by using a solar composting toilet.

Copyright 1996 - 2023 by Dunton Family Farms