Take a Survey, Feed the Island

At a potluck dinner on Lopez Island late in the summer of 2014, Sandy Bishop, executive director of the Lopez Community Land Trust, and one of LCLT’s farm interns, Ezra Fradkin, were having a conversation about a hot topic – eating locally-sourced food. Sandy told Ezra she guessed that Lopezians probably only get about 5-10% of…

Finishing Strong on Lopez

“This is the best thing I did for my old age,” proclaimed Gale McCallum, age 91, about her little cottage in The Hamlet. In 1971 Gale and her husband bought a house on the South End of Lopez – a big old Victorian on Alec Bay Road. They moved there permanently in 1986, when they retired.…

Organic Growth

When Blossom Grocery moves into its new location in early 2016, it will at once be the newest and oldest natural foods grocery store in San Juan County. Since Jeff Nichols opened Blossom in 1977, Lopez has watched the store grow and change – along with the consumption habits of the island. When I recently asked Blossom co-owner,…

No Time to Waste

“I love entropy.” This is how my conversation started with Nikyta Palmisani, the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District (LSWDD, aka The Dump). I scheduled coffee with Nikyta expecting to learn a few data points about Lopez Island’s garbage habits. I left that conversation with that and an entirely new perspective on human…

Lopez Island’s Living Room

It was a sunny morning on Lopez Island, Aug 23, 2001. Jeff Nichols and the staff of The Galley Restaurant and Lounge were scurrying around making sure everything was set for The Galley’s reopening under new management. Jeff was nervous. Not entirely confident that The Galley was ready for business – especially at the height of tourist…

Share the Wealth

Most people, after a long, successful career, choose to turn things down a notch. Even though retirement doesn’t look like it used to, if people keep working, they’ll choose not to work as much; or they’ll focus on more leisure activities like golf or traveling.  Doug Benoliel and Tamara Buchanan are not like most people.…

It takes a [Lopez] Village

Over the years, Lopez Island Family Resource Center Executive Director, Celia Marquis, has been asked, “What does the LIFRC do?” A better question to ask might be, “What doesn’t the LIFRC do?” This week I met Celia, Patsy Haber, Susie Teague, Heather Gladstone and Alaya Battalia at the LIFRC in Lopez Village to find out. To put it simply,…

Get them on the road

If it was the beautiful country roads and Tour de Lopez that helped establish Lopez as “the biker’s island,” it will be entrepreneurs like Heidi Hernandez and Michael Cherveny who will help the island keep that reputation. Heidi and Michael opened Village Cycles four years ago and have been steadily putting more Lopezians and island visitors on…

SouthEnders

Someone recently told me that it takes about eighteen months to determine whether a newcomer to Lopez is going to stay. As a relative newcomer to the island, I can understand that. With a population of only 2200, this tight-knit community isn’t necessarily hard to break into; but it does have a unique vibe that…