Food is Medicine

“I was a goner. They sent me home to die.” This is how Randall Waugh, founder of Chicaoji, started to tell me the story of the event that changed his life. In 2010, Randall’s liver failed. After preventing him from dying immediately, the doctors at St. Joseph Hospital gave Randall a few months to live,…

Be Their Guest

Anybody who has traveled by ferry to the San Juan Islands is familiar with this type of announcement over the ferry’s loudspeaker: “Would the owner of a white Volvo station wagon please report to the car deck.” It’s usually followed by the owner’s walk of shame down the ferry’s stairs, which is followed by their…

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…