Director Report Fall 2021
Not surprisingly, the times we live in get more challenging as pandemic life becomes a fixture in our lives. The global supply chain disruptions are just one of many issues throwing our world into more chaos than usual. Across the nation, we’ve seen shortages of everything from paint to potatoes. According to The Guardian, “The problem seems to be getting worse, as the shortages pile on top of each other like a snake eating its tail. For instance, the inability to fix trucks means that truck drivers can’t haul boxes of goods, which might actually contain the parts needed to fix the trucks, and so forth.”
Climate change, population growth, lack of available tradespersons, coupled with rising cost of goods are all factors that call for a pause. With this in mind, here at LCLT we have been focusing on land acquisition, as opposed to building (after all, without securing land, we will not be able to perform our primary function), and responding to others who are curious to learn more about CLT’s and housing cooperatives.
This past year, we’ve been in dialogue with folks in Oregon recovering from the tragic destructive Rogue Valley fires who are looking for ways to create a hyper stable locally controlled stock of housing. We’ve been in touch with a Seattle resident who is looking to build a tiny house community for artists in Seattle with an emphasis on serving Black, Indigenous, People of Color. LCLT participated on a panel for the CLT festival hosted by the Center for CLT Innovation and Sustainable Housing (funded by the European Union) – you’ll find a recording of the event at the end of this newsletter. Closer to home, we’re also regularly in touch with the OPAL CLT and the San Juan Home Trust, who just visited us on Lopez. It seems this is a good time to build relationships and cross-fertilize ideas on how we can effectively respond to the great needs, while tending to our stewardship of land and sustainable principles.
While searching for new land acquisitions LCLT is in the process of determining what the next affordable housing project will be. During these next months we’ll be conducting feasibility studies, and will host a community design charrette in 2022 to help us better determine community needs. Stay posted for the details.
— Executive Director, Sandy Bishop
Lopez Farm Tour – October 15-17!
The Lopez Farm tour is taking place this weekend, October 15-17. Stonecrest Farm and Lucky Ewe Farm, are two of the many featured on the tour this year. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate farms, food and community. Details here: https://www.farmtourssanjuans.com/about-4-2
An Update from Stonecrest Farm
By Meike Meissner
Photo by Meike
Summer seems to have disappeared in the blink of an eye this year, with the hot, dusty days quickly replaced by the cold winds and soaking rains of September. After enduring another record-breaking dry year, we are grateful for the return of green grasses, blooming clover, and sprouting wild arugula in the garden paths.
The biggest success for us so far has been in seeing the results of holistic grazing just four summers into our tenure here. By aggressively moving animals from grazing paddock to grazing paddock, we have been able to give the lands we manage ample time to rest and recover. This summer in particular, the action of quickly moving our animals through fields helped to lay down a layer of mulch to keep ground temperatures lower during the hottest of days. This mulch layer also helped capture any moisture from the dew or from what little rain we did receive. Building up organic material in the soil helps to build drought resiliency as well, and allows for the grasses and forbs to have enough stored energy to respond when the rains do return. These fields have now “jumped” and our cows and sheep are still out on pasture, cycling through several properties on island, including the new LCLT property, Lopez Sound Road Farm. Depending on the weather, the herds and flock will make their way back to the Stonecrest hill in late November or December, where they will spend the wetter months of winter.
Photo by Meike
We planted an acre of wheat this year in the former pig pasture on the eastern edge of the farm as an experiment in rapid pasture rehabilitation. Some people have told us that old Otto Kjargaard used to run 100+ hogs in that same zone, but our 23 pigs did a pretty good job of tilling up the rocky soil there last winter all by themselves. The wheat grew well (pigs make a lot of fertilizer), even during the dry summer, and a small herd of yearling steers grazed the field as a means of non-mechanical harvesting this fall. The rains have now sprouted the western pasture grass mix that was seeded with the wheat, and the bare soil is covered with clover seedlings and is naturally mulched by organic wheat straw. We are really excited to see how the grass grows back next spring.
The freezers in the Barn Stand have been filled since mid-summer with grass-fed lamb and beef, and recently with some pastured pork. We were delighted to see so many familiar friendly faces at the Lopez Farmers Market this year, and are equally thrilled to start selling on our local San Juan Islands Food Hub. We continue to move our herds and build soil every day, and we remain grateful for our choice of work, work that regenerates the land and that results in the most nutritious meat for our community. Thanks to each and every person who has supported us during this rough year!
Lopez Farms on Film
This summer, John Roulac and Geoffrey Schaff spent a day filming on Lopez. John is one of the producers of Kiss the Ground and Geoff is a film maker. They are producing a short piece about the Farm Fund, and local food production methods. They especially focused on regenerative agriculture, herd management, and grain production/milling. During the course of the day they filmed at Barn Owl Bakery, Midnight’s Farm, Stonecrest Farm, North Star Farm, Island Grist, and Taproot. At Stonecrest, Meike & Mike took the crew over to their herd that was grazing off of Mud Bay Road to give a first-hand look at how holistic management is building back the pastures even in the midst of a serious drought. Ande Finley, who helped coordinate the day said that the Stonecrest Farm operation “was very impressive!”
Heritage Barn Register
The Barn at Stonecrest Farm is now listed on the Washington Heritage Barn Register! The certificate arrived this week in the mail. With this recognition, LCLT, in collaboration with Mike and Meike were able to apply for the Heritage Barn Grant to do much needed barn renovations.
Welcome Lena & Andrew Jones!
Lopez Community Land Trust is pleased to announce that Andrew and Lena Jones have been selected through a competitive process for a long-term lease at Lopez Sound Farm and Forest Preserve! We are excited to welcome Lena, Andrew, and their family to Lopez Island. Lena grew up in Bellingham, while Andrew hails from generations of dairy, mushroom and crop farmers in Pennsylvania. He is a trained welder, metal fabricator, and electrician, with experience building microbrewery grain mills, apple processing equipment, and farm machinery. Lena has a Master’s degree in writing and a background in publicity, marketing, teaching, and non-profit work. Together, they have a wide range of farming experience, as well as a team of advisors to draw on from.
Lena and Andrew have been spending weekends on the farm, getting to know the land, and beginning to contemplate building the farm. Already, LCLT has installed a well head, improved the driveway, and helped Andrew and Lena set up temporary housing. Next, we are working towards setting up the septic system.
New Storage Shed
land and increasing food security on Lopez Island. They are currently exploring the viability of perennial fruit and nut trees and annual staple crops such as oats, beans and edible seeds on the farm. They anticipate drawing from regenerative organic principles, permaculture systems, ecological landscape design and agroforestry traditions to improve soil health and sequester carbon.
Lena and Andrew will spend this first year getting to know the land and planning the farm while they settle in on Lopez. We hope you have the opportunity to meet them and welcome their family to our Island community.
The long-term farm lease is possible through the LCLT program called Lopez Island Farm Trust. Learn more about the LIFT program here.
A&A Well Drilling pouring concrete to re-enforce the original well walls
Successful Harvest – 2021 Grain CSA
Spring Wheat Growing
Photo courtesy of Karla Lillestol
28 people participated in Community Supported Agriculture, purchasing a total of 40 shares of 20lbs of wheat at the beginning of the growing season. Despite the summer drought, there was a good harvest of island-grown Fortuna hard red wheat. In late September, 80 pounds of wheat were distributed across the community to those that participated in the CSA. The grain was grown and processed by Steve and Karla Lillestol who operate Island Grist, in their 19th century mill.
Kelsey Knutson, Steve’s daughter, visiting from Juneau (and 7 months pregnant!). The tractor is driving the belt that provides power for the thresher. Photo by Karla Lillestol.
Award Winning Cottages
In July, the U.S. Department of Energy selected the Salish Way Cottages from the Lopez Community Land Trust as a 2021 Housing Innovation Award winner, in the Affordable Category. The cottages at Salish Way are Zero Energy Ready Homes, meaning they are capable of producing as much energy (from solar power) as homeowners use. This award demonstrates LCLT’s commitment to addressing global climate change.
In 2008, LCLT committed to building net zero housing with Common Ground, and Salish Way provides one more example of our work in doing so. The cottages are each 684 square feet in size, and total cost was $250,000 to build ($130,000 for construction and $70,000 for infrastructure). They feature Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) chosen to accommodate social distancing; air sealing characteristics; whole house ventilation with opening windows; high efficiency windows; high efficiency induction kitchen ranges; Mitsubishi Air-to-Air Heat Pump for indoor heating; LED CFL lighting; and Douglas Fir milled on site for reverse board and batten siding.
Welcome Little Logan!
Congrats to new parents, and LCLT residents, Buck and Jillian!
In September, Sandy spoke at the International Community Land Trust Festival, where LCLT represented the USA! Hosted online by the Center for CLT Innovation and Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities (funded by the European Union). The event was simultaneously translated from English to French and Spanish. Other panelists were from Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. Sandy was chosen because the representative from Berlin had visited LCLT 30 years ago. The visit made a strong impression and he has followed our work ever since.
In August, Rhea Miller and Breton Carter were interviewed by Will and Claire of the Co-op Trail. Will and Claire are creating a regenerative travel community, learning about co-operatives as they ride their solar-powered e-bikes throughout the Pacific Northwest. They stopped at LCLT and made a video about our work! Click play above to watch the video, and learn more about the Co-op Trail at cooptrail.org or follow them on Instagram here.
Lopez Community Land Trust is part of the global community land trust movement. On October 29 , we invite you to join us in recognizing the good land reform work of CLT’s across the globe.
Like CLTs everywhere, LCLT ensures land is preserved for uses that benefit the community – sustainable housing and agriculture, cooperatives and ecological land practices. We do this while acknowledging that we are on the traditional and ancestral territory of Coast Salish peoples.
LCLT currently leases land to six housing cooperatives and two farms. This ensures long term security and affordability. In addition to land leases, LCLT also manages rental housing.
To join in the celebration, simply post on Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag “#worldcltday”Click here to add your own text
Every once in awhile a person enters our sphere and changes the trajectory of where we are headed. Linda Bartolucci was one of those people. She was a carpenter and moved to Lopez from the Bay Area in 1993. She helped LCLT with design elements of Coho and then proceeded to show up on the job site and volunteer every week. Almost 15 years later she and her family made a home at Coho. Many of you knew Linda as one of our beloved physical therapists who raised two daughters on the island. This past weekend we celebrated the life of Linda and shared many memories of this smart, talented, compassionate, politically savvy woman with a great sense of humor. Presente Linda
November 8, 1957 – September 20, 2019.
Board of Directors
Anne Hall Chair, Terri Drahn Vice Chair, Chom Greacen Secretary, Chaz Ott Treasurer, Marvin Peterson, Corky Searls and Q Williams
Sandy Bishop Executive Director, Breton Carter Assistant Director, Marly Schmidtke Project Coordinator & Administrative Assistant, Rhea Miller Community Liaison
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Lopez Island, WA 98261
Phone: (360) 468-3723
Fax: (360) 468-3724