LCLT Staff and Board Members with Governor Jay Inslee, State Representative Alex Ramel, Councilmember Jane Fuller, and EDC Board Member Barbara Thomas

Director’s Report

By Sandy Bishop

“Today is one hundred times more important than tomorrow on what we actually need to do to solve this problem.”

— Governor Inslee at the UN General Assembly during Climate Week NYC 2023

Governor Jay Inslee’s staff contacted LCLT in late summer and suggested the Governor tour some of LCLT co-op housing developments. The Governor, staff and detail arrived on Tuesday, September 26 where he was greeted by co-op homeowners in Common Ground and Salish Way. We shared some trail cookies from Barn Owl Bakery (which we learned were a favorite), some local apples and pears and then took off for a walking tour around the site. Both Julia Rogers (owner of Isabel’s Espresso) and Mehgan Alexandra (Spencer Spit State Park ranger) invited the Governor in for a closer look. He was very attentive and engaged, asking relevant questions. He was visibly stunned by the extent of the housing crisis on Lopez when looking at a set of statistics. At one point he said that he wanted to replicate the style of siding on the Salish Way homes.  When Rhea Miller, LCLT Community Liaison, explained that the siding was milled on site from the trees removed to make way for the homes, he appeared even more interested.

Governor Inslee and Spencer Spit State Park Ranger Mehgan Alexandra at her Salish Way home

In 2008, when I had been studying the global climate change impacts, I was inspired by the response of many people, including Bill McKibben and Bill McDonough. It was clear then, and clearer now, that, in tough times, it is those with the least who tend to suffer the most from catastrophic economic and environmental events. From that day forward I was determined that new housing developed by LCLT would model environmental resiliency and lower household operating costs to protect homeowners from an increasingly volatile world. That vision has played out and coincides with Governor Inslee’s policies protecting state residents from adverse effects of global climate change. It was one of his defining issues when he ran for President in 2020. He is a champion for change right now for the sake of our children’s future. He appreciated that we had read his 2023 address to the UN Summit on Climate in NYC a few weeks earlier and taken them to heart.

When introduced to LCLT’s electric carshare program and installation of electric chargers in our various neighborhoods, the Governor stopped his tour and filmed a video spot right there to extol the merits of such a program. One co-op member stopped the Governor to tell him he had done work on his late father’s home on Flat Point and another commented on her family connection to the Governor’s mother. Fair to say that Governor Inslee has deep roots on Lopez Island.

Governor Inslee and Isabel’s Espresso owner Julia Rogers at her Salish Way home

LCLT continues to receive recognition for building green net zero energy housing. All of us present for the tour — Board members, staff, homeowners, and invited guest Councilmember Jane Fuller, — were proud to share our part of a Lopez community solution and receive such a receptive ear from the Governor. Access to affordable housing and a healthy resilient environment are equally important.  As the Governor said, “Today is one hundred times more important than tomorrow on what we actually need to do to solve this problem.”

Fisherman Bay Curve — Earthwork Started!

If you’ve recently driven by Fisherman Bay Curve, our next permanently affordable housing development, you may have seen some action. Clearing and grading permits were approved by San Juan County on September 12. LCLT put out a Request for Qualifications and selected Lopez Dirt Doctors, Buck Batway and Risto Turunen, for earthwork. We are excited to begin developing six new permanently affordable homes on the site! Please be mindful that trails are closed until after construction, when they will be re-routed.

LCLT Stewardship Circle

Operating a land-based nonprofit with a multi-generational commitment to stewardship necessitates long term thinking. Securing a steady stream of income, in addition to our lease fees and rents, is crucial for organizational stability. Stewardship Circle members are donors who form an intentional community of support around the work of LCLT.

2023 Stewardship Circle gifts will go towards capital projects, reserves, loan payments, and operations. We are deeply grateful for your vision and commitment.

If you’d like to learn the details of the Stewardship Circle, contact
Sandy Bishop at

Current capital projects include six permanently affordable homes at Fisherman Bay Curve (L) and
ag-based rental housing at Lopez Sound Road (R).

Still Light Farm

Update & Photos by Lena Jones

‘Black Valentine’ Beans in the Field

What a feeling as we begin wrapping up our first growing season. There was a point, right around mid-July, where I looked around the green field, the plants filling out and starting to flower, and thought, all right, this is going to work out. There were a lot of unknowns going into this summer: a new field, new-to-us varieties, an unproven water system, and the usual variables of farming. But it went! Plants grew, they flowered, the insects showed up in great numbers, the irrigation system failed and was redone and worked, and the fruits and seeds filled out. We harvested beans and oats right before our first week of rain, filling the entire hoophouse with plants in various stages of dry down, scrounging tables out of scrap materials and from friends. After some rain, the weather turned in our favor and everything began to dry beautifully.

Beans Drying in the Hoop House

We’ve been taking great joy in our first bean cleaning season, jumping on the dry pods in bins to thresh out the seeds, winnowing with a box fan here at the farm, and sorting through the clean beans. They’re beautiful, so different. As we harvested, we got to know each of the bean varieties (thirty-four in all) and their different growth habits. Some are half-vining, reaching across the row to tangle with each other. Some hold their pods up high, with strong, wiry stems, while others grow clustered low to the ground. Plants mature all at once, or across a few weeks; they drop all their leaves early, or not for a long while. These characteristics make the beans easier or harder to harvest, make them more or less prone to diseases, and make them dry down more quickly, or not. We’re noting these traits, along with their vigor and yield, and now, as we sort through the beans, we’re also noting how likely they are to split or produce off-types. All of this pales, however, when we consider the most important criteria: flavor! Last night we cooked up our first batch of farm-grown beans with our personal favorite this season: King City Pink. Beautiful beans, prolific, healthy plants, and delicious as well. Sweet, soft but holds their shape, a perfect all-around bean. One of the kids ate four bowls, a true testament.

‘King City Pink’ beans

It’s not all beans here. We have pumpkins still in the field, taking all the late-season sun they can get before coming in. We’ve been steadily sowing overwintered crops, trialing everything we think might make it through the cold season: oats, lentils, chickpeas, favas, peas, chamomile, calendula. We went a bit rogue and planted ten beds of purple sprouting broccoli, which has grown gorgeously. Hopefully everyone will be hungry and looking for their anthocyanins this winter. We’re also mixing up and seeding one of our favorites: cover crops! This past weekend we planted five acres in a rambunctious mix of clovers, brassicas, cereals, legumes, herbs, and flowers. That land will stay in this cover crop over the next few years as we slowly rotate a half-acre or so out each year for cash crops. Come next year, it should be a glorious spot to watch the insects buzz all summer and the birds swoop through all fall.

We’re on the cusp of a slower time and our heads are full of the notes we’ve made all season. Much to think over, study, process and plan for. We’re not there yet, though! We’ve got beans to dance on, seeds to sow, and the last of the season’s harvest to bring in before our rest time. Stay tuned for pop-up bean sales this fall and look for our purple sprouting broccoli on the Food Hub this winter.

LCLT Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development


By Breton Carter, LCLT Assistant Director

Owen Gammill by trials beans planted in garden beds he formed at the start of his internship

Owen’s internship with LCLT started and ended the same way: forming garden beds at Still Light Farm. He formed beds in the first week that he later planted, and he formed beds before leaving that will be planted this fall. Owen was introduced to Lena and Andrew at Still Light Farm in early June when he started his internship. Two months later, in mid-August, he walked me through the vastly changed farm.

Newly Formed Garden Beds at Still Light Farm

These early stages of establishing a farm were right in line with Owen’s interest, “I would like to learn how to start a farm, what the process looks like, and how to problem solve while building up the farm. My goal one day is to have a farm of my own — perhaps on Lopez!”

He did a little bit of everything alongside Lena and Andrew, including listening to how they made decisions. Whether it was changing the irrigation system, designing, and building a new worm bin, making and planting seed mixes, turning compost, or driving the tractor, each step along the way, Lena and Andrew explained their process and asked for input.

As the internship was wrapping up I asked Owen what had been the greatest challenge, he said that “it’s been more fun than anything! The farming itself presents challenges, but the constant problem solving, organizing, and planning is part of the fun.”

Flowering Purple Quinoa

We continued walking around the farm, past blooming quinoa flowers, perennial spinach, trial rows of garbanzo beans, quinoa, corn, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. As we walked on clover sown between rows, Owen pointed out which plants were direct seeded, and the many that were transplanted from the green house. He stopped to lean over and look at beans he had transplanted exclaiming, “I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten!”

Owen Checking on Cherry Tomatoes

Owen recognizes that farming on Lopez can sometimes be glorified, when it’s really a lot of tough work. At the beginning of the internship “I was exhausted every day, but it was a good kind of exhaustion. It took some time for my body to adjust, but I felt good, as working to grow food is really meaningful.”

The impacts from Owen’s time on the farm will be seen for years to come. Lena and Andrew are practicing mostly no-till farming with minimal soil disruption. That means that this year the soil is disturbed to form the beds, but the beds will be permanent and not disturbed in the future. He has been part of laying the groundwork of the farm and got to see firsthand all it takes to establish a new farm. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store for him. Thanks Owen!

2024 Internship Program – Housing Needed

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Owen was our first intern since 2019. In 2024 LCLT will formally re-start our internship program. Our internship program can only happen if we have local hosts. If you have a spare room, a guest space, or outdoor living area and are interested in hosting an intern, please send a message to Breton at

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Training

This summer, LCLT staff, board and volunteers participated in a five-part Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) training series with Quaniqua Williams (far right). Quaniqua guided the group through deep and meaningful conversation that was built on a foundation of trust. She is a skilled facilitator and we are incredibly appreciative of her leadership. Quaniqua is also a Salish Way resident and LCLT board chair.

Habitat Restoration for the Endangered
Island Marble Butterfly

Walt Andrews with Cascades Montessori Middle School teachers Kelly and Lauren

At the end of September, Walt Andrews of the San Juan Islands Conservation District led a group of volunteers from the Cascades Montessori Middle School to prepare the ground and establish habitat for the endangered island marble butterfly on LCLT property. Sixteen middle school students came from Bellingham to help prepare the plot and move soil. In the process, one student found a praying mantis (and made the astute comment they thought it really should be a preying mantis). All in all, they were enthusiastic and excited to spend the day outside on Lopez.

The habitat restoration plot is part of a larger effort to help reintroduce the island marble butterfly to Lopez. The butterfly has been extirpated from the island since at least 2013, but still has a presence on San Juan Island. In addition to the Conservation District, the habitat restoration is part of state and federal recovery efforts in collaboration with both Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You can learn more about the effort and how to get involved at the Conservation District site, or by visiting the island marble butterfly hub.

Many thanks to all involved!

Butterfly Habitat Ready to be Planted with field mustard Brissica rapa

Want to Participate More with LCLT?
Become a Member!

LCLT is a membership agency dedicated to unleashing the power of community. For over 30 years, members have helped set the course for building and land opportunities on Lopez. As we look forward to the future, we celebrate LCLT members for all that we’ve accomplished together. Help us keep working farms and affordable homeownership opportunities on Lopez.

We are deeply grateful for all contributions to LCLT, from volunteering time or materials, to financial gifts, your support makes our work possible. Thank you.

Top Reasons to be a LCLT Member:

  • Experience the satisfaction of being part of an organization that is making a positive impact in the lives of many Lopezians.
  • Public and Private funders require LCLT to demonstrate strong local support – your membership means more funding for housing and agricultural programs on Lopez!
  • Support working farms on Lopez.
  • Receive first notice of community meetings and special events.
  • Become entitled to nominate and vote at LCLT’s Annual Meeting.
  • Stay up to date with all things LCLT via our newsletters.

How to become a Member? Simply make a donation to LCLT!

If you’d like to be more involved, learn about the three different types of LCLT membership:

Friends are those who financially or otherwise support the Land Trust but are not General Members or Leasehold Members

General Members are those who are 18+, have made a donation to LCLT in the past 12 months, have attended the previous annual meeting or a membership meeting, and demonstrated support of LCLT.

Leaseholder Members all LCLT leaseholders are automatically LCLT members.

General and Leaseholder members both help make decisions during our annual meeting. If you’re interested in becoming a board member or becoming more involved in LCLT, we encourage you to become a general member.

County Adopts 1/10th of 1% Sales Tax for
Local Affordable Housing

On October 5th, San Juan County adopted the 1/10th of 1% Sales Tax for Affordable Housing and related services. These funds can be used to subsidize construction costs for eligible affordable housing projects, and to support Community Resource Centers’ staff capacity for housing insecure islanders. The new funds will be incorporated into the County’s existing Home Fund program. To date, the Home Fund has contributed to the construction or preservation of 101 affordable housing units in the County. To learn more about the new sales tax, visit San Juan County Health & Community Services.

Happy Birthday Karan!

Karan Yvonne and Marv Peterson, at their home in Common Ground.
“We’re happy to be Lopez octogenarians aging in paradise.”

Board of Directors

Quaniqua Williams Chair, Corky Searls Vice Chair, Mark Eames, Secretary,
Jan Marshall Treasurer, Chom Greacen and Luis Cisneros.


Sandy Bishop Executive Director, Breton Carter Assistant Director,
Marly Schmidtke Administrative & Project Director, Rhea Miller Community Liaison