My name is Chrys Ostrander. Welcome to my new blog. Back in October, 2013, I returned here to my 4-acre homestead and micro-permaculture farm after being gone for four years (see the “About page” for details). It’s a bit tumbledown right now, but the Chinook we are experiencing today (otherwise known as a January thaw) is reminding me that soon I’ll need to pull away from the computer, which is situated only a couple of feet from my warm woodstove (and the tool of my trade right now as a freelance web designer). Soon I’ll be busy with spring cleaning and getting the grounds and out-buildings ready for what I hope will be a fun and productive growing season. My intention with this blog is to document my own progress in that regard as well as to gather and disseminate ( a good word for a farmer to use) useful and thought-provoking information about our growing food revolution. To me it seems that if we are to have a viable revolution in this country (and I do believe it is imperative that we do), the local, sustainable, organic, slow, permaculture, non-GMO, non-industrial, small-scale food movement is a prime vehicle for bringing about deep, radical and lasting change. I hope my blog will become one of many small tributaries that are feeding into the larger river of progressive change that we see happening globally (despite all the horrendous and bloody back-sliding we are also witnessing on this troubled, tiny planet). Some day soon, this river will become a torrent of whitewater blasting away at the rocky impediments of heartless capitalism, eco-cide, oppression, inequality, racism, misogyny, warfare, child abuse, corporatism and oligarchy so that when the waters finally recede, a landscape is revealed which will be dotted with gardens and communities of loving people creating a future for their children that is bright and hopeful, green, abundant and peaceful.
So much to do.
I’m launching this blog on a day when later I’ll be headed into Spokane to meet with forward-looking folks to talk about how to better develop small-scale, decentralized urban agriculture in the Spokane region. Two days ago I sat in on another meeting of folks working on forming a Food Policy Council for the Spokane region. The day before yesterday, the Governor of the State of Maine (where I lived in the late ’70’s) signed into law the nation’s second statewide GMO labeling law. Maine is also the place where in the past couple of years small-scale farmers and their allies in their local communities have been at the vanguard of defiant food producers and eaters around the country who are pushing back at corporate-sponsored food regulations that cripple the ability of small-scale food producers to feed their local communities, their neighbors and each other. They have passed local ordinances declaring that federal and state regulations designed to make cost prohibitive the engagement in commerce of small, local, safety-minded food producers, do not apply to local producers who are feeding their local communities. We are taking back our right as human beings to feed each other– a right that predates by centuries even the establishment of centralized government. A right that is becoming known as Food Sovereignty.
I am seeing dramatic growth locally in this true food movement. I’ve watched the Spokane area (where much of my organizing efforts and produce marketing has been focused) evolve from one in the early ’90’s where customers at my produce stand (at Spokane’s only farmers market at the time) had never seen red leaf lettuce to one where small farms and community gardens are proliferating, farmers markets are popping up in more and more neighborhoods, organizations like Project Hope, the Vinegar Flats Community Garden, Spokane Permaculture, the Spokane Edible Tree Project are engaging the community in sustainable, small-scale food production and making fresh, healthy, local, non-corporate food available to Spokane residents of all incomes.
My plan is to use this blog to chronicle this evolution as it happens on this piece of ground where I live, in my immediate community, in my watershed and in my bio-region. I also hope to utilize my new email distribution list to augment the blog (please sign up if you want, it’s to the right in the sidebar or below in the footer). I have grown increasingly frustrated with Facebook as a tool for social change since it has lost its way morally, gone to bed with the NSA and filters content to the point that I cannot be certain I am reaching even a fragment of the hundreds of folks I am Facebook friends with.
So this is my first foray. This website will keep developing (already the Resources page is out-dated, having been imported from my old thefutureisorganic.net website). Please let me know if you find it beneficial.