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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Year of Plenty

Summer 2009 Wildflower Project

One experience from our Year of Plenty has been that sometimes when you decide to do something unlikely and audacious, you actually do it and it's wonderfully fruitful. It wasn't just the decision to consume local for a year. It was all of the smaller big decisions like taking our insurance money from the car and buying $4,000 worth of plane tickets to Thailand and starting a blog and tearing out the lawn and putting in a labyrinth. This year we bought some chickens, built a coop and even ended up on the chicken coop version of the Street of Dreams. Sometimes you say you'll do something bold and challenging and it works out.

Another contrasting experience is that sometimes you make a bold statement of action and intent and things don't work out. The realities of time and energy and resources conspire against its fulfillment. We said we would do a field trip to every local producer during the year and that didn't work out. We said we'd buy coffee from Thailand, but ended up settling for Thomas Hammer and Craven's. I said we'd facilitate an Eat Local Challenge in September 2008 and I didn't have time to pull it together. I said we'd get a Community Garden going in the West Valley this summer and it didn't quite come together. (I had trouble getting my own garden planted.)

So I'm aware of the tension between these two experiences as Lily, Noel and I embark on a project of chronicling the wildflowers of the Inland Northwest as our summer adventure. We'd like to take some nice pictures of each flower and put them in a journal and also start a blog on wildflowers. And it may not work out. The kids may get bored with it. I may get sidetracked. It may not be realistic. Who knows? Regardless of the result, it's worth the risk of stepping out in hopefulness. The enduring lesson from our year is that sometimes things do work out in a series of wonderful serendipities that rekindle joy and wonder.

Besides, when they don't work out there's always next year. I haven't given up on the eat local challenge. The folks at Community Minded Enterprises are already on the ball with a bunch of other activities in September that will fit well with something like the Eat Local Challenge. And the community garden in Pasadena Park is still on the long term agenda.

Does anyone know the identity of the flower pictured above. The leaves are oval when fully bloom. I'm think some kind of Forget Me Not or Phlox.

Year of Plenty

The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle the experiences of his family as they sought to consume everything local, used, homegrown or homemade. That journey was a wonderful introduction to people and movements in the Spokane area who are seeking the welfare of the community through local foods, farmers markets, community gardens, sustainable transportation, and more fulfilling and just patterns of consumption. In 2009 and beyond the blog will continue to report on these relationships and practices, all through the eyes of a family with young children. Craig manages the Millwood Farmers' Market, is a Master Food Preserver and Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church. Craig can be reached at