The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle his family's year of consuming 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. It also has led to national and international engagement with these issues which includes a book, speaking engagements, and nonprofit leadership roles.
YoP continues to be Craig's primary outlet for writing about these themes and more. His efforts currently revolve around the Tables of Plenty project with the help of a grant from the Louisville Institute.
Craig is Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church and serves on the board of directors of Plant With Purpose and Second Harvest Inland Northwest. He has a Doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary and is an avid photographer.
On October 4 2013 Craig was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Along with posts related to cancer on the blog you can find out more at his Caring Bridge site.
Below is the way we described the blog going into 2008:
We are a family in Spokane, Washington engaged in a year long experiment in consumption. This blog is an attempt to chronicle what we are learning along the way.
Our Basic Rules of Consumption:
• Buy used products.
- Preferably from one household to another
• Make the product or grow the food item.
- Raw materials should preferably be local
- There is some flexibility with the sourcing of raw materials necessary to make the finished product
• Buy from a local producer, manufacturer or grower.
- Local is defined as generally coming from Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
- In order to be a qualified manufacturer or grower we must as a family visit/tour the location of manufacturing and meet the people who are making the goods at least once during the year. We will do our best to learn about their way of life, hopes, dreams, and challenges.
- This means that there are some products and food items that will be limited seasonally or not available at all.
• Buy products from producers/growers/manufacturers in an international region that is selected by the family based on the strategic nature of the products available, the needs of the people, and the practicality of visiting as a family.
- Throughout the year we will learn about the region and the people who live there, their way of life, the economics of their lives, and how our consumption impacts them positively and negatively.
- We will make a trip as a family to this region at the end of the year to meet the people that have been making the products and growing them.
- We will adopt a project to support in that community that will better the lives the people – for example, providing water, assisting addressing local public health need, or a mission partnership.
We chose Thailand as our international link.
• We’re allowed to use everything that is in the house and yard as of the beginning of January 1, 2008.
• We will do our best to minimize the consumption of electricity, water, and fuel.
• We will seek to minimize waste products going to the dump by composting everything possible and recycling everything possible.
• We will dine out only at local restaurants and coffee shops. No large national or regional chain establishments.
• When eating with others at a party or public event there is flexibility.
• Step back from the massive consuming passions around us that lead us to want the new and the next thing. We find that too often we are led to believe that our hope and joy can be found in these items.
• Minimize contribution to the cultural assumption that all things are disposable, and that once they have lost the shine of newness they have outlived their usefulness.
• To valuate things in ways other than dollars. To form a new economy of consumable goods in our lives anchored in caring relationships with people we know.
• To integrate our lives and find more joy in the everyday.
• To better shape and raise our children as children of the Kingdom of God.