Life Outside Spring 2018 - 41

Loyola University.
However, after three years
of "being owned by college
athletics," Blosser quit and,
with his wife, Joy, cut out
for Hawaii. There, they lived
in a tiny apartment, surfed
every day, and got deep into
literature. Soon enough,
Blosser enrolled in the
University of Hawaii's creative
writing program and began to
pursue a Master of Fine Arts
degree.
"By that point, in terms of
reading, I was so far behind,"
he says. "I drew up a plan and
approached the life of the
mind like an athlete. I went
full-in."
First, Blosser's obsession
led him to the Beatniks. Then
to the countercultural writers

places in the world," says Blosser. "Our parents were
there, so we'd have a support system. And land was
cheap. I thought, man, wouldn't it be cool to bring
permaculture to that region?"
In pursuit of the fledgling notion, Blosser
typed a quick Google search: Shenandoah Valley
Permaculture. Up popped Polyface Farms, owned
by none other than Joel Salatin, a farmer who
would, in 2006, be made famous by Michael Pollan's
blockbuster best-seller, "The Omnivore's Dilemma."
I saw what they were doing there and thought, by
god, this can work," says Blosser.
Within five months of that fortuitous search,
the couple had moved 5,000 miles, found the land
that Dancing Star now rests upon, and purchased
their soon-to-be farm.
IN THE 11 YEARS after moving from Hawaii much

has happened. Initially, as the couple got acclimated,
Blosser earned a living as an in-home counselor.
Meanwhile, he worked on setting the groundwork
for Dancing Star-developing infrastructure, getting
the house together, rebuilding the soil, clearing
garden plots and so on.
Then, in early 2011, he took a
position as executive director of
Project GROWS, a nascent nonprofit based in Staunton. At the
time, the organization was little
more than a plot of land owned
by a board of dreamers hoping
to provide children, community
members and aspiring farmers a
place to learn about sustainable
techniques and practices. But after five years at
the helm, Blosser had transformed GROWS into
a fiscally self-sustaining, 10-acre farm producing
farmers' market-worthy goods, with a Community
Supported Agriculture platform, and an outreach
program teaching kids from all over Augusta County
direct, hands-on gardening skills.
While he loved the work, in January of 2016,
Blosser left GROWS to run Dancing Star full-time.
"I gave up my passion to pursue my dream," he
says. "Here, we're creating a model that we hope will
inspire everyone involved to live a more ecologically
conscious lifestyle. We want to supply healthy,
sustainable whole foods, connecting community
members to the land and farmers to the community.
Everybody wins."
When asked about the future of DSF, Blosser
grins: "While it might sound absurd, I know I'm
building something that will outlast me. It's true,
because I simply refuse to fail. I will run through a
brick wall to make this work."
For more information or to purchase a CSA
share, call 302-519-8272, or visit facebook.com/
DancingStarFarms.

"...We want to supply healthy, sustainable
whole foods, connecting community members
to the land and farmers to the community.
Everybody wins." -Ryan Blosser
of the '60s and '70s. At that point, something
unforeseen happened. In discovering the books of
agricultural innovator, Bill Mollison, he fell in love.
"He was the guy who coined the term
'permaculture,' which is the philosophy our farm
seeks to exemplify," says Blosser, who is himself the
founder of the Shenandoah Permacultural Institute.
"It was like a lightning bolt struck my heart: I knew
I wanted to be a farmer."
Blosser defines farming 'permaculture' as a
systematic way of thinking aimed at designing
a system that functions as a healthy ecosystem.
Derived from principles gleaned from the close
observation of nature, the method strives to reduce
labor and capital investments while increasing
yields, allowing practitioners to place less demands
on the environment while simultaneously meeting
their needs.
Be that as it may, around the time of Blosser's
epiphany, he and Joy got pregnant. In anticipation
of the birth of their first child, they decided to leave
Hawaii. Only, where would they go?
"We both grew up in the Shenandoah Valley
and considered it to be one of the most beautiful

Q

LifeOutsideMag.com // Spring 2018

41


http://www.LifeOutsideMag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Spring 2018

Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover1
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover2
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 3
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 4
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 5
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 6
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 7
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 8
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 9
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 10
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 11
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 12
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 13
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 14
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 15
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 16
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 17
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 18
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 19
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 20
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 21
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 22
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 23
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 24
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 25
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 26
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 27
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 28
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 29
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 30
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 31
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Life Outside Spring 2018 - 33
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Life Outside Spring 2018 - 35
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 36
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 37
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 38
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 39
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 40
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 41
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 42
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover3
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover4
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