Everyone loves a good road-trip, but we could all do without the discomfort, the amount of gas it takes and the other burdens that accompany the adventure. Philip Jankoski, Executive Director of Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center, has set out on a different kind of road trip. Dubbed the “Argosy Odyssey,” Jankoski will be pulling an Airstream Argosy trailer decked out with solar panels, a solar generator, an odorless composting toilet and reclaimed flooring throughout California.
Partnering with Body Travel Supply, Trailermade and a host of sponsors, the Argosy will stop at over 30 cities and communities across California from March 19th to mid-April to invite people to hang out inside the retro-vintage trailer, learn about Blue Sky’s mission and vision, and support new programs and initiatives.
What is Blue Sky?
Located in the remote, high desert region of the Cuyama Valley, the Blue Sky Center is designed as a transformative hub and incubator for environmental and social visionaries and entrepreneurs. The center sits on 330 acres of alluvial farmland, 25 acres of mixed industrial space, 4,000 feet of private runway, and contains 22,000 square feet of existing
It is ironic and suiting that the land where Blue Sky Center sits was once the headquarters of Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO)—the renovation of this space into a sustainable community embodies a paradigm shift that Blue Sky Center seeks to exemplify and spread.
Blue Sky is working to assemble and support a diverse community of environmental and social visionaries – including farmers, architects, builders, inventors, and educators – to tackle a wide range of issue areas from regenerative agriculture to community-centric enterprises.
Bounded by the breathtaking Sierra Madre and Caliente mountain ranges, Blue Sky is ripe to become a destination location for those interested in participating, contributing and learning about innovative solutions to our most vexing environmental and social problems.
Jankoski notes, “the crazy idea that if you ‘repurpose’ it, they will come, is catching on as people are increasingly searching for meaning and fulfillment with their work.” Jankoski elaborates, “places like New Cuyama are dotted all across the United States, as rural communities have been hollowed out by boom-and-bust, extractive industries over the years. ARCO provided high paying jobs and a good quality of life for a time – then they left for the North Slope of Alaska.”
Industrial agriculture now threatens the finite groundwater resources of the valley while the product and jobs are exported to other regions. “It’s ironic with all the [mostly organic] food production in the valley, Cuyama is the definition of a food desert – with the only produce offered at the local liquor store”, Jankoski remarks.
“Blue Sky’s mission is to host and support a diverse community of environmental and social visionaries who work together to improve the local economy, ecology, and community.”
While still in it’s early stages, Blue Sky plans to invite and partner with individuals, ventures, and programs that align with their mission and vision to come, stay, and contribute to the resurgence of this community. Blue Sky plans to host events to build momentum and connections, eventually building capacity for 2-4 day workshops and retreats, as well as 6-8 month residency programs. There are also plans to have more permanent tenants and residents that will anchor the facility long term.
Blue Sky has already been working to become a pillar of the community again, offering in-kind use of the shop space to local residents, providing and nurturing a community garden space, reopening the runway, and hiring locally for day-to-day projects. Most recently, Blue Sky has partnered with Brody Travel Supply to move their operations up to New Cuyama and work exclusively out of the shop and is in discussion with two other ventures that align with Blue Sky’s mission of environmental and social consciousness.
Blue Sky has also begun to collaborate with local and regional partners on plans for flagship regenerative demonstration and research farm. The motivation behind the farm is to showcase and export emerging practices and technologies in regenerative agriculture and to establish the access to healthy, affordable, nutritious, organic food.
Coastin’ through California
At each city on its list, Blue Sky will park the Argosy in a central area such as farmer’s markets, farm stands, breweries, wineries, town centers and colleges. Visitors can tour the Argosy and hang out inside. They can snap photos with friends in the photo booth inside, strum the acoustic guitar, enter themselves into the tour raffle, read about the Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center, check out photos from the tour and learn about sustainable living on wheels. The raffle will also feature donations and fun giveaways from outdoor lifestyle companies including Prospect Roasters, Santa Barbara Organic Pistachio Co, Health-Ade Kombucha, Nomad, Goal Zero, Patagonia, Iron and Resin, and more. At the end of the tour, the Argosy will be featured at Santa Barbara’s Earth Day in Alameda Park where the winner of the raffle will be chosen.
Blue Sky’s predominant goal for the tour is to increase the visibility of their big mission and vision and serve as a way to connect with passionate people that have the skills, mindset and abilities to make a positive impact for the planet. The tour also aims to inspire people to make conscious and positive lifestyle changes through the demonstration of tangible solutions. Jankoski aspires to bring Cuyama and Blue Sky out into the world, and hopes that this is the first of many tours highlighting their work in the high desert. Funds from this tour will be rolled into the developing plans for the regenerative farm, community centric enterprises, and educational workshops.
Take a turn down a greener road
Join Blue Sky and become part of the vision of creating a dynamic community that promotes the creative process and personal transformation, leading to a better community and planet. What direction will your choices take you in your road-trip through life? Let’s come together and make conscious efforts to better our world through sustainable living practices. These simple, yet meaningful changes we can take in our everyday lives can lead us towards a brighter and greener road.
Finding the Argosy and Climbing Aboard
The Argosy Odyssey kicks off with events at Municipal Winemakers in Santa Barbara on March 16 from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM, M-Special Brewery in Goleta on March 18 from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, and Iron & Resin in Ventura from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
The tour will continue on up the Central Coast to Northern California and will loop down the Central Valley linking up with the coast again.
Jankoski and his travel partner – Josh Toedt the founder and CEO of Trailermade will be posting their journey using the hashtag #argosyodyssey and will announce new stops via the Blue Sky and Trailermade instagram accounts – @blueskycenter and @trailermade.co.
Enter for a chance to win the Argosy for as little as $20 and support innovative changemakers in the high-desert!