Family: Husband, Jim and eight children: Bonnie, Jimmy, John, Lori, Charity, Amy, Chuck and Matt
In town: Lois is a substitute teacher for Spokane Middle School. Before substituting, she taught fulltime in the district for 12 years. Lois is also a foster parent and she teaches STARS Beginning Foster Parent classes for people just entering foster care. On the side, Lois sells her handmade soaps and body creams through Devo’s Olive Oil in Branson, Mo., and her son Jimmy’s Copper Run Distillery.
In the country: Lois and her husband, Jim, live on a self-sustaining farm located in Walnut Shade, Mo., in Taney County. Their farm has been in the family since the 1950s and was originally owned by Jim’s grandparents, who were Walnut Shade natives. The Blansits’ bought the land in 1977 and began to turn it into their dream farm. Today, Lois has a large organic garden that produces much of the family’s food. Her flock of 22 hens, two roosters and 17 pullets provides eggs and meat. Five horses, four of which are registered Missouri Fox Trotters, also reside on the Blansit farm. When she is not tending to her garden, livestock or foster kids, Lois keeps busy preserving food, sewing and finding new ways to be sustainable. Her projects so far have included a rain cistern that catches enough water to tend to her garden. The next project she would like to pursue is a hydroponics greenhouse.
Why she shares her love of sustainable agriculture with others: Lois has always encouraged her children, grandchildren, students and foster kids to pursue sustainable agriculture, especially in the garden. “They need to know where their food comes from,” she said. “It gives them a sense of confidence that they can provide for themselves if they need to.”
Story and Photo by Klaire Bruce