Tuesday, April 24, 2012


So I found out today while glancing through the Port Townsend Leader that my favorite grocery store in the world, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, is asking for donations in order to finance expansion of the store.

They're planning a permanent covered porch for displaying produce and also for seating, and a building extension in back for more storage capacity. Total cost of these improvements is estimated at $130,000.

It's extremely unusual for a privately-owned, for-profit business to ask for donations to finance facility expansion rather than taking out a bank loan. In this case, however, it's highly appropriate, because the Farmstand is a lot more than just a business. It's also a priceless community resource, bringing together local food producers and local food eaters.

I find the idea of being invested in an enterprise like the Farmstand much more appealing than simply being a customer and "consumer." On their website, the owners and their spokeschicken ("Cracker") explain:
As a society we are waking up to the importance of creating robust local economies that encourage financial stability, but ultimately honor the people and land. Some folks call this the “triple bottom line”. When measured using these values, the Corner pays off in healthy dividends.

Shopping and eating local stuff gets people a lot more than just nutritious and wonderful-tasting food; it's also the best way to strike a blow against industrial-style agribusinesses such as Monsanto, Cargill, and Archer-Daniels-Midland. Why sign petitions or donate to anti-agribusiness lobbyists when you can fight the agri-giants most effectively just by spending the cash you used to give them in your own community?

What it comes down to is our local communities, at long last, are the only thing standing between us and the Monsantos and Bank of Americas of this world.

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