Some cultures believe the year ends and begins on Halloween. With the coming of Thanksgiving, we begin to roll out a series of ever-expansive new year holiday celebrations – testing our endurance, our budgets and our psyches.
I hope I am not being overly dramatic in quoting Thomas Paine, “These are the times that try men’s minds,” in reference to the holiday spirit. We face so many challenges at the moment on so many different levels of existence, that making the choice to place greater emphasis on “local” seems to be almost an instinctive reaction – one born out of self-preservation. And one that shares some of that same revolutionary spirit that founded this Nation a short time ago.
We are faced with the task of overthrowing a new form of colonialism, one in which large corporations extract the wealth from our local communities, frequently extinguishing independent, locally owned, small business interests. The initial out-of-pocket savings may be hard to resist until you do the math to see the long term costs to the community in which you live.
One also has to call into question the “loyalty” of corporations that are driven by the desire to increase their bottom line, sending American jobs offshore to China and Mexico. Now is the time for another revolution – one that places people above corporations. We have the numbers and we make the choices by voting with our dollars to invest in the health and well being of local, independent, privately owned businesses.
Whether it’s in Iowa or Wisconsin, the message is universal. Money spent in big box stores, chains and franchises does not recirculate throughout the community as much as money spent at locally-owned enterprises. The environmental savings are also quite significant.
“In almost every way buying your food locally has been proven to be a good thing,” says Transition Helston organizer Bernie Doeser, ”less food miles, less packaging, healthy, fresh seasonal food. It supports small businesses and keeps money circulating in the local economy.”
Transition Towns are springing up all over Europe and especially within the United Kingdom as part of a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction.
Whether its in England or America, grassroots groups are exploring many of these truly revolutionary concepts: thinking, buying, growing and spending locally. We invite you to join in the process of learning and sharing ideas on what works for you and what else there is to do. It’s time to begin the transition…
This Holiday Season find unique gifts made right here in Door County, keeping more financial resources in the community by spending locally:
- Support the local creatives: artists, craftspeople, musicians and poets all have original work for sale,
- Performing Arts venues and organizations have tickets or season passes to stage plays, music festivals and concerts,
- Consider the gift of learning: lessons in cooking, art, dance, voice, piano and guitar or classes at the Clearing, NWTC or YMCA,
- Buy gift passes to local museums and other attractions,
- How about the gift of a massage, hair styling or nails?
- Seek out a local tailor,
- Take a friend out for dinner at one of the many family-owned and operated restaurants in Door County,
- Buy fresh vegetables, plants and flowers grown locally,
- Give beers and wines made in Door County,
- Search out fresh bakery goods made here daily,
- Find meats, poultry and fish from the area,
- Consider the local candy store for homemade treats,
- Door County even has a made-in-Door pet treat store!