Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh, January.

If there's ever a time you'd like to make the switch to buying local, I can guarantee that January is when your behavior will have the most bang for the buck, at least in our community.  In the spring and summer months, lots of folks are lured here by our fishing streams, by our crisp, clean air, by the undeniable attractiveness of hiking our trials or biking our roads or staring blissfully at our amazing ancient mountains.

But, January.  January is often cold.  And snowy.  (Though not as much lately.)  January is when everyone is trying to catch up from holiday bills and December fiscal battles with their accountants.  No one wants to drive in January; no one is much up for more frivolity, having gotten partied out for the holidays.  Everyone hibernates and January is so slow.

Luckily, for my local farmers and processors, it is also the time when they can breathe a little, with crops buried snugly under snow till sunshine and longer days return, and we can plan.  Or cook up schemes. This January, February and March, we are planning on doing just that.

Our amazing gallery opening (and if you missed Hans' work, the photographs are still blessing the front of the store, and are for sale!) and talk by Otter Hook's Chris Kemnah, inspired a lot of interest in such things as crop mobs and local economic development.  We want us all to do better.  We want Walmart to, frankly, not do so well.

And we're not alone.  An interesting article from the Tyee out of British Columbia caught my attention: local enterprises that work together.  Isn't that a beautiful idea?  And so simple.  One of my goals for the year is to work towards some sort of sustainable chamber of commerce on the hill.  Lots of enterprises, working together, for the betterment of each other, and our community, hopefully with future generations in mind, is bound to create something special.

Another way of doing better is to get serious about creating some sort of local currency - it will keep our dollars in our community, or, in some cases, keep them from become dollars at all, as they remain exchanges through individuals.  A cool recent article from Resilience also noted that we can set up electronic systems for money exchange - so even though I may be sentimentally attached to the original version of the Ithaca dollar - there are actually better ways of exchanging goods and services.

You know me - I don't want to have to beg folks to start growing winter greens for me, or bring me more local meats, or eggs (staring at Tim!); I don't want to keep hounding you all to do something about finding my local value-added processors a place to make their amazing jams or fudge or pickled products.  Frankly, my kids (and my poor husband!) would be thrilled if I would ratchet it down a notch or two.  But I think this stuff is vital to our long term sustainability - both the store, and much more importantly, this community.  And I can't do it alone.  Honestly, I wouldn't want to do it alone.

So take this as a gentle reminder - there's lots afoot this time of year, even though it seems like folks are hibernating.  We are deliberating on things that will set in motion our progress for years to come.  (Okay, that last bit might be a bit over the top, but you never know.)  One thing's for sure: you don't want to miss this!

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