Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Farmers' markets

Some Americans have begun to reassert their independence from big banks, multinationals, and retail chains. Instead of resigning themselves to getting crumbs from the plutocrats' table, they are working towards building a table of their own. What am I talking about? The choice to buy, sell and invest in a market free of predators like Walmart, BankofAmerica, or Goldman Sachs.

Here's three examples:

1. The Farmers' Market in Ithaca, NY. Ithaca is a small, college town "centrally isolated" in a rural part of New York State. For such a small town, Ithaca supports an amazingly large and diverse Farmer's market, offering far more than just local produce. The community comes out in large numbers to buy the wares of local farmers and artisans. People are happy to pay a fair price for a jar of honey or a silk-screened shirt. They appreciate the chance to shop without giving their hard earned money to corporations that exploit cheap overseas labor.

2. The Pawtucket Credit Union in Rhode Island. An employee explained to me how they have recently seen an increase in customers fleeing big banks. "People are just fed up," she said, "they tell me they'd rather keep their money in local hands than dealing with people they can't trust." These refugees are willing to endure the inconvenience of less A.T.M.s, for the positive value of banking with a human-scaled institution.

3. Wickford Village in Rhode Island. Wickford is a beautiful seaside village in Rhode Island. Many affluent tourists for decades have enjoyed shopping for local arts, crafts, and antiques. In recent years, Wickford has seen a notable increase in its retail traffic after the tourists leave in the fall. These Christmas shoppers come from other parts of the state, abandoning the gaudy malls to the north in favor of independent local merchants. A schoolteacher from Cranston explained to me how she'd rather buy fewer, higher quality gifts from a local shop than more junk from a Macy's or Target.

While breakthroughs in science and technology may help us to create jobs in the U.S., a simple determination to freely trade with our neighbors can also help rebuild our economy.


tbelwin68 said...

Nice post Ulysses. Your readers might find Ryan Brown's piece to be of interest:

Cletis L. Stump said...

Ulysses, are you familiar with Kentucky's Wendell Berry? If not, you will be thrilled. A homeboy as well. Cletis

Ulysses said...

Thanks Cletis, my friend has actually been telling me to read Berry for years. Now would be a great time to start!