Thursday, June 30, 2011

Authentically Local in Iselin New Jersey

Authentically Local
Two things yesterday made me think about "local."
One - the "hyper-local" news blog for Woodbridge InJersey ending, and then
Two - I went to the Farmer's Market in Woodbridge.

I talked about Woodbridge InJersey already. Now I want to tell you my thoughts about the farmer's market.

When my husband and I went to the Parker Press Park last night, we really went to listen to the music. Shopping was also on the agenda, but not the main goal.

I was surprised that I didn't see a lot of people shopping. I'm not sure if that's because we got there so late, or if it's because no one wanted to buy anything. Maybe they were only there for the music too?

Of course, my first thought when I looked at the produce was that it seemed expensive. Of course, I don't know my prices really well - I have a few friends who ALWAYS know what things cost and where, but that's not a skill I've ever developed. But yes, it seemed high even to me.

But then I thought about it. My husband and I like to shop local, whenever possible. And we always stop at farm stands we drive past, at least we try to whenever we can. We believe that we should support all of the small business people in this country who are trying to make a living.

And of COURSE a small local farm won't be able to compete with a huge corporation who can ship in produce from Mexico and overseas and wherever you see the labels on your fruit from. Plus - it's a well-known fact that the longer produce sits around, the more nutrients it loses; so I assume that if it's sitting on a truck for a while to get to the supermarket, it's losing some nutrients, right?

So we made a point of buying sweet bi-color corn and fresh beets for dinner tonight, and two pints of blueberries for a snack. (They are DELICIOUS!)

I'm not the only person thinking about the whole "local" thing. I found a website called Authentically, which was apparently started by a lot local news outlets and blogs just like mine. This is what it said:
“Local” has recently emerged as one of the most potential lucrative corners of the economy, and corporations are rushing to it like speculators to a gold rush. Economists estimate the local advertising market is about $100 billion a year, and numerous organizations are making a play, including Groupon, Living Social, Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL.

Yup, that's what I'm talking about. We need to spread some of that money around here some.

 “The Authentically Local campaign seeks to illuminate the difference between authentic local businesses and those that are just cashing in — before every town in America becomes one giant strip mall,” said Debbie Galant, founder of Baristanet, who plans to announce the campaign at the GeoWorld Summit in New York City. “This is not just about us, the owned-and-operated sites that write about place. It’s about place.”

The website also said:

Yes, you can eat at an Applebee’s or buy your paint from a Home Depot. You can buy your books on Amazon, or download them to a Kindle. You can use an iPhone app to find the closest movie. But there’s a difference between something that’s geographically convenient and something that’s authentically local.
And the difference is this: Local doesn’t scale. Local isn’t McDonald’s, even if the McDonald’s is right down the street. Local doesn’t send profits back to a home office somewhere else.

So, please - support your local businesses!

If you have a local business, please email me and I'll write a story about you! :)

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