Keep it Local in 2011
With the Help of Wendell Berry
As we welcome a new year and reflect on the positive steps we can all take toward a more sustainable and local economy, it may be helpful to revisit the words of author and poet Wendell Berry, published a decade ago in the Winter 2001 issue of Orion magazine.
In his essay titled The Idea of a Local Economy, Berry writes: “…a viable neighborhood is a community; and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common. This is the principle of subsistence.”
Berry continues: “People are trying to find ways to shorten the distance between producers and consumers, to make the connections between the two more direct, and to make this local economic activity a benefit to the local community. They are trying to learn to use the consumer economies of local towns and cities to preserve the livelihoods of local farm families and farm communities. They want to use the local economy to give consumers an influence over the kind and quality of their food, and to preserve land and enhance the local landscapes. They want to give everybody in the local community a direct, long-term interest in the prosperity, health, and beauty of their homeland.”
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