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Debates Forum

  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Jun '09 18:25
    Like many people, I have lived the bulk of my life as a mindless consumer on the well traveled road to perdition. But I have been saved. Not only have I saved myself, but I now have the opportunity to spread the good word so that together we might save the whole world. Yes, brothers, I have seen the light. And the key to salvation is buying local.

    Yes, that's right. Buying local.

    My wife and I have grown tired of contributing money to international corporations that take both money and jobs out of the local community and ship them overseas. We have resolved to try to buy as much as possible from local sources (Michigan, USA). This includes buying as much food as possible from the farmer's market while its in season, or shopping at markets that have a good selection of locally made or grown products. This week we bought eggs, bread, cheese, radishes, pork chops, portabello mushrooms, spinach and asparagus from the farmer's market. We've been eating this stuff since Saturday. Today I went to Hiller's Market and bought milk from Holland, Mi., pizza sauce from St. Ignace, Mi., and Faygo soda from Detroit, Mi.

    This kind of purchasing strategy keeps both jobs and money in the local economy, and decreases the dependence on fossil fuel to ship similar items from distant locations.

    As a compliment to this approach, I have also resolved to start buying as many of my clothes as I can online from American made and/or union shops. I will participate as little as possible in the global race to push wages down to the level of a Chinese sweatshop. Although in practice it may be impossible to avoid.

    I also resolve to more diligently research the corporate ethics of companies I do business with and boycott those who fail to measure up.

    I'd also like to put some money into socially responsible investing, but we'll see how that one goes.

    OK, that's the end of the sermon. The problem is that as I've just begun this undertaking with the zeal of a new convert, I realize that my approach is likely laden with inefficiencies and contradictions that would likely border on hypocrisy. My question is if anyone out there has undertaken anything similar and if they had any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
  2. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    10 Jun '09 18:44
    Originally posted by rwingett
    OK, that's the end of the sermon. The problem is that as I've just begun this undertaking with the zeal of a new convert, I realize that my approach is likely laden with inefficiencies and contradictions that would likely border on hypocrisy. My question is if anyone out there has undertaken anything similar and if they had any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
    Don't beat yourself up over the contradictions -- it's not hypocrisy unless you get all preachy about it.

    Whatever 'wholesome' set-up you get involved in is only as good as the people involved. The ethical co-op I used to buy food from ended up ousting their founder in a palace coup and have degenerated into some sort of feminist personality cult; the cashless trading crowd harbour a number of out-and-out frauds in their ranks who take without giving back; the car-park outside the organic market is filled with luxury cars ...

    So anyway. Consume less. Use public transport (including your legs). Roll your own cigarettes. Philosophise: it's hard to destroy the planet when you're contemplating your navel. Whoa ... that's hippy talk. Hmm. Recycle?

    My main concern is packaging -- hard to escape plastic.
  3. 10 Jun '09 19:23
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Like many people, I have lived the bulk of my life as a mindless consumer on the well traveled road to perdition. But I have been saved. Not only have I saved myself, but I now have the opportunity to spread the good word so that together we might save the whole world. Yes, brothers, I have seen the light. And the key to salvation is buying local.

    Yes, ...[text shortened]... any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
    ive been doing the same thing for years.glad to see im not alone keep up the good work
  4. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Jun '09 19:45
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    ive been doing the same thing for years.glad to see im not alone keep up the good work
    I've been aware of it for years and have nibbled around the edges in a desultory sort of way, but I'd like to be more consistent about it.
  5. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    10 Jun '09 19:46
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Don't beat yourself up over the contradictions -- it's not hypocrisy unless you get all preachy about it.

    Whatever 'wholesome' set-up you get involved in is only as good as the people involved. The ethical co-op I used to buy food from ended up ousting their founder in a palace coup and have degenerated into some sort of feminist personality cult; ...[text shortened]... at's hippy talk. Hmm. Recycle?

    My main concern is packaging -- hard to escape plastic.
    Not even a little preaching? Isn't that half the fun?
  6. 11 Jun '09 13:02
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Like many people, I have lived the bulk of my life as a mindless consumer on the well traveled road to perdition. But I have been saved. Not only have I saved myself, but I now have the opportunity to spread the good word so that together we might save the whole world. Yes, brothers, I have seen the light. And the key to salvation is buying local.

    Yes, ...[text shortened]... any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
    Spot on!! In fact, I went to my local WalMart the other day to shop. Just glad to be able to contribute to the local economy.
  7. 11 Jun '09 16:30
    sorry to burst all your bubbles but it's a waste of time. you might as well enjoy your imported sweetcorn while you can.

    on a bus in ecuador there was a sign, in spanish but it basically said - 'please keep our buses tidy and throw your rubbish out the window' this is the mentality your up against here, it wasn't just the buses, all over the place.

    it's basically the same as vegetarians not eating meat for ethical reasons. pointless.
  8. 12 Jun '09 01:38
    Originally posted by trev33
    sorry to burst all your bubbles but it's a waste of time. you might as well enjoy your imported sweetcorn while you can.

    on a bus in ecuador there was a sign, in spanish but it basically said - 'please keep our buses tidy and throw your rubbish out the window' this is the mentality your up against here, it wasn't just the buses, all over the place.

    it's basically the same as vegetarians not eating meat for ethical reasons. pointless.
    I wish you could explain that a little clearer.I have no idea what your point is.
  9. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Jun '09 02:30 / 1 edit
    Week 2 update

    Went to the farmer's market again on Saturday. This week we bought asparagus, sugar snap peas, strawberries, bread, buns, bacon, habañero cheese, mozzarella cheese, pizza crusts, leaf lettuce and beef patties made from pasture raised and grass fed cattle. We spent about $55. That's $55 spent supporting local farmers and $55 less spent at the chain supermarket supporting big agri-business. This will constitute a significant portion of our diet this week.

    Part of the appeal of this method of shopping is that it gives you a greater appreciation for the cycle of the seasons. It's early in the year, so items like asparagus are available. So we buy asparagus and come up with recipes to use what's currently in season. Last week we made braised radishes. I never would have thought to buy radishes before, but if that's what's available you buy it and think up a way to use it. It turned out that the braised radishes were excellent. Who would have thought? This week the sugar snap peas were available for the first time, so this was a big deal. We bought some and made a pasta with sugar snap peas, asparagus and prosciutto (not local). It was fantastic. Strawberries are available now so we're enjoying them while we can. If you can go to the supermarket and buy strawberries twelve months a year, they just don't seem quite as special anymore.

    So I've got my little chart telling me which fruits and vegetables are available in which months. Cherries in July. Tomatoes in August. Squash in September. We've got our eye on the comparatively short gooseberry season. There's a local u-pick farm that has them. I foresee a day out in the fields picking gooseberries before much longer.

    Something I didn't know previously is that Michigan is second only to California in the diversity of its agricultural products. We grow an enormous variety of fruits and vegetables in the state. Why would I pay to have things shipped in from elsewhere? Plus Michigan has a growing wine industry and several dozen microbreweries. So we can eat, drink and be merry without anything having to cross state lines.
  10. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    15 Jun '09 02:37
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Like many people, I have lived the bulk of my life as a mindless consumer on the well traveled road to perdition. But I have been saved. Not only have I saved myself, but I now have the opportunity to spread the good word so that together we might save the whole world. Yes, brothers, I have seen the light. And the key to salvation is buying local.

    Yes, ...[text shortened]... any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
    My respect to you. That takes discipline.
  11. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Jun '09 02:42 / 1 edit
    Not only do we have an enormous variety of food and drink available locally, but we have a US made clothing store. I didn't even know this until today, but within walking distance of my house there is an American Apparel outlet. I thought I'd have to buy the clothes online, but no, just a short trip into town and I can get them in person.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with American Apparel, they're a Los Angeles based clothing company where they employ about 4,000 workers making clothes domestically.

    American Apparel has decided not to outsource its labor, paying factory workers an average of over $12 dollars an hour. Garment workers for similar American companies in China, earn approximately 40 cents per hour. It claims to have the 'highest earning apparel workers in the world'. (from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_apparel)

    I think its time for a new wardrobe.
  12. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    15 Jun '09 02:51 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    My respect to you. That takes discipline.
    It takes a little effort, but it has its own rewards. Plus we have a great number of things within easy reach of where we live (Royal Oak, MI). The farmer's market (which is within walking distance) is one of the better ones in the state. As I mentioned, there's an American Apparel outlet also within walking distance. We have easy access to a variety of markets which specialize in locally grown products. There are a number of restaurants in town that have locally grown items and/or green practices. The stuff is out there, its just a matter of taking the time to look for it.

    Edit: Just so I'm not giving anyone any false impressions, we're not eating all our meals this way. Not by a long shot. But we're trying to make it a greater part of our regular diet. More locally grown products and not quite as much meat (although I have no interest in becoming a vegetarian).
  13. 15 Jun '09 04:39
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Like many people, I have lived the bulk of my life as a mindless consumer on the well traveled road to perdition. But I have been saved. Not only have I saved myself, but I now have the opportunity to spread the good word so that together we might save the whole world. Yes, brothers, I have seen the light. And the key to salvation is buying local.

    Yes, ...[text shortened]... any advice or strategies they have used in relation to anything I've brought up here.
    So you say that international trade should be abolished?
    That Europe should buy European cars first, and US cars only as an exception?
    Great idea!
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    15 Jun '09 04:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    So you say that international trade should be abolished?
    That Europe should buy European cars first, and US cars only as an exception?
    Great idea!
    If the quality is reasonable why not?

    But please don't make me give up my Toyota. Best cars in the world.

    BMW and Mercedes might be in trouble though. Volvo ftw?
  15. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    15 Jun '09 05:17 / 1 edit
    I think it would be great if people in developed countries bought as much stuff as they could from the developing world by way of Fair Trade schemes and then the rest from local producers, and as directly from source as possible.