Wendell Berry: Orientation of Agriculture to Local Needs, Possibilities, and Limits Indispensable

Hay
In "Another Turn of the Crank" Wendell Berry argues that the place tobegin the work of restoring communities strung out on the global economy is the development of local food systems.

...In many places, the obvious way to begin the work I am talking about is with the development of a local food economy. Such a start is attractive because it does not have to be big or costly, it requires nobody's permission, and it can ultimately involve everybody...By "local food economy" I mean simply an economy in which local consumers buy as much of their food as possible from local producers and in which local producers produce as much as they can for the local market.

...Of course, no food economy can be, or ought to be, only local. But the orientation of agriculture to local needs, local possibilities, and local limits is indispensable to the health of both land an people, and undoubtedly to the health of democratic liberties as well.

He gives some specific recommendations worth considering. I wonder how we're doing in the Spokane region in these areas of development.

If the members of a local community want their community to cohere, to flourish, and to last, these are some things they would do:

...Develop small scale industries and business to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

...Strive to produce as much of the community's own energy as possible.

...Make sure that money paid into the local economy circulates within the community for as long as possible before it is paid out.

...A sustainable rural economy will be dependent on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than competitive.

...It's an economy whose aim is generosity and a well-distributed and safeguarded abundance.

...Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of the national or global economy.