Member Service/Business

Localizing Requires Connections

It’s one thing to say, “Buy Local”, but it actually means more than just going down to the local store and buying it there.

Of course, the preference is to support local businesses because that keeps local people small business heart of economyemployed, ya da, ya da. BUT… think about the next step.  Buying locally produced items.

Buying something Made in China, but purchased locally, is sometimes unavoidable. The USA has stopped making most things. It can be a real challenge to find stuff not made overseas. Sometimes we can find those items and then comes the next crisis. Actually, we have a hard time paying USA prices.

We want to have our cake, and eat it too.  Inexpensive (or a very modest increase in price) and locally produced; at least produced in the USA.  If you factor in a decent wage and a small profit for the business owner (so he can stay in business)… you have to think at least $20/hr wage + benefits = not a trivial cost. It IS the REAL cost, though.  Not one produced by slave labor at $1-5/hr.

I went down to Target to buy some pillowcases.  Looking for organic cotton. Hmmm, would you believe it? THEY HAD THEM.  $38 for a pair of king pillowcases?  OMG, the budget could not handle that one. Guess I’ll have to do without organic.  The next feasible option, reuse… Goodwill, here I come. If I have to save my dollars for organic, it will be organic food.

As Americans, at the top of the pyramid, we have been terribly spoiled.  Only 10% of our income channeled to food purchases, unlike most of the rest of the world.

How can we rewrite the story?  The Grange will begin to offer a “service directory” for it’s members (and maybe for others?) that list services & items that can be purchased, bartered, or traded.  To buy local, we need to find out just what IS local, and where to get it.  The Locastore run by Susan Butler (Grange Member) is an awesome step along the path of relocalizing. She provides a venue for local producers to vend their products at a convenient crossroads, Hwy 116 & Bloomfield Rd., Sebastopol, CA

Locastore’s Open!  Giant beets, leeks & cabbage. Still have peppers, tomatillos & zhuchinni in December!  Tuscan winter squash.  Local dried seaweeds.  Bargain kiwis & persimmons .25 each.  Sonoma Sprouts.  Sweet Dumpling squash.  Greens, flowers, wreaths, gifts & toys. Locally wild-crafted evergreen trees.  Container edibles.  House plants. Come see! 

1830 South Gravenstein Hwy 116 at Bloomfield Road Sebastopol 95472

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SpotLight ~ Gary Abreim

Behind the Curtain….

Is a certain person, that in his quiet unassuming way, has a major part in keeping this show up and running. By that I mean no disrespect to the others in our leadership group, but this guy shoulders a pretty large load.  Areas that most of us would absolutely cringe if we had to do it on an ongoing basis… the management of the finances of our grange, as well as handling the rentals that provide us with an income to support the Grange operations. Meeting with prospective renters frequently, IRS taxes, Legal Filings, Dues, Grange Paperwork, balancing the Books (and checkbooks, (tracking receipts, expenditures, etc)… well, it makes my head hurt to just think about it.

Gary Abreim comes to us with a wealth of accounting experience that he puts to use here.  Officially retired, I think he works full-time, talking with prospective renters, groups, & co-ordiating activities that happen here at our Hall. He does manage an annual vacation, I understand, to Burning Man (where he let’s down his hair… oh… wait… hair, did I say hair?)

It’s a rare meeting that does not have Gary quietly sitting with his laptop, keeping track of what is going on.  It’s that consistency that allows others of us, to move in and out of the work of the Grange… because we know someone is holding down the fort!Me

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