By: Halle On: May 29, 2020
The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create. – Leonard Sweet
The pandemic has been a lot of things to a lot of people: a crisis, a pause, an opportunity lost, and for some, maybe an opportunity gained. In the midst of this pause to our “normal” routines, there has been a lot of time for reflection. As the quote above states, we do not enter into the unknown with a blindfold on – our choices and actions now pave the way to create our future. With deliberate choices and actions, we can create a better future.
As we reflect on the past and plan for the future, your Co-op envisions a vibrant, healthy community and a thriving local, organic food economy. You can help create that vibrant, thriving future with your current choices and actions. Shopping local makes a huge impact in our community. And we need to support local businesses now more than ever, as some have been forced to temporarily close or drastically cut back their offerings to maintain social distancing guidelines and encourage stay-at-home orders.
Supporting businesses owned by our friends and neighbors helps keep dollars circulating in our local economy instead of sending profits out of state. This is best explained by the “multiplier effect” – studies show that money spent in independently-owned businesses recirculates or flows through the local economy more times than money spent in chain stores. In regards to food co-ops, it has been calculated that for every $100 spent here at MFC, $160 is generated in the local economy.
The more you support local businesses – like purchasing directly from farmers at the growers markets, the more you keep dollars circulating and enriching the Rogue Valley. And local farmers and food producers need your help! Restaurant closures and panic buying have upended distribution chains, and challenges continue to surface for farmers and producers attempting to divert their goods to another supply chain without the logistics already in place to support such drastic changes to their business models. Milk has been dumped down the drain, eggs broken, and vegetable harvests left to rot in the fields. Our modern food system has sacrificed nimbleness for efficiency, and the costs have become clearer in the chaos of the pandemic.
We want to encourage you to keep shopping local. Keep supporting your favorite farmer, local coffee roaster, beekeeper, and independent grocer. And if you have the means, find a new local business to support. Tell your friends about your favorites, and ask about theirs – let’s encourage one another to grow and extend our local circles of support. If your favorite business is currently closed, look into gift cards to offer support right now. You can save them for when they open up again or you can give them as gifts to your friends and family who might discover a new local something to love. While everything is still slower than our pre-pandemic pace of life, let’s take time to thoughtfully plan the future we want to build and start acting on it now. We can mutually support one another and build a better future for everyone in the Rogue Valley.