By Tricia Phelps
There isn’t much more local than mid-term elections. In that spirit we look this week at how your food purchases are acting as defacto votes for things you bring home in your shopping bag.
Support for local food often highlights the dollars we spend locally, but the other side of the equation also warrants recognition; the dollars spent elsewhere which leave the community without economic benefit. Those dollars aren’t reinvested locally, they’re earned, they’re spent, and they’re gone. With every dollar you spend, you’re asking for more of what you’re purchasing. Your dollar is your voice and your vote
I was reminded of this at a luncheon with Michael Ruhlman during the recent Pigstock TC events October 22 – 24. Ruhlman, author and “cook”, and Michael Polcyn, author and “chef” were both in town to espouse all things pig. Ruhlman encouraged attendees to use their dollars with intention. When we spend our hard earned dollars on local beef, pork, or fowl, we’re asking for more of it, but the equation works both ways. Even with dollars spent on the occasional McDonald’s Happy Meal, we’re asking for more: more soda, more chicken nuggets and more cheap plastic toys.
In terms of dollars, an opportunity lies before us in the realm of local proteins. The annual Pigstock event focuses on the versatility of the Mangalista pig along with processing techniques and the craft of charcuterie. But emphasis was also placed on the dollars we haven’t, yet, captured locally. The opportunity to use your dollar to impart change is right in front of you. Every dollar spent is a vote. A chance to say, “I want access to more local proteins,” or “I want to eat local organic produce year-round.” Take the time to notice whether your dollar is communicating the message you truly stand behind.
While there is certainly room to grow in capitalizing on local proteins throughout Northern Michigan, we are grateful to have partners like these who offer us the best in local beef, meats, poultry & fish. Next time you’re in the market for proteins to feed your family, find one of these TLD purveyors and ask them for their selection of locally grown proteins.