Going Local from Guest Blogger @Fromfarmtotable

The last time I moved to a tiny town I loved, it was from "the big city". Once sleeping quarters were laid down, the next order of business was getting a shoe fixed. This, so I could walk around the downtown; the center of my new foundtown. The sole on my ten year old hiking boot had come loose, a symbol, no doubt, of the journey before landing (back) in Smallville. The internet didn't sub for the yellow pages back then, and a feeling of dread welled up, for a project as large as a boot-mending in a strange town. I asked a new neighbor to recommend the best place to get a boot patched. He chuckled, and promptly gave me directions to the ~only~ place, to get a boot patched. I showed up, was greeted by the owner, and invited to sit down and stay a while.

A few minutes later, I walked out of Jim's shoe repair. Delighted to be only $6 lighter, my hand wrapped around his business card in my pocket, and my mind around the conversation we just shared. Eager to see where my good-as-new hiker might take me, a short walk around the corner revealed the diner Jim recommended, for a meal he said I'd welcome after so much road and fast food. His brother owned a piece of land at the edge of town and provided produce for the eatery. Belly full and feet happy, the feel-good of the day washed over my other soul, for hours. It'd be years before I learned of the essays of Wendell Berry (such as this one on a local economy). But that first afternoon in Local Land felt as comfy to me as any worn shoe. It felt good, tasted great, and looked beautiful.

You don't have to live in a tiny town to reap the benefits of a local economy. Sonoma County is geographically pretty big, but home to many robust communities ever more concerned and active on the "go local" front. Small change can add up to a big difference - check out the 350 Project and see what you think of making small changes in a few spending habits.

As for me and my life, I'll pass on super-sizing it for an extra 50 cents. Heck, I'll take the smaller slice please, even if it costs a little more. And while you're at it, I don't mind if you super-slow it. My hurrying days are behind me.




Kim Ryals


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