Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shopping locally

I keep hearing our community encourage shopping locally. I find it unfortunate that a local land-owner and realtor have rented land to Tonee's Produce stand in Ketchum, a Boise-based business which detracts from our local farmers' market and locally-owned grocery stores, community-enriching businesses.

As manager of the Ketchum Farmers Market and a volunteer with Idaho's Bounty, myself and many local residents and businesses (i.e. Atkinsons', our restaurants, etc.) are actively engaged in building local food growing resources. The food we purchase and eat ensures the livelihood of our producers, and as a result, food security for our Valley. Our local farmers are precisely who we need to support in these changing economic times. Eating a cheap onion from California does not encourage Idaho farmers to grow onions—it encourages traveling businesses such as Tonee's to purchase items at the lowest possible price from growers in other states and countries, then ship them to their various stands.

When you buy an onion at the Ketchum Farmers Market, you purchase it directly from the grower/producer, and the profit goes directly back into the fields. It does not pad anyone else's pockets. When you buy an onion at the Market, you are ensured an honest product -- vendors tell you their growing practices. I enjoy mangoes, but for items not available Idaho-grown I will chose to buy at Atkinsons'. Atkinsons' employs workers who live in our Valley, enroll their children in our schools and vote in our elections. Atkinsons' represents our community and is here for the long term. Tonee's can leave at any time; it is separate from our community's economic vitality.

Whether you own land, make real-estate deals or just buy food, please support truly local producers and businesses and keep Ketchum sustainable.

Lynea Newcomer


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