A new idea of ‘local economies’ based on food, agriculture, tradition and culture underlies the Earth Market philosophy.
In today’s world, the globalized market economy is showing its many limitations in terms of wastefulness and damage to the environment. The micro-economies of local communities have the potential to work in a way that is financially rewarding and respectful of surrounding ecosystems, human health and cultures. They also foster conviviality and solidarity.
If the government does not propose to protect the lives, livelihoods, and freedoms of its people, then the people must think about protecting themselves. How are they to protect themselves? There seems, really, to be only one way, and that is to develop and put into practice the idea of a local economy – something that growing numbers of people are now doing. For several good reasons, they are beginning with the idea of a local food economy. They are trying to learn to use the consumer economies of local towns and cities to preserve the livelihoods of local farm families and farm communities. They want to use the local economy to give consumers an influence over the kind and quality of their food, and to preserve land and enhance the local landscapes. They want to give everybody in the local community a direct, long-term interest in the prosperity, health, and beauty of their homeland. “Without prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice.
Wendell Berry, The Idea of a Local Economy, published in the Winter 2001 issue of Orion magazine. Click here to read the article.