Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Keeping It Local

Dale Neal is a journalist, short story writer and most recently a novelist. (His first novel, the award-winning Cow Across America, was published last fall.) He's also a great friend and customer of Accent on Books and a leading light of the Asheville literary scene.

During his career with the Asheville Citizen-Times, Dale has worked as literary editor, religion editor and a reporter on business and technology issues. He brought all of these interests to bear in a recent article in the Citizen-Times on the importance of supporting a local economy, with reference to Wendell Berry and Berry's latest book, What Matters: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth. Throughout his long career, Berry has been a strong advocate of "keeping it local," more important than ever in the present economy when it comes to preserving local jobs and keeping them from moving overseas. As Dale points out, Asheville seems to be developing an increasing awareness of buying local, and hopefully that awareness will continue to develop.

The economic stakes are high. Dale quotes the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies as estimating that up to 70 cents of every dollar spent with a local business stays in the community, as opposed to 43 cents of every dollar spent in a chain store. (And, oftentimes, zero cents of every dollar spent online.) Something that hopefully we can all keep in mind when we make our buying decisions.

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