Not that long ago, a movement, or a fetish, for everything local started sweeping across the country. I am certain that someone, perhaps someone reading this post, has investigated where this trend began and how it has grown. The trend is probably most popular with food, but localism – the prioritization of all things local1 – takes many forms.
There are a few towns in North Carolina that have embraced localism with gusto, my hometown of Carrboro among them. For years, I have purchased my groceries at Weaver Street Market, a local cooperative market that stocks and promotes local North Carolina farmers and products. On weekends, I frequently visit the Carrboro Farmer’s Market, where all vendors must “produce their goods within 50 miles of Market.”2
But we also have our share of national or regional chains. Wendy’s has been here for years, Harris Teeter and Food Lion are here, and Hampton Inn opened up a few years ago.
Even at these chain establishments, there are nods to our unique community, as it should be. The people who bag groceries at Harris Teeter, cook burgers at Wendy’s, and make the beds at the Hampton Inn are all neighbors, either living in Carrboro or close by.
I fill my prescriptions at a national pharmacy chain. In the many years I’ve lived in Carrboro, many of the same employees have remained at the store. One evening I asked the women who worked there how long they had been there, and between them they had over twenty years experience working at my pharmacy. The fact that I think of it as “my pharmacy” is indicative of how successfully integrated into our community this store has become.
In the end, shopping, dining, and living local in Carrboro, or anywhere, means one thing: remembering that the people you interact with are your neighbors. If you, or the stores, forget that, then we have all lost something in the process.
Responding to the WordPress Daily Prompt: Local