EDITORIAL: Time to think local, local, local

Posted 2/14/17

If ever there was a time to think local – and not just local shopping, but local self-reliance – it’s now.

But let’s start with the basics of shopping, since it is still winter and some …

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EDITORIAL: Time to think local, local, local

Posted

If ever there was a time to think local – and not just local shopping, but local self-reliance – it’s now.

But let’s start with the basics of shopping, since it is still winter and some small businesses are holding on by their fingernails until spring is closer and tourists are in sight.

There are some cold and sobering facts about our spending habits in Jefferson County.

Last year, the City of Port Townsend received a report on what is called retail leakage – the retail dollars that “leak” out of Jefferson County when local people spend money on retail goods elsewhere.

The results of that survey mirrored past surveys conducted for The Leader by Pulse Research of Portland, Oregon: People who live here spend a lot of money outside Jefferson County.

The analysis showed that people leave the county for general merchandise, electronics and appliances, motor vehicles and parts, health and personal care, building materials, clothing and accessories. Some of that is to be expected: There aren’t any big-box stores here, offering huge selections of electronics and appliances, for example.

In terms of dollars, it’s estimated that $200 million per year is spent by Jefferson County residents elsewhere. If just a fraction of that were to be redirected to Jefferson County, it would make a huge difference in sales tax revenue.

That old saying “Think local first” should be taken to heart, and the numbers should be remembered and reversed whenever possible.

Shopping local isn’t the only way we can keep dollars at home and keep the community resilient to the pressures of the world around us.

Local 20/20, a nonprofit organization run by volunteers, has been working for more than a decade now to promote “self-reliance, sustainability and resiliency” at the community level through both action and education.

Worried about where your food might come from during a food shortage? Then get involved in a community garden and check out Citizens for Local Food. And remember the farmers market, which opens April 1 in Port Townsend.

Concerned about how Jefferson County will do in an national emergency? Mark the date for the All-County Picnic in August and find out if your neighborhood is organized. If it’s not, consider helping it become organized.

Interested in putting your money into a local project that you can watch grow? There’s a way to invest locally through a group called LION (Local Investing Opportunities Network), which connects investors with people seeking to open or expand a business.

Local 20/20 also has committees on climate, energy, waste and transportation.

So, on a cold winter day while you are eating out at a restaurant you want to keep open year-round, consider other ways to invest in the community and the place that sustains you.

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