Are you Standing on the Buy Local Soapbox?


Are you standing on the Buy Local Soapbox and is your message heard or understood? Think about Local as Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley, the Fundy or South Shore Region…wherever or however you define your ‘local’. Consider ‘Buy Local’ AND ‘By Local’ too.

Lots of hype is out there about buying local and lots of flag wavers standing by, singing the pro-local chant.

Most of us can talk the talk, yet, in spite of this, we don’t necessarily walk that talk.

Is that our fault? Does it matter? It may or may not be our ‘fault’ and it does ‘matter’. Buying Local makes a difference in many ways, far too many ways for one soapbox speech.

Please understand that I’m just scratching away at the surface here. The complexities are more far reaching than a simple explanation or a simple example can demonstrate.

Consider the effect of the cancellation of the Yarmouth Ferry Service that used to connect Western Nova Scotia and Maine.  Every day the ferry ran the actual service lost money we’re told…lots of money.

Loosing lots of money on the service is one thing… yet not having the service at all…. what are some of the costs to the Local Community economy and how do we define the fiscal and physical boundaries of that local community?

I base my overview on only a few of the effects that may be attributed to the removal of the ferry service.

The Yarmouth area accommodations availability has been reduced by 100’s. Many local restaurants have closed or gone out of business. The population has been reduced leaving an aging population with fewer people to add support and impact a brighter future. Doctors have been reluctant to come to the community and many have relocated.

Tourism has generally been hit hard and the saving of the subsidy costs of having ferry service has been more than offset by the increased costs of operating local support systems.  Where 4 or 5 furniture stores once thrived, only two now survive.

Perhaps there is some upside hidden in between the lines of this saga. I, for one, don’t recognize what that upside might be, other than the government’s demonstrated lack of understanding about the ‘trickle down’ effect.

As we follow the highways leading from Yarmouth we can observe that the impact has affected virtually every sector of the economy from our southwest onward through the Fundy Shore and Annapolis Valley Regions, the South Shore Region and even into the Halifax Region and beyond.

While some might rationalize that a growing urban community indicates otherwise, I strongly disagree. Think of the impact on health services, education, transportation, rural infrastructure, youth, families and so much more.

So how do we help offset (at least in part) the impact of these changes? One way is to Buy Local. By Local is important as well.  (Another commentary to watch for…)

What are the positive effects of buying local as well as ‘by local’?

Some of the more significant advantages include a greener global reality, reason for our youth to stay or remain closer to home and a more self-nurturing and self-sustaining local economy.

When we Buy Local we are also helping keep local experts closer to home reducing the need to waste a good part of our lives driving back and forth to the city. While big ticket purchases and the best specialist may dwell in another town or province it is callous to be left isolated by health care reality that values the lives of those living nearby than those who live down the road.

….and that’s my opinion.

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