e the countless uplifting stories of producers and consumers coming together, not merely to exchange money for goods but also to nurture community and do a bit for the Common Good.
For instance, last spring, farmers Lisa and Ralph Turner of Maine’s Laughing Stock Farm had tons of organic produce ready for delivery to area restaurants. When the pandemic forced all of their customers to shut down — bam! — the farm couple panicked. Then, as The New York Times reported, they set up a farm stand and sent out an email, hoping that maybe 10 people a day would come purchase a few $3 bags of veggies. But from day one, friends, family, friends of friends and perfect strangers poured in and bought extra, sometimes paying $10 a bag, saying, “Keep the change” and then spreading the word, along with community and human spirit — things companies like Amazon and Walmart can’t compute.
One farm stand is not the big solution, of course, but community just might be. Turns out, the can-do, mutual-aid spirit is more productive than all financial metrics combined. Ralph Turner expresses it in age-old farmspeak: “Head down, butt up, push forward.” The people’s response gives everyone hope, and that, Lisa Turner adds, is “an antidote to fear.”
But it’s not just small farmers who can make a difference and set an example of how to be good members of the community. Companies, big and small, in the food economy are blazing a different path through Wall Street’s jungle of greed and demonstrating that money and morality can be compatible. Texas supermarket chain H-E-B, for example, has drawn an intensely loyal customer base (including me) by investing in good wages and benefits for employees, showing up in emergencies (pandemic outbreaks, hurricanes, freezes, etc.) to give essential supplies and hands-on help, and being an involved and supportive neighbor to the hundreds of unique communities it serves.
Originally Appeared On: https://magicvalley.com/opinion/columnists/jim-hightower-doing-good-business-in-the-food-economy/article_a88e0cff-29ad-522e-9eb6-53cdf781387a.html