- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
What if everything we spent went to our neighbors in the city, state or country in which we live?
Our coffee grinder finally broke. First I went to Target, but when trying to decide which of three choices to buy, I looked to see where they were made. In a jingoistic pique, I rejected all the Chinese imports, and decided to try elsewhere. I scoured local grocery stores and googled “coffee grinders USA” and found some interesting sites: usstuff which lists by product category and buyamericanmart –a website that sells online. I wrote lots of emails, and heard from Coffee Wholesale USA in Round Rock. Here is what Cristi Helton, Customer Service Specialist responded:
None of the grinders and coffee makers we stock are made in the USA. You might find a Bunn product or two that is at least assembled in the US, which you may be able to order from us. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer directly for this information.
I called Bunn’s home products division, and their Bunn-O-Matic peppy customer representative said that they don’t make grinders for home use, but that one of their brands, Velocity, is “assembled” in the US, but not 100% of the parts are made domestically.
I started wondering about what is produced where, and started with my state. It would seem logical that most states have websites promoting local products, like gotexan.org, although it was difficult to find them on cursory web searches.
So then I started thinking about REALLY local production of goods and services. I got an email from a friend telling me to give gift certificates for the holidays for people to do lawn work, hair cuts, Spanish lessons, etc. Nice ideas, so I’ve started trying to think of what services my friends would like. I realized I felt pure guilt when a friend gave me a gift of 5 Pilates lessons from her sister, who I didn’t particularly like.
Then I thought about the folks growing their own. When I walk my dogs down our San Antonio alleys where the garbage lives, I’ve admired the home gardens, and gotten to know several families who planted for their kids, and others who have a more survivalist mentality (with VERY large woodpiles). This summer was rough, though, since the drought forced us into only weekly waterings, so most of the gardens dried up. Others have been far more successful (and courageous) with their backyard efforts. My favorite book on the subject (which convinced me not to try it) is by Novella Carpenter, called Farm City.
I definitely like the idea of professional foragers and it might influence my restaurant choice if the restaurant promoted it, if I could get over the idea that it’s dumpster diving.
While I’m really into the idea of reinvesting my money into local, state and national goods (& jobs), when it comes right down to it, I feel so uneducated about where everything comes from. I’m also wondering if I told my friends and family that I will only buy US (or Texas or San Antonio) goods, would they do the same? Would I reject a birthday present from A+R, Global Girlfriend or the MOMA? This raises all those other issues about being a global citizen, and how to support the good work around the world.
When my refrigerator and/or car dies, will I be disciplined enough to take the extra time to search and pay the premium price to support the US economy? What about the “Main Street” folks who live local, but sell products from elsewhere? What about the domestic phone companies and support services with foreign call centers? What’s my choice?
I’m probably going to need some help to sort all this out. Can anybody recommend a good coffee grinder?
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
A few years back, Columbia public relations guru Bud Ferillo made a film about several economically distressed counties that he dubbed the “Corridor of Shame.” This area, which stretched along Interstate 95 in South Carolina from Dillon County to Jasper County, got a lot of attention when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama toured an old Dillon middle school in the run-up to the 2008 election. But did you ever wonder whether South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame was an anomaly -- or whether something similar was happening on the other sides of our state borders? Unfortunately, similar conditions continue, extending north to Tidewater Virginia and curving Read on →
Anything characterized by high energy, originality, humor and intelligence is bound to get my attention. I was at an annual fund-raising party for an alternative art center called Nexus in about 1986. Touring the studios I kept being distracted from the visual art by some very interesting Rock 'n Roll. I wasn't the only one. A large segment of the crowd was gathered around the Swimming Pool Qs in the courtyard. Once in their vicinity I was there for as long as they would play. In any field of endeavor certain efforts stand out and the Qs were (are) definitely one Read on →
Last Thursday, just before I took my daily two-mile run/walk hunger struck. A few bites of watermelon did the trick. When I bit into that cold sweet watermelon a flood of summer memories rushed in. I recalled the great tastes of summer and with those memories came warm images of youth in the Georgia countryside. I saw stacks of dark green, striped watermelons, red, ripe tomatoes, and heard the beautiful grinding of a hand-cranked ice cream churn. Recalling the great tastes of summer I thought will make a good column. I created a document and titled it “The Tastes of Summer.” I’m Read on →
When music publisher John Stark first heard Scott Joplin play his piano, he knew that ragtime was the music of hope for a new America. But Joplin would never be content with popularity and fame. Joplin committed himself to racial justice in the early 1900’s. He was inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa. But due to this earnest pursuit, he was ignored by the masses for writing the music of Civil Rights fifty years before America was ready to listen. King of Rags, by Professor Eric Bronson, is a historical fiction account of the quest for r Read on →