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
In 1972 I had waited two years to receive an invitation to visit China and then four days to get a seat on the train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. The travel time to Guangzhou, via Hong Kong, by commercial airline and train, was about twenty-six hours. In the years that followed I made many trips to China. Each time the visits became easier, there was no waiting for invitations to visit the country. In the 1980s tourism became a major source of income for China as the country opened up to the western world. It had a lot to Read on →
Pardon me for a personal reflection today. Those of us who grew up in Middle Georgia, and in particular in Macon, are saddened today. You see, an institution which succored us from our earliest memories as a kid, burned down Friday morning. It was the Cotton Avenue location of Nu-Way Weiners, a Macon institution for 99 years, and second oldest hot dog stand in the nation. Though there are seven other locations in Middle Georgia, Cotton Avenue was where it was founded, and many of us remember eating there before we began school. When I was coming along, you could get two Read on →
My father, born in the northern English port of Liverpool (a likely landing place for seafarers) was tall, blonde, with piercing blue eyes, a Roman nose and flat back of the head. As a girl I fantasized that he was of Viking descent, and I a northern princess with a fine thermostat: I was never able to tolerate a hot climate, feeling moribund when the temperature is above 85 degrees and at my best when there’s a nip in the air. Twenty years ago scientists at Oxford University, England, began collecting DNA samples in Orkney, islands off the coast of Scotland, g Read on →
"The Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil." -- Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil, 2000 The Great Transition has begun. I know, because our household is part of it. I speak of humanity's transition from the bondage of addiction to fossil fuels -- addiction that has fouled our air and water, disrupted our climate and ravaged our earth -- to the liberation of renewable energy. You're looking at our house. On February 4, we installed a 12-panel solar photovoltaic (PV) array Read on →