Love Warren? Keep it local

Posted

To the editor:
It wasn’t that long ago when we were talking about how globalized the world had become. Now the word that’s getting a lot of attention is pretty much the opposite of global: local. Local is where it’s at these days. It’s in the grocery stores as produce sections feature locally grown tomatoes, or on restaurant menus that highlight locally produced meats and vegetables. We embrace local artists and covet their own unique sense of terroir (a French word meaning “land” often used in association with wine to describe the characteristic of a certain place). Some might say that local is just a buzz word that’s having a moment in the limelight. But others may have come to the conclusion that local is here to stay, and that embracing all things local positions us to be better neighbors, parents, volunteers, civic leaders, and conscientious consumers. 
Politically, in this country we have witnessed embarrassingly little work get done at the congressional level. It’s not always clear if the politicians who make it to the national stage ever really make an impact on what’s happening in small communities like Warren. More and more it seems that normal people like you and me are rolling up our sleeves and saying, “I’m responsible for the place where I live; I can’t expect my political leaders to make my community better!”
My own appreciation for local has led me to help bring the Buy Nothing Project (buynothingproject.org) to Warren. Buy Nothing is a “hyper-local giving economy” that encourages neighbors to give where they live. By using the free platform provided by Facebook Groups, Buy Nothing Project members can easily participate with their local group. The rules are simple: Post anything you would like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. You can also ask for anything you would like to receive for free or borrow. What I like about Buy Nothing is how it brings neighbors closer together by freely giving and receiving. Yes, Buy Nothing is exclusive; you can only join Buy Nothing Warren if you live in Warren. But what is gained through this exclusivity is an opportunity for Warrenites to lean on each other in new and creative ways. Instead of going to Target or logging into Amazon the next time I need something, I’m first going to ask my Buy Nothing group if they can meet my need. And the next time I’m tempted to throw something away, I’ll see if anyone in the group might find a use for it before I remove it from my home. 
It might be overplayed, but I for one like the word local and hope that it’s here to stay. I’m confident that an appreciation for “local-ness” will make us all a little more connected and supportive of each other. If you want to join the Buy Nothing Warren, RI group all you have to do is search for it on Facebook and request to join.
Ric Wild 
Union Street

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.