LocalHarvest Newsletter
December 5, 2006

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter!

As the days get darker and, in most parts of the country, colder, and the year draws to a close, we at LocalHarvest.org find ourselves reflecting more than usual on why we do what we do. Perhaps the hype and hoopla of the holiday season also contributes to our desire to bend inward, revisit the things that matter to us at our cores, and follow them, step by step. As the psychologist Carl Jung said, "Find that which gives you meaning, and let it be your guide." In this month's newsletter LocalHarvest's Erin Barnett offers you one slice of her holiday reflection in an essay on why supporting family farmers, rural communities, and local businesses can and should be a priority in this and every season.

Meanwhile, we wish you a holiday season made memorable for its simplicity, unexpected gestures of kindness, and warmth of spirit.

Christmas Presents from Family Farms:

There's still plenty of time to purchase some of your holiday gifts through LocalHarvest. When you do, you'll be getting beautiful, high quality gifts for those you love, while also supporting America's family farmers. Check out our beautiful selection of hand-crafted wreaths, gift baskets, fruits, and chocolates all produced and sent to you directly from family farmers across the country.

And for your upcoming celebrations, don't miss our exceptional offering of meats, fruits, nuts, and other great foods for your holiday table."

Why Bother?

I'll admit it: Christmas is my least favorite season. Were it not for the shopping, I think I would like it - family, friends, good food - just like Thanksgiving, but with pretty lights. But shopping is an integral part of the season, at least in my circle. Worse, with my tendency toward procrastination and my family's preference for gifts like tools and sweaters, shopping usually takes place at box stores or a mall. This puts me in a foul mood every time.

Two years ago some friends of mine committed themselves to excluding all franchise stores from their gift buying pursuits. Lucky for them, they live in a hip city that prides itself on its thriving small business community. It still took effort but they did it, and everyone on their list got great gifts - things they wouldn't probably have picked up for themselves, but loved because they were beautiful and unique.

It was easy for me to say that I could never make such a pledge because all we have in my small Midwestern town are box stores and bake sales, but that simply isn't true. Main Street is lined with small shops whose owners are trying to make a living, and the truth is that I want them to succeed. They might not carry a great selection of tools or sweaters, but I would miss them if they left. Why? When I can get almost everything I need at Target, what's it to me if the little guys go under? Why should I limit my Christmas shopping to the things that are available from local vendors? (Read on...)

As always, thanks for your interest in and support of LocalHarvest.org! See you next month, and until then, take good care and eat well!