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Local is Relative


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I think it is kind of lame that NCJ pointed a finger at the soils industry ("The Dirt," Dec. 15) to call the bluff on what "local" really means. To define, I believe that local business means that someone who lives in Humboldt owns the business. Locally produced means that raw materials were assembled here to create a value-added product. I can think of very few examples of local business where only locally sourced materials are used for production of finished goods, and they are mostly extractive industries like timber, fisheries and gravel mining which are not sustainable.

Manufacturers need materials. Local food producers import all sorts of ingredients to make their products. Take Brio Bread Works, where do you think all their flour comes from? Do you think everything at The Co-op is local? What about our favorite "local" beers? Where do we grow hops in Humboldt in quantities sufficient to support mass production? We don't. But we praise the local status of these entities because they do good work and they stimulate our local economy. Why not pick their supply chains apart to expose where their raw materials come from?

Let's be honest. We need to import raw materials to create "local" products. Rather than pointing a finger at Royal Gold and Humboldt Nutrients for lacking an entirely locally sourced product, I believe they should be commended for being local businesses with national reach. I think that says a lot about the potential for export-based industry here, which is what we need to increase cash flows into the county. What I don't get is how just one page prior to this story Wal-Mart avoided being smeared. How much money will they pump out of the county? I praise every local business that turns a profit, creates jobs, exports products out of county, and does its part to make this place a community. Buy local is just a tagline. Being conscious of how your decisions affect the world around you is the real message.

Evan Schwartz, McKinleyville 



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