It shouldn't be a secret to even semi-irregular readers of this blog that I come from New England. Massachusetts is my home state, but I spent a fair amount of time in Vermont, either hanging around with some unreconstructed hippie types or, some years later, chasing ruffed grouse and whitetail deer. Vermont has a number of interesting episodes in its history. Of more relevance today is an initiative it's pursuing with the support of the Donella Meadows Institute, Vermont's New Economy. We've mentioned that effort before in these posts. We're bringing it up again in response to a guest posting of February 5 on Aaron Brown's Minnesota Brown blog. Both that post and the comments are worth a read if you care about northern Minnesota in general and the Iron Range in particular.
northern Minnesota, Lake Superior
Photo by J. Harrington
I'm aware of and sensitive to the Minnesotan "not invented here" syndrome, but I also have concerns about how many times the wheel has to be reinvented. Vermont is basing its New Economy on "new approaches to food, energy, business, and finance that strive for wellbeing over growth....Through initiatives such as community food and energy networks, local investment opportunities, worker-owned businesses, cooperatives, and more, communities across Vermont are exploring new ways of structuring the economy. Their successes offer important examples of how a more participatory, resilient, value-driven economy can bring positive change to Vermont and other states." Their New Economy's focus on local solutions fits well with one of my recommended approaches to rural economic development, Economic Gardening. If insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expect different results, maybe it wouldn't be too insane for the Range and its leaders to consider a New Economy that places more emphasis on creating the infrastructure needed to grow local businesses and the cooperation required to support local Main Streets.
A Room in the Past
It’s a kitchen. Its curtains fillwith a morning light so brightyou can’t see beyond its windowsinto the afternoon. A kitchenfalling through time with its thingsin their places, the dishes jinglingup in the cupboard, the bucketof drinking water rippled as ifa truck had just gone past, but that truckwas thirty years. No one’s at homein this room. Its counter is wiped,and the dishrag hangs from its nail,a dry leaf. In housedresses of mist,blue aprons of rain, my grandmothermoved through this life like a ghost,and when she had finished her years,she put them all back in their placesand wiped out the sink, turning her backon the rest of us, forever.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.