Another Urban Garden at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive Garland Texas 3/3/2014
This is what "local" looks like at my place this morning. If you went over to Charlies, you would see three large pots with blueberry bushes sitting in his family room. Likely there are similar urban garden scenes all over the metroplex.
I was thinking this morning as I updated the website for Loving Garland Green that perhaps not everyone yet understands all the implications (for their own well-being in particular) of supporting local.
Local Urban Agriculture Is Important to the Health of Any Community--economic and physical health
With over 80 percent of the American population living in metropolitan centers, urban farming has the ability to dramatically enhance economic growth, increase food quality, and build healthier communities. We in Garland are lucky to have a mayor who understands the value of urban gardens.
Economic benefits realized through urban farming are local and keep dollars circulating through the community. Urban farms also have a great return on investment, with every $1 invested in a community garden generating $6 worth of vegetables.
Community food enterprises are actually competitive with big-box retailers. As one report puts it:
“In recent years CFEs have discovered that they actually have unique advantages over bigger companies. They have a deeper awareness of local tastes and markets, they can obtain consumer feedback more quickly, and they can tweak their business models more swiftly. They can deliver goods and services faster, with shorter distribution links and smaller inventories. They can rely more on word-of¬mouth advertising that costs nothing.”
Local is Even More Specific than Some May Realize
We are all so busy that many of us don't even realize the consequences of our choices as consumers (although I do think we are improving). For example, while it's true that most of the dollars spent at a chain retail store do leave your commuity within 24 hours of your purchase, did you know that it matters where the retain chain store is located? For example, if I purchase goods subject to Texas sales tax in Garland, where I live, then 2% of that tax will go to support my municipality. However, if I go to a grocery chain store located in Sachse, for example, the city of Garland does not receive a cent of any money that I spend in that store. It will go to support the city of Sachse.
And speaking of our sales tax, I don't know how it works for other cities in the DFW area, but here in Garland, 1% of the 2% of the Texas sales tax that we get on taxable purchases made in our community goes to DART.
I don't know about you, but as for me, I'm fed up with many of these quasi government/private enterprise "partnerships." It seems to me the ledgers on these "partnerships" are divided so that the taxpapers pay all the expenses (anything on the debit side of the ledger) while the private owners and their investors reap all the benefits on the profit side. We get the debit side and they get the credit side.
Maybe there is something I'm missing here in this agreement my city has with DART, but it seems to me in a partnership the taxpayers should be getting some of the rewards in terms of the profit that is being made. It's one thing to give a hand up to folks in need, but our welfare for the wealthy needs to end.
Of course the argument is that the people of Garland have public transportation--but really, folks, what is the true cost to the taxpayers for this deal? What does that ledger really look like? I rather suspect that it is heavily tipped toward the private owners and their investors. How much is DART really making off the people of Garland and other municipalities in our area?