Trickle-down Economics (and the magic Loonie)
When you buy locally, trickle-down economics is a real thing.
Or maybe a better way to describe it would be to call it ripple-out economics. Either way, a single purchase has a profound indirect effect, and it’s something you should be thinking about when you buy from a locally owned or small producer.
Take our beef as an example. When you buy a pound of ground beef, you’re supporting a small farmer and that’s great. But that’s not all you’re doing, because it cost a lot of money to grow that delicious beef and that money is often going to OTHER small businesses. A loonie becomes a magic loonie.
This isn’t to blow our own horn about spending locally. It’s that you may be getting to know us fairly well, but you may not know about all the other people your patronage supports. So let's meet some!
There's Randy, another nearby farmer and great guy. Our cows are 100% grass fed, which means that 6 or 7 months of the year they are 100% hay fed. Much of this hay we obtain by work-sharing with another farmer who has all the haying equipment. He gets the much needed labour help, and we get discounted hay. Both of us end up doing better than we would on our own.
In addition to this hay, we buy some from a friendly man named Paul. He is getting towards retirement and scaling back on his beef, so his focus is more on producing hay. Several times a winter he brings us a load pulled by his patched up pickup and after I unload his trailer we chat about the weather for about 20 minutes.
Another cost is in livestock hauling. When it comes time to send an animal for beef, a young man named Nathan comes to pick it up with his small livestock trailer. He works shift work as well as farms, and does a little hauling on the side for extra money. He almost always shows up with his wife in the passenger seat and little baby in the back – out for a family drive.
The beef go to a local abattoir (slaughterhouse & butcher) run by Jeff, who is extremely accommodating of our not-so-simple Texas Longhorns. These small businesses have slowly closed down across the province and been consolidated into bigger and bigger operations...this is the only one within 100km of us.
We are incredibly lucky to have one so close, because it means much less stress on the animals and on us. This abattoir does a thankless job that many don’t think about, but without them rural livestock agriculture would grind to a halt.
A local abattoir also means employing local people. A few weekends ago at Taste of the Valley I saw one of their workers, Corey, who I often chat with when picking up beef or skulls. He was dressed in uniform and kerchief, leading a Scout group of kids raising money at the event.
And that's just a few examples from our particular business. Think about all the other connections these people have with their communities as well. If you think about it, a dollar spent locally can be passed around many, many times - one spent otherwise can sometimes be gone from the community forever. That magic loonie can really be shared by a whole group of people, who maybe now you know a little bit better.
So thank you!
Willie & Jorie