By Tom Havran
The first real car I bought was a well-used, forest green 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle with a cracked windshield, a heating system that “warmed” the interior with choking exhaust fumes and a carburetor with its own bipolar-disordered mind. At some point in its history, the car had acquired a “Think Globally, Act Locally” bumper sticker, the feature that ultimately charmed me into shelling out my entire savings of $1,300 to bring the wreck home.
My bug was born in a time when local community co-ops and natural foods buying clubs were well-established alternatives to mainstream supermarkets and the canned, plastic-wrapped and flash-frozen foods they offered. My car proudly sported its bumper sticker on trips to my quirky and fabulous local natural food co-op.
But the resonance of the phrase “Think Globally, Act Locally” was diminished somewhat during the late 1980s through the early 2000s, when small community natural foods outlets began to disappear. I came to Frontier in 1993 and the process was in full swing. Each month brought more store closings, buy-outs and conversions into the big chain natural markets that are everywhere in urban and suburban areas today, with their shelves and coolers filled to bursting with exotic, gourmet-specialty and imported foods as well as natural and organic offerings. Back in the 90s, my ’74 beetle seemed to be as obsolete as those co-ops with their bulk bins, small bakeries, juice bars, crates of local produce and often volunteer staff. The situation troubled me. If acting locally wasn’t saving the co-ops how could merely thinking globally protect anything on a planetary scale? Continue reading