Local Spirit! --sticker & directory to save Indy Culture!
[UPDATE 10/09: You know how "go local" is big today? Check out the last paragraph. Back in 2002 when I set up this sticker and forum local-style was "huh?" unless you were already a co-op'er. I'm glad to see it catching on, finally. It's doing great in terms of food and music. Let's see it keep spreading!]
What is the Local Spirit Program?
What you do is order these hi-quality vinyl stickers to put on your car, for one thing, to show that you support the cause. Then you give others to worthy businesses to display. Then, via the OYB Local Spirit Forums, let us all know who you've given them to. Qualifying businesses can also order them direct.
So, what's the cause? And what are these businesses?
The cause is to support culture and make it possible for it to exist. It's presently being run out of Dodge.
And here are the Local Spirit forums where you can post tips and notices of places, events, businesses that you think have some special indy vibe, on a state-by-state basis (CAN and MEX, too!).
Here's the small text on the sticker:
Saving America... One Independent Culture at a Time! /
Quality, Owner-Operated Local Business Serving the USA!
Well, see for yourself. Here's a fullsize sticker image:
Let's start by asking What is culture? It's what local people do to get by, and show their kids how to do likewise, without hurting others, without having to move. It's amazing how few modern endeavors can qualify. Culture is sustainable. Our anti-culture has discovered that the most short-term profit can be made by creating weakness, need, fear and vulnerability. All these things are diseases that destroy culture. If we want to keep on living we'll have to accept lower yields.
What are these businesses? They are owner-operated and independent. They serve local products in a local way. With as few middlemen involved as possible and with the most possible cash staying right where it gets spent. They don't have a marketing plan. They don't exploit. They don't charge so much that locals can't use their services. And no customer is pandered to, to the exclusion of others.
In terms of restaurants, these would be places owned by locals that serve local food made with local produce, made from scratch.
In general, these could be multi-generational ("old") outfits. They would be conducive to it, anyway. They wouldn't be messing up their own bed or hockeying in their nest, forcing their children to flee or be exploiters or underlings. They'd be blooming where they were planted and making their town a better place to be.
This is like a revival of the old Duncan Hines stickers and directory of decent places for salesmen to stop around the country to get a meal. Today, there is only known quality at the chain businesses. Indy Biz runs the gamut, and is---like many things---often bad. How many "Mom'n'Pops" are worth doing business with? One in 20? This sticker will help give broader word of mouth impact to those "ones" who need the help.
I was inspired to set this up by RoadFood.com. The Sterns are longtime supporters of indy food. My project is broader. And it involves a sticker.
A *very* funny thing is that I googled the subject of preserving indy biz and I found a few things online: but they were all academic, all grants-based, and *none* of them directly connecting to any indy biz! It was nuts! Basically, all the indy biz "resources" I found online involved *studying* indy biz---and perpetuating our current diseased state. (Grad students scurrying around, getting grants, losing their jobs, moving. No indy biz to be found.)