Saturday, December 8, 2012

Your Local Going Local

Photo by Joe McGarity

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This Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by Palo Cedro Printing, a locally owned green printer, Palo Cedro Printing and by Winston, the cat with his initial on his forehead, available now at Stillwater Cat Haven 365-4861.

Local musician Will Miller helped kick off the opening ceremonies for Going Local, an organization dedicated to strengthening our communities by buying local whenever possible and supporting local businesses by among other things, networking over a cup of cold-brewed coffee.

“We’re not a coffee shop here, but people can come in and serve themselves a cup and give a donation if they like and try out this new way to make coffee.”

The Fantom Penguin sat down with Christine Mitchell and discussed Going Local over just such a cup.

“This is really just our corporate headquarters.  We’re waiting until we can raise more money and we can get a new floor and have things up to code and then we would like to become a coffee shop, but right now, like I say, this is our headquarters.  We have some events here, meetings, films.”

 “We focus on community; community issues, community businesses and farmers.  We promote eating local produce.  We promote local artists, musicians, as I said local businesses.  We believe we need to keep the money here in this community as well as help the environment by not having goods transported over thousands of miles.  We also have meetings here of something called Transitions, which is a movement all over the world where people are trying to focus on their communities and do what they can do to help their own communities.”

 “We do have some events.  Last Saturday we had musicians and some people selling their arts and crafts.”

That was my next question.  Those were the businesses, the vendor tables that we saw at your opening event.  What sorts of businesses?  It looked like quite a variety.

“It was.  We had Moseley Winery.  We had the Social Yogurt Shop, people who make arts and crafts, jewelry.”

“We encourage non-profits to come and share with everyone the things that they’re doing.”

If a certain group wanted to use your place for a meeting like a book meeting or maybe an event or a meeting for women who have survived, let’s say breast cancer, can they get a hold of you?

“Yes, we would love to have them or if people want to have a special event like someone asked me about a wedding reception.  They could do that at very reasonable rates.  Now a non-profit, we would only ask them for the most part, if they had a meeting say, to take up a collection to help us out.  If they were having some sort of fundraiser then we might ask a little more but we’re very flexible.”

“Our primary message is shop local.  Keep your money in your community.  Don’t help the big corporations; help your neighbors who have businesses in your own town.  Help your environment by not buying goods that are shipped hundreds of thousands of miles.”

“If anyone would like to find out about this organization call (530) 244-4699 or (530) 917-0771.  They can also email me at”

The new Going Local facility is located at 1410 Beltline Road in the old Mary’s Restaurant Building.

Money and Vaule

Merry Christmas, Northstate!

I’ve been thinking lately about the difference between “money” and “value”.  When I first set out on this project, I needed a way to make money but I didn’t know how to go about it.  I had experience producing and editing video, but it’s real up-hill battle writing a resume to convince someone to hire you as a producer (or more likely a production assistant) and it’s probably a job that you’d have to relocate to accept.  Then a radical idea rolled through my brain.  (It’s not the first time radicals have been found there.)  I thought, people get paid for doing this kind of thing all the time.  Obviously this work has value.  Perhaps if I just begin making videos that have value, at some point in the future I will have a valuable body of work, something that I could make a living with or at the very least I would have a portfolio of work that would be more impressive to a potential employer than the cleverest resume could ever hope to be.

The next question that I faced was, “What sort of video articles would have the most value?”  And I asked myself this question in the most general terms.  “Value to whom?” was the next thing that went through my mind.  (Actually “Value to who” is what my brain said, but I’m a newspaper editor now.)  Well, to anyone I suppose; to anyone and everyone.  What kind of stories would have value to everyone?  Hmm.  What if I just talked to people who are already doing something to make their community better?  Maybe I can just tell the public what those sorts of folks are doing and how people could themselves get involved.  That way each and every video will have value to someone and taken together they would have a value to the community.  And if they have value for the community, the community will give me money.

But will people take me seriously?  I’m not a reporter.  I’m just some guy.  Well, it turns out that it’s a lot like the guy who believes he’s Napoleon.  He won’t acknowledge you unless you call him Napoleon.  He won’t respond to you unless you treat him like Napoleon.  Because he won’t accept any other version of reality, eventually everyone around him treats him that way because there is no other way to interact with him.  Okay.  Being a reporter is like that.  You just start telling people that you are one.  You talk to people and you print what they say and you hope that no one figures out that you are not really a reporter.  By the time they do, you’ll have almost a hundred stories written and you might actually start to believe in your own delusion.

I thought that businesses would just sort of buy advertising space in a sort of impersonal transaction, like buying bread at the grocery store.  They have it.  You need it.  They give it.  You pay it.  That’s that.  But that’s not what happened.  My experience has been personal.  Each and every advertiser in the Fantom Penguin is here because they appreciate the value of making a positive difference in this community.  They like the paper and they like me.  I can’t remain a shadowy phantom.  It’s emotional and it’s humbling, but it’s definitely not impersonal.  I’ve allowed myself a little personal pride at the number of advertisements in this issue and the quality of the advertisers who trade with the Fantom Penguin.  I challenge my readers to thank them for their efforts in making the Northstate a better place to live.  With them, it’s personal.