Invest local, produce local

I want to applaud Jeff Fobes’ commentary on “Invest Local” and his commitment to publishing practical examples and ideas for increasing local investments in our region [”The Local Economy,” March 6 Xpress]. Personally I have met numerous conscious investors interested in having their money build wealth here instead of enriching firms and financial institutions there.

As we learn about local investing opportunities, I think it is also important to consider how our investments can have the greatest local impact. The key is to keep money circulating, or exchanging hands, as much as possible within our region. Hence, a company that exports its goods and services would not be as effective, in this regard, as one that provides for local needs. The more a region can satisfy local demand through its own production, the more prosperous it will be.

Even though manufacturing has plummeted in the last 20 years, it is starting to make a slow comeback. In the area of food, ASAP, AdvantageWest, and others are helping to increase agricultural production and related food processing for our stores and farmers markets. But this is just the beginning.

What if the next presidential visit is to a company that supplies 25 percent of our socks or a small electric car factory? As Jeff says, this is a community effort and it will take a considerable pooling of our resources, ideas and will.

— Howard Nemon
Center for Local Economies
Asheville

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