Loni Kemp on Live Local -Live Well
February is a good time to hunker down and give ourselves time to reflect. Days are short and nights are long, while the wood stove beckons us to draw near and sit a spell.
As I think about our three decades of living in the country, it strikes me how utterly grateful I am for the blessings of a life lived here amongst our Fillmore County rural communities. The daily benefits are so abundant that one might easily take them for granted. I vow to be more observant and appreciative for the rural life we live here.
The motto adopted by Lanesboro Local is “Live Local. Live Well.” It captures the organization’s hopes of expanding the regional rural economy by connecting rural producers and rural consumers. But it is not just about helping our neighbors earn a good living. Nor is it just about our opportunity to eat some of the most delicious food produced anywhere, or to buy meaningful crafts and gifts. It is also about the joy of being part of communities that look inward to solve our own problems and create our own well-being.
I often write of the gifts of nature. Our wooded hills, verdant valleys, and productive farms form the setting for ever-changing delights. These are free to everyone who can open their eyes. The seasons, the weather, the moonrise and the sunrise provide new wonders every day. Black cattle against the snow; white lambs on green pastures; a soaring black eagle with white head and tail-all are just outside my window. Even the changing smells throughout the year say, “Wake up! Pay attention.”
I treasure the can-do, help-your-neighbor mentality that thrives here. It seems we all raised our children to make things, fix things, and grow things. I believe that a very satisfying life is created when we make it ourselves.
An increasingly important pleasure for me is buying some of our food and goods from local producers. Our neighbors bring me fresh brown eggs every week and homemade sausage when they butcher, gifts at which I never stop marveling. Another neighbor sold us a quarter beef of the finest, leanest, tastiest meat we’ve ever had.
Lanesboro Local brings in a whole new dimension, where we’ve created a Marketplace for local goods and foods. I’m totally hooked on delicious Kapper’s milk, Liz’s salad greens, and a variety of excellent cheeses, meats, and chips, all made within this region. I’d much rather spend my money here than a faceless Walmart.
As I reflect on rural life, I guess what I’m most thankful for is the sense of place. We feel firmly rooted, here in this particular landscape, in these overlapping human communities. It is not paradise here or anywhere else; people die tragically, and tornados and floods devastate. Yet we can trust that our communities will care and the seasons will turn. I’d rather live here than anywhere else on earth.
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