What is Localism? Can it really work in Fresno?

lo·cal·ism [loh-kuh-liz-uhm] : a philosophy that puts a priority on local economics.

Simply put, it is the idea of buying local, local control of government and the promotion of local history, culture and identity.  I ask why have we not embraced the idea years ago? With the eclectic population we host in the area there is an endless supply of culture and diversity that the mainstream public doesn't even know about or have the opportunity to enjoy. Now, throw in the reduced carbon footprint and cost savings that localism promotes and Fresno has the ideal mix for a successful localism movement!  

We can promote this idea more.  We must promote this idea more. 
I do realize Fresno has a “buy local” campaign, (I don’t live in a cave all the time) but we as a public need to start thinking differently. It is time to change the status quo and start acting (not just thinking) outside the box. We need a more walk-able  livable and climate friendly community to leave as a legacy for our children and grandchildren.
In theory, localism sounds great and it’s something Craig Scharton, from the City of Fresno, has been preaching from the day I met him on a brisk morning back in 2009. Craig gave me my first tour of the Fulton Mall and invited me into a discussion about where the downtown area should be heading.  I for one am very excited that the City of Fresno gets it! Fresno seems to understand where to start researching our past mistakes and how far back to look in an effort to make right the mistakes of our predecessors in planning to best move downtown revitalization forward.
I have often wondered why, when we live in one of the most productive areas in the country, we don’t have a co-op of growers, craftsmen, winemakers, artist, bakeries and such; much like Seattle’s’ PIKES PLACE market. California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities, the state produces nearly half of the U.S. – grown fruits, nuts and vegetables and Fresno County is the nations’ leading agricultural county with nearly 5 billion a year in farm product sales.

When I began looking at this issue it sounded wonderful, almost silver bullet wonderful. Oh, what I would give to have a resource like this in the downtown area. It just seems to logical not to already be in place. Fresno has the agriculture, artisans, craftsman, restaurants, bakers and winemakers; Fresno has the space on the Fulton Mall; The City of Fresno is looking for more anchors for the downtown area.  Will somebody just do this, (not so small project) and give our community a venue to show off all Fresno County has to be proud of? 
“Changing a local economic system starts by changing its most basic industries: agriculture, energy, manufacturing, retail, building and transportation and capital. When these sectors are transformed into localized, sustainable, green- and community-focused industries, the entire economy is transformed.” 

photo credit: prayitno via photopin cc