"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Friday, 27 March 2009

community post offices and shops

“Community means more than the comfort of souls. It means, and has always meant, the survival of the species.” (P Palmer in A Place called Community)

We cannot make real communities happen, warned M. Scott Peck. We: “cannot heal the mess we have made of the world…(without ourselves)… undergoing some kind of spiritual healing.”

That was written twenty years ago and the world is in an even bigger mess.
Lexington Virginia sounds like a good place to live. With its tourists and students it can support a good range of small retail shops and art galleries, a flourishing food co-op and independent bookshops. It also has a Farmer’s Market.
Its residents are kept in touch through a comprehensive website with all the latest local community news, from invitations to informal gardening events to the death announcement of local residents, from birthdays and anniversaries to church meetings. Just to remind us that all is not totally Utopian, it has recently launched a new emergency citizen alert system and it has its share of residents living below the poverty line. But there seems to be plenty to do for its 7000 citizens, and evidence everywhere of a friendliness and civic pride.

Small retail stores form the dynamic core of a real village community. The fact is that local stores are more than simply economic units and profit centers. They offer a place where people can meet and greet, gossip, find help and companionship, as well as buy the occasional greetings card or loaf of bread. They are part of the soul of a healthy village and a supportive community life. Sadly in many areas the large malls and the cheap hypermarkets, which we all go to for convenience and fast shopping and keen prices, are driving those small stores out of business. When local shops lose that support and are forced to close, communities suffer deep fractures. At least support for local produce in farmers markets can go some way to redress the balance.

1 comment:

Scott said...


I can vouch for Lexington, VA! I don't know if it's where I will eventually end up, but I wouldn't mind it if I did.

Community is so important to us as a species, I can't believe we are letting it slip away so easily. Maybe we'll wake up before it's too late.

Take care, and keep the posts coming! (I'm working on it, too :)


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