Food access is like a utility, you have to it have for a town to exist
November 26, 2019 11:42 AM   Subscribe

... in many rural, conservative communities struggling to hang on to their remaining residents, ideological arguments about the role of government tend to be cast aside as grocery stores shutter because of population decline and competition from superstores. “Fundamentally, what you have is people that have lived in these rural communities all their lives, and they want these rural communities to survive,” [David Procter, who directs the Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University, told the Post]. “And they realize that without access to food, they’re not going to survive.” When a deep red town’s only grocery closed, city hall opened its own store. Just don’t call it ‘socialism.’ (Washington Post; also available via MSN) posted by filthy light thief (26 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Previously, by some filthy light thief: How Dollar General kills off local grocery stores.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


The whole "don't call it socialism" makes me think of the whole promoting "Obamacare" in red states without saying it's "Obamacare."
posted by knownassociate at 12:05 PM on November 26, 2019 [13 favorites]


Hey, I drove through there a few weeks ago and live in the next county over. I may use this in conversations with locals in my area, who tend to lean red obviously, as a casual 'haha, look at this thing go' but these type of folks can shrug off anything that's local-enough. It's just when *BIG Gubment* tries to get involved do they go about voting against their own interest and denying themselves and others things that don't matter mostly like, ya'know, medical care and safety nets and job protections. But no, that town owned marina (or in this case grocery store) has got to stay open!!!
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


*screams from the back of the theatre* MUNICIPALISM
posted by The Whelk at 12:11 PM on November 26, 2019 [43 favorites]


But no, that town owned marina (or in this case grocery store) has got to stay open!!!

People hate free riders and strangers, somewhat irrationally. "big government" programs help "those people" but the local city-owned non-profit grocery store helps nice old people on fixed incomes. Very logical!
posted by GuyZero at 12:13 PM on November 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


People hate free riders and strangers, somewhat irrationally.

It's less about irrationality and more about the rationality of racism, most of the time in most places in the US.
posted by PMdixon at 12:17 PM on November 26, 2019 [12 favorites]


These parasites with their government handouts should try working for a living and move to the city like proper Americans.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


Tongue firmly in cheek there
posted by MartinWisse at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Damn red state trumputian commies.
posted by sammyo at 12:19 PM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


[Please let's not do the fake-or-is-it-real contempt for rural people thing. Fake or real, either way it doesn't lead anywhere good.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:24 PM on November 26, 2019 [19 favorites]


"The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to "End Poverty in California" I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them."

Upton Sinclair 1951
posted by lalochezia at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2019 [34 favorites]


Sinclair didn't have to deal with the "dirtbag left" calling him a neoliberal sell-out, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:28 PM on November 26, 2019 [15 favorites]


The funny thing is, rural farming cooperatives and electric cooperatives were a common thing 80 years ago. I guess that was Democratic New Deal policy though.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:30 PM on November 26, 2019 [12 favorites]


People hate free riders and strangers, somewhat irrationally. "big government" programs help "those people" but the local city-owned non-profit grocery store helps nice old people on fixed incomes. Very logical!

I don't have the stats to prove this, but I'd bet a shiny silver dollar that the substrate is racism. In the South, people drink in the idea that "public" institutions are grimy, unsafe, substandard money sinks. People who can afford not to use them don't. And minorities, having less wealth in general, are stuck with the public schools, libraries, etc. The quality spirals as the electorate becomes less and less willing to fund things that they see as for Those People. They'll cut off their nose to spite their face.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:42 PM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


Sinclair didn't have to deal with the "dirtbag left" calling him a neoliberal sell-out, though.

Paul Mattick called him quite a bit worse: Upton Sinclair on the road to fascism?
posted by graymouser at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bee'sWing: The funny thing is, rural farming cooperatives and electric cooperatives were a common thing 80 years ago.

Rural electric co-ops are still a big thing (Cooperative.com map of electric cooperatives).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:55 PM on November 26, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think running for office as a socialist in 1930 was a... bit of a different experience than in 2020.
posted by Automocar at 1:43 PM on November 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


The first volume of Robert Caro's LBJ biography tells the story of rural electrification in Texas during the great depression. My father's step father worked digging holes and stringing wire during those years. Derelict or halfway abandoned Coops are like Grange halls or Masonic Temples--you saw them in small towns all over.
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:48 PM on November 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


When I saw this story the other day, I predicted a Whelk post. I feel I should get half credit.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:35 PM on November 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


Rural electric co-ops are still a big thing (Cooperative.com map of electric cooperatives).

The data probably isn't available, but I wish that map showed their actual geographic coverage, rather than point locations.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:14 PM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


When I saw this story the other day, I predicted a Whelk post. I feel I should get half credit.

Apologies for metametawank, but I just wanted to say this sort of thing is why I love metafilter so very very much.
posted by hearthpig at 4:29 PM on November 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


The funny thing is, rural farming cooperatives and electric cooperatives were a common thing 80 years ago.

Not the point of this article, but my grandmother had a mug advertising her rural electric cooperative that said "Electricity: for all your energy needs."

Must have been a good mug because I just drank out of it a year or two ago and it seemed to be holding up just fine. I believe they first got electricity in the 50s.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:23 PM on November 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


I predicted a Whelk post. I feel I should get half credit.

(I couldn’t find a non paywall link)
posted by The Whelk at 5:38 PM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


All I can think of is having to drive my mother who was on oxygen forty-five minutes to see the doctor while she was gasping for breath. The dearth of good medical centers is even scarier.
posted by effluvia at 12:51 PM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


An acquaintance of mine just wrote an interesting piece on how a similar situation was handled in St. John, KS.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:10 PM on November 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


From your link: “Dollar General is the biggest threat to small-town America,” Jordan White says. “If they didn’t exist, we could do this in every town.”

Damn.
posted by Monochrome at 1:36 PM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older The Invention of Thanksgiving   |   Death And The Family Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments