Friday, May 29, 2009

The Noble Anonymity of Zeros and Ones

Dear Anonymous:

Thanks for your comments. Your assessment that we aren't working hard and that nothing is going on at the store is spot on...perhaps you could come down and lend a hand since apparently we are in such rough shape.

Better yet, why don't you swing by so we can show you the business plan, research, tower of documents, licenses, contracts, vendor agreements, project schedules, tasks completed etc...none of which existed a few short months ago.

Don't forget, all of this was completed with one hand tied behind our backs, blindfolded in a pit of crocodiles, while contending with the constant onslaught of disgruntled neighbors, state and local agencies, and limited resource.

We are doing the absolute best we can under extraordinarily challenging circumstances, and are all very, very proud of what we have achieved in such little time.

Defiantly and Undeterredly Yours,

The Long Trail Community Market

...and yes...I do enjoy adding "ly" the the end of adjectives.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Open Source Kitchen

For the past few years I have been absolutely fascinated with open source technology-which allows for public collaboration on a variety of design, development and distribution aspects related to the access of software source code. The concept of socially applying this process has been of particular interest, and to test viability in our market, we will be starting with the kitchen. This means that all proprietary notions will be ceremoniously chucked out the window. Every recipe we produce will be made publicly available, and yes, this includes our famous Backcountry Pizza.

So at this point I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves "Why would they do this? Are they simply a bunch of idealistic nutters who haven't a clue?" The answer has got to be an unequivocal yes, however that stands far apart from the logic in switching to an open source culinary practice. In reality, there will always be someone to buy our food, plain and simple. The majority of people coming through our doors just don't have the time. However, the honorable souls who still cook their own meals deserve our respect. The least we can do is give them new recipes for healthy, cost effective meals they can enjoy year-round.

To help bring the loop full circle, we introduce the concept of reciprocity. Our hope is that when someone takes a recipe home to try out, they will share the outcomes with us. If they find a new ingredient that really makes the dish, or discover that it cooks better at 475F rather than 450F, we want to know about it. Undoubtedly, things will be creatively chaotic at first, but when we have enough content, we can establish a wiki to streamline the process, and expand the circle beyond our geographical region.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Concept Series Part 1: The Aesthetic

This post marks the launch of a new series intended to discuss the concepts and practices that will be implemented at the Long Trail Community Market. This forum is designed to generate a process that considers the implementation and evaluation. Please contribute your ideas.

The Aesthetic

The LTCM is largely an aesthetic driven process, in which business is subject. In this context, every function and object of the entity can be judged. By viewing the subject in this way, an alternative perception is intrinsically generated, and an entity designed to generate financial return is now experienced and evaluated through a new set of standards.

What it really boils down to is this-financial return is one potential outcome of business operation, but there are other results and other goals that are of equal value when viewed apart from the financial implications. For example, if I stock a local product, I can say that I support local business. Under an aesthetic process I can now look at this statement and give judgment based on an expanded set of standards. Am I stocking local products because they sell and because they carry a premium? If my sole motivation is to generate revenue, and I view the customer loyalty or sense of affiliation simply as byproduct, what have I lost? That loss, as perceived by each stakeholder becomes one measure through which the business is valued. On the other hand, if I sell a local product because I know the producer or I appreciate the process through which their product was generated, and I can communicate that, the connection generates community capital. The generation of community capital, and how it is affected on the region becomes yet another standard by which the business is evaluated.

Up Next…The Open Source Kitchen

Phone Service

We finally have a phone set up at LTCM. Our number is 802.434.7197

I would like to briefly thank Diane and Patti for helping out with the design process today. It's going to be beautiful when we are finished!

Monday, May 18, 2009

LTCM under attack...and other news :-)


I’ve decided to write a final post on the boycott after receiving a particularly amusing comment, in which LTCM becomes the latest target of the Huntington boycott…a real shocker to be sure. I’m still waiting for someone to justify a relevant connection between the issue with the roads and the Richmond businesses. It’s pretty clear that Brown found the first thing that popped up on the Richmond radar and ran with it. I don’t claim any moral or intellectual victory, there is none to be had. Everyone looses-except the few, myself included-who are mildly entertained.’s hard to find the high ground when you’re operating a business below sea level. Here’s my final statement on the matter: You are not going to win hearts and minds by attempting to fill in the potholes with your vitriolic material.

…and in a completely unrelated, unsolicited advertisement for the Film Buzz; I’d like to recommend the movie Batman Begins, in which the nefarious League of Shadows attempts to destroy Gotham City through economic ruin…rent the movie and see how it turns out for them!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Welcome to Jonesville!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jonesville, let me provide you with a brief history and education. The community was historically used for agriculture and light enterprise. Eventually it was zoned commercial, but is largely predominated by residential. It’s in a flood plain, sort of…and this makes everything a bit more challenging. Homeowners are required by law to give FEMA their first-born child in exchange for DRB approval on a fence or shed. Businesses are encouraged to build their foundations atop a flotilla of inflatable pool toys, and farmers are required to grow invasive species to plant along the riverbeds.

In a few weeks, I’ll be opening the Long Trail Community Market on the site previously inhabited by the Jonesville Country Store. In keeping with tradition I want to honor the roots of the establishment, while bringing a unique view to the project. I’ve been asked to reflect on what the future holds for the site. Here is my plan.

First, I’ll be annexing the adjacent commercial properties. When they are up to code, I’ll turn them into housing for undocumented workers. In exchange for food and shelter, they have offered to surround the entire property with a moat. Liberty Head will be furnishing our drawbridge, and they have agreed to work in giant redwood-my favorite! A few neighbors were caught gallivanting about my garden last week, molesting my raspberry bushes, so after I sic our local property owners’ champion on them (I hear she will staple a “No Trespassing” sign directly onto flesh for a small fee), I plan on hiring a group of militant lawn gnomes to patrol the grounds. The store itself will undergo a drastic transformation. I’ll be adding three more stories, the first of which will be a luxury hotel for Long Trail hikers. The cost of an overnight stay will be largely subsidized by a tax imposed on area residents, as collected by the militant lawn gnomes riding miniature snow machines. The second will features holodecks, and the third will sport an organic greenhouse. The rooftop is planned as a solar garden, helipad and revolving coffee bar. Barack Obama has authorized an economic stimulus grant for the project worth $1.8 million, but I am still accepting donations. The DRB has approved the plan, and we will begin work next week. Feel free to stop in and pick up your tax forms…you don’t want to get “gnomed” at year's end!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More on Richmond Roads

I agree completely with Jim’s comment and Tom’s initial contention that the Town of Richmond did not adequately prepare and maintain their secondary roads during the bridge closure. Huntington residents and Richmond area businesses were inconvenienced by the decision.

My primary hope is to generate a dialogue between residents in both towns regarding a more appropriate method of response. Targeting independently owned and operated businesses is the least compassionate option on the table, and there are alternative options. Concerned individuals should put their energy towards a collective response to the Town of Richmond.

Regarding the second set of comments; I want to put forward the view that “town” does not always equal “community.” The strongest connections between Richmond and Huntington are found in the arts, education and agriculture, not municipal identity. If “community” is viewed solely in the municipal context, it is convenient to link Richmond business to the Town of Richmond. When “community” is viewed in a complete context, the link is much harder to invent.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tom Brown's Letter

It has taken me a bit of time to digest Tom Brown’s letter, which recently appeared in the Times Ink. I found it particularly distressing to learn that Richmond businesses have become the target of an aggrieved Huntington resident who is dissatisfied with town road conditions. I took exception to comments that intimate a desire to generate a “band-wagon” mentality around his central points, all of which are punctuated by a final statement that amounts to “our foreman’s dump truck is bigger than your foreman’s dump truck.”

Early on, Brown states his belief in supporting local business, especially when economic hardship presents. Not surprisingly, he spends the rest of his letter moving away from his own moral ground, offering a romanticized and insular view of the situation. By careful omission, Brown implies that Richmond businesses are indifferent to the very real challenges that face Huntington’s commuting population. This faulty incrimination is central to his attempted link between independent business and town policy.

Brown ignores the reality that many Huntington residents who conduct business in Richmond would be equally affected. His misdirected assault will hurt artists who sell their work in town, and agricultural producers who operate seasonally at the farmer’s market and year round through local markets. Huntington residents employed at local eateries will loose tip wages, and Huntington service providers will loose revenue if the Richmond operations they contract with can’t afford their services anymore. There is a high level of integration between the two complementary economies. What hurts one, has a great potential to hurt the other.

OneRichmond grew organically out of a necessity to preserve the local economy and community spirit. It has rallied the greatest show of solidarity and individual participation Richmond has experienced in years. Brown satirically implies that the recent efforts of OneRichmond and RABA are a “quest,” ephemeral and distant. I strongly disagree with his assertion. I believe their efforts have formed concretely into a directive that encourages community participation and economic vitality, all of which extends to the Huntington communities.

No one disputes that this bridge closing and subsequent road closures have isolated and disenfranchised residents in Richmond and Huntington. Residents are empowered to hold towns accountable for the diligent maintenance of safe roads. Those who express their views and advocate a peaceful and considered process should be celebrated, while those who attempt to fracture common bonds and damage community relations should look to their communities for healthy alternatives.

Sunday, May 3, 2009