Tara Goreau: What's Your Local?
My work as a muralist often takes me behind the scenes into agricultural and food businesses around Vermont, where I meet wonderful farmers, food producers and entrepreneurs who are strengthening the economies in relatively remote areas in Vermont. These farmers and food producers have made it possible for me to make my living as a painter. I buy their products when I can and they support my art! It’s an amazing symbiosis that keeps the local food and art economy blooming.
Every bit of money I spend to support farmers, makers or artists re-injects money into the local economy and strengthens it from within. I try to patronize establishments that I know source their food or products from local farms, and I try to shop at small businesses rather than multinational chains. For a while I bartered artwork for a CSA, which was a wonderful relationship as it kept me in supply of fresh, local produce and food products throughout the year.
If it wasn’t for the ever-strengthening local food and art economy in Vermont, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing, which is supporting myself as a full-time artist. I am grateful for establishments that take a chance and employ local artists rather than outsourcing to big-name, big-budget artists from distant cities. Also, if people weren’t supporting local farmers, then a huge chunk of my clientele wouldn’t be buying art. Vermont is an amazing positive environment for artists and businesses to grow and support each other.
Part of living locally is choosing to encourage others around us to succeed in whatever business or creative venture they are pursuing, disregarding the miasma of capitalistic competition. Artists are glad for the successes of other artists, as farmers are supportive of the successes of other farmers. There is growing need for more local food and art, so the more the merrier! My studio door is generally open to other artists, friends and art enthusiasts. There is a sense of camaraderie in this community, and the mindset of the artist community as a whole is mutually supportive. I think many of us truly believe in karma.