Chris Story mentioned in his post-election opinion piece that Lindianne Sarno had a program to harbor chickens within the city of Homer to create an economic boom, and this made him go “huh?”
To set the record straight: I mentioned chickens at the Homer Voice for Business meeting as an example of a principle of economic development called Import Substitution. Import Substitution boosts a regional economy with this question: What are we importing from Outside that we could grow here? If Kachemak Bay produced all the chicken, onions, potatoes and carrots we needed, how much money would remain in our local economy?
Let’s do the math. About 5,000 families here on Kachemak Bay consume 52 chickens per year ($250), 50 pounds of carrots a year ($50), 100 pounds of onions ($100), and 100 pounds of potatoes a year ($100): $500 x 5,000 for those four commodities would keep $2.5 million in our local economy annually.
Money that stays here benefits our local economy. Money siphoned to Outside corporations is gone for good.
How many businesses and jobs would be created to produce, process, store and market these commodities locally: a quarter million chickens, a quarter million carrots, half a million potatoes, and half a million onions?
What if we did the same for eggs, milk, butter, cheese, cream and ice cream? Instead of bringing Ben and Jerry’s from Vermont, we could have the Kachemak Creamery.
There, Chris. You don’t have to say “huh?” anymore.
And you know what? I don’t have to be mayor for folks in this region to take up Import Substitution.