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Whatever happened to the Butcher, the Baker and the cheesemaker?

So, the inspiration for this post was inspired by my current trip to Colombia. I go daily to the local convenience store for supplies, much like we used to in the olden days...grandpas time. As a child i still recall that people shopped locally, not at the Superstore. And for the most part, the products available at the local stores in my hometown were more than just cigarettes and candy. You could get meat, bread, fresh produce and a premium of course. For value you had to go to the source, hence the butcher, baker and cheesemaker example.

After the Industrial Revolution, many goods that were formally produced using cottage industry were moved to factories, which benefited from a division of labor and a steady workforce. This occured in the late 1700's, although the transition has been slow, we can see the curve beginning to shift back once again to cottage industry production.

In the last few years, many “cottage producers” have begun selling their goods on the internet (like, which can be traded on HowTheMarketWorks with the symbol ETSY, which is entirely dedicated to cottage production), which has led to a resurgence of cottage industry for custom and hand-crafted goods. However, transitioning away from cottage production to industrial production for most goods is still seen as a very important step for developing countries. A good example of this is an affiliate company I work with in Pakistan, a craft knife making company. You can see there premium line of chef knives here. But todays focus is food. Farmers markets, farm stands are fairly typical in most communities these days. Again though, sourcing specialized foods, like craft cheeses, meats, honey are more difficult to source. They are out there, but you have to look for them. A closer look at the industrial revolution also exposes another reason for this decline. When factories were developed, they required a significant labour force, people had to leave there rural communities, and move to major cities.

Back to modern times, and we are seeing a re emrgence of cottage industry. As mentioned above, the internet is having a big influence on this. In my industry, you can find just about any specialized food product with a simple Google search. Here is a great example of a small company supplying specialized "Canadian Foods", wild foods if you will.

In closing I would still like to see more corner stores carrying local products, in addition to the treats and local! Let's bring back the baker, the cheesemaker, the bee keeper, and all the rest of it. It's good for economy, and it's healthier for you and I. Cheers, and have a great week!

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