Locally sourced manufactured products

I don’t know, it’s a phrase I just typed. What is it? You tell me!

I think it might be really important for figuring how to be humans with kindness to each other and the planet, though.

Maybe you can tell me about an example of such a thing that you know about?

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Random example

Some years ago a storm uprooted many of the trees in our local forests. This company uses (at least that’s what they claim) the wood from these fallen trees to make a passive smartphone speaker.

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Honey is one of my favorite locally sourced manufactured products.

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A wide array of crafts would fit this I think: furniture in the Northeastern US, being a good example.

Here in Hawai‘i there is a particular kind of hat that is made from reeds. Not exactly a manufacture process, but it does involve a community of practice to keep the hats getting made; an individual can and often does all of the labor to make one but most who do are also in a group that shares the burden.

I guess for me the “locally sourced” would mean much/all of the functional elements come from whatever distance/mechanism is defining “local” (here on Hawai‘i that could be an island or it could be an ahupua‘a).

Unless a more systematic landfill parts-reclamation were undertaken I think electronics wouldn’t really be possible “locally” for most places. Think foraging for caps etc.

“Manufacture” I’m not sure about. Feels like it implies a certain scale: people employed or products produced. Both of which might exceed the capacity of “local” or maybe that scale would be relative to the locality.

Or perhaps “manufacture” implies something about the system of production: specialists, assembly lines, workers/tools/robots. Or the real estate: centralized large workfloors vs distributed piece-work.

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It’s really interesting to think about whether “electronic music” can be “locally sourced”.

In order to make electronic music, I believe you need a way of creating, modifying, storing, and replaying temporal patterns. There are some very simple electronic circuits capable of such things, but perhaps they still require processes and systems beyond the scope of piece-work? I wonder…

Certainly integrated circuits are going to be out of the question for most communities and I think that means we should be taking a pretty hard look at the degree to which these components are central to our activities, and what that might mean for sustainability of those activities.

Do we improve our local ability to do things such as manufacture integrated circuits? Or do we find ways and means of creating things that achieve similar goals without requiring such components and their intendant processes?

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This is something that I think about a lot - what things would we need to let go of to make a sustainable society? Does my current creative practice, which is facilitated by a norns/grid, 9U of modular, and electric guitar/pedalboard, fit into that world?

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My wife has an art gallery. By no means is everything local, but a good amount is. The best example is a woodworker who lives down the street, who makes beautiful boards and boxes entirely from local fallen trees that he has harvested the wood from. Also a painter of abstract landscapes who lives across the street.

And a lot of our vendors are based in New England, where we can periodically visit them and they can visit us.

On the other hand, we also carry work from the UK, the Pacific Northwest, Arctic Canada and many other places. It’s great to represent local artists, but it’s also great to represent artists from far flung places… I’m looking forward to finding more cool art around here, of course!

Oh, is art a manufactured product? I think so…

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The big thing that comes to mind is reuse of existing devices. Of course many of these are not designed (yet) for reuse.

Honestly though I think the phrase locally sourced is a bit of a chimera, perhaps a stand-in for responsible/ethical manufacturing and not an end in itself, when you consider the extensive far-flung trade routes that go back literally thousands of years.

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