our adopted hometown, viroqua gets a nice shout out from kathleen merrigan, deputy secretary of the USDA in the atlantic article “Beyond Farmers Markets: Why Local Food Belongs on Grocery Shelves”, “It is happening in Viroqua, Wisconsin, a town of 4,400…”.
kris was attending a community function today with odin and ran into someone new to town who had started reading the website before they moved here. this has happened so many times over the years that i’ve lost count, and really it’s not that surprising given how natural it is for people nowadays to google the area before making a move and run across Odin’s Adventures and Other Things. some people find the whole thing just a bit weird, but i’ve always enjoyed meeting people through the website and hearing how they can relate to this or that Adventure.
i must admit thoug, i’ve always been much more amused to meet the smaller group of people who were reading the site before we moved to lovely southwest wisconsin – one of whom even had a young child named odin:
You may not believe this, but our son Odin West Rhode is the one that moved away from Viroqua. I’m floored! I found your photos just after our boy was born 5/15/06, and for peet’s sake, what’s the odds of you moving to Viroqua.
amusingly, i later borrowed their jigsaw they left behind with a mutual friend and broke it while building the coop for The Girls.
’tis truly a small world after all.
while we think viroqua, our new hometown, has a lot to offer there’s no doubt that living in one of poorest counties in wisconsin comes with unique challenges particularly if you are a small business owner. soon after we moved no less than four local businesses folded, including two pharmacies that had been in business for over a hundred years – the casualties of a new and very controversial walgreens store.
adding insult to injury felix’s, a local clothier that had recently celebrated a 100 years of service to the local community, announced that it would be closing its doors. and it’s not like this is a new phenomenon. our insurance saleman was forced to sell his shoe store that had been owned by his family for decades because they couldn’t compete with the local walmart. according to him, five other shoe stores also went out of business ( it’s astonishing that such a small town could support 6 shoe stores in the first place ).
while there’s a vocal contigent of residents that believe that doing business locally is key to making local economy sustainable, it seems that most residents are voting with their wallets at the big box stores.
"Driving a Prius might induce raptures of eco-moral superiority, but changing the zoning laws would produce a better outcome — and that’s just too hard."
i’d like to think he’s being pessimist, but at the rate the independents are disappearing around here, i guess maybe he’s just a realist.