We just love all the chatter over at Golden Gekko about independent garden centers vs. big boxes. In the world of books and publishing, the argument goes something like this: if a people at a few big chains make all the buying decisions, they have the power to influence what gets published. And that, in turn, has the power to influence what gets written. And pretty soon we’ve got a free speech issue on our hands. Barbara Kingsolver says that she would still be working at her day job if not for the support of her local (and now defunct) independent bookseller.
So you can see how quickly these arguments get beyond the "gosh, we miss those cute little Main Street shops, but we sure do love those low prices" debates. Books are not shoes, I always tell people. Buy your shoes at Target, it’s none of my business. But buy your books from an indie.
But what about gardening? What’s at stake? Our liberty? Our freedom? Our planet? Maybe. In an era when homeowners associations can threaten to take your house away if you don’t plant what they tell you to plant; in an age when biotech grass seed can drift into your yard, and the owner of the seed’s patent can then sue you for patent infringement; at a time when the difference between the right pest management and the wrong pest management can make a difference in what shows up in your drinking water–hey, maybe it does matter whether we buy what the big boxes have to sell or what the independents offer us. What are your thoughts?