My friend Patrick sent me the link to this new(-ish) wiki, Make Mine Local, which is designed to help central Kentuckians support locally grown and locally produced products. The site strongly emphasizes organic and sustainable agriculture. The site is still new, so it’s a little light on content and is still a little too text-based, but as far as I can tell, just a couple of people have managed to put up a nice little wikispaces site which has already provided me with some extremely useful information. I plan to put a couple of the available categories (meats, cafes/coffee shops, music) in my feed reader to keep up with updates.
There are a couple of great things about this site:
First, it is a great start into creating a hyperlocal Lexington/Central Kentucky. So much of the web has been focused on larger scales and larger issues. Now the trend is coming back toward hypertexting the local. Bruce Sterling has written a few interesting and provocative pieces on this over at the Wired website, and I continue to believe that localblogging will prove to be a greater influence on the national elections next year than the A-list blogs. Steven Johnson‘s project, outside.in, is also a great step forward in aggregating and geotagging community-based blogging. The great thing about the Make Mine Local site is that it’s a hyperlocal portal designed to get people thinking locally about their consumption habits. It would be great to see them not only continue to build out their directory of local producers, but also to introduce some comparative calculators (see the cautionary info on buying local my previous post on this) and some more social elements (like a custom googlemap build or something like Platial, maybe a way for people to share their del.icio.us links related to local matters through an rss feed, forums, maybe a social networking element through Ning or something similar).
Second, I really appreciate that they’ve built this site as a wiki, which opens up the hyperlocal project to a more participatory framework, and wisely employs the open source culture. Now if the word could just get out to more people (say through a blog badge or a Facebook widget), I think the project would really take off. Why not get some folks like KFTC, MACED, or Community Farm Alliance to help in spreading the word through their websites and newsletters?
At any rate, I strongly recommend the site to my fellow residents in the Bluegrass region, and encourage you to not only take information from the site, but add to it as well, in the interests of promoting an open source, participatory hyperlocal future.