After a recent bike ride to Alewife in Long Island City, Queens, I spotted a magazine on the table of promotional papers and publications that I’d never seen before: Upstater. As a lifelong lover of Upstate New York (a history that starts with an annual trip to Lake George with my family since the age of one, and ends, as of a week ago, with a sixth trip upstate this summer alone), I snatched it up excitedly and stuffed it into my bag, along with Boro Magazine and a few postcards, to devour later that evening. (The only appropriate things to devour at that moment were my Hill Farmstead beer, fig and brie grilled cheese, and Pat’s undivided attention.)
The magazine’s mission statement struck me as soon as I turned to it later that night:
“This magazine is dedicated to living a connected life.
Connected to nature. Connected to where our food comes from. Connected to our families. Connected to our work.
Connected to our community.
We like making: Building with our hands. Growing our own food.
Making cocktails. Making plans with friends. Making dinner. Making love. Making time to live our wildest dreams.
That’s what living local means to us.
Live like a local.“
I liked the message so much, I immediately tore it from the book, folded its edges and taped it to the small bulletin board I finally have hanging on my brand new (15-year-old hand me down) desk. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. Yes, it’s easy to say these things when you live the “simple life” of an upstater, or live in the country, or live on a farm. Yet, I thought, if there’s any safe space for me to share something meaningful, it’s here. Since I have the chance, I’m passing this along in hopes of inspiring a few of my urban comrades to start thinking local, even when that means (as it often does) putting in a little extra effort—and probably a few extra cents.
How to Live Like a Local in Three Easy Steps
- Next time you’re out at a bar, order a local beer. It took more work than you can imagine, from the barley farms to malt houses to hop yards to the brewery, to get that beer in your glass. Savor it.
- At the grocery store this week, while you’re mulling over which cheese or milk to buy, try looking at the labels to learn about where they came from. See which ones are from New York. I guarantee you’ll see at least one, and if you don’t, ask the manager about it.
- At the very least, when you’re stocking up on produce, skip the freezer section. Skip the supermarket altogether and try the mom and pop down the street. You’ll make their day—and a much better meal.
Upstater’s mission statement is posted in the website’s “About” section as an attractive infographic identical to the page in print. Take a look and pass it along to the makers, dreamers, and—most importantly—the doubters in your life.