Opinion: Fund new farms and not Family Dollar

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Family Dollar in El Prado would be the fourth of its kind within a few miles. I was shocked to learn in the Taos News that Don Rumsfeld spoke out and said no to the store. Seems to me he tried at one time to make the whole earth look like aisle six and aisle four of this same chain store. When it came to a new one near his land in Taos, he was moved to speak. And, no one threw a shoe.

I have one of the stores close by me on the south side of town. I can walk to it from the house I stay in.

I've been turned on to health food since I moved to Taos six years back. I know how bad the chain store Big Ag food is for my health. Still, I go in once or twice a week, it seems. I go out for a nice walk and find out I've walked to the store.

I like to stand out front and eat a whole tube of chips. I can't stop. It's nice to have a few sweets for less than a buck.

Of course, no one likes that these stores can be built on what used to be farmland - land used to grow food to feed Taos.

How much of the food we eat here is grown in Taos? What can we do to be sure our farms are strong and that there are new farms?

Taos County spends $165,000,000 on Big Ag food each year (33,000 of us at, let's say, $5,000 each). It takes us 15,000,000 hours of work to earn that cash to pay Big Ag. We lose both our time and our wealth to Big Ag. In this way, we pay twice. Why not fund new farms and strive to keep more of our wealth and time here with us, round and round and round here - why let it leave our hands?

This is what I need to talk with Don for. I want to ask his help. He may be just the man we need right now in Taos. Should I pray on it and hope to see him one day, a few pews in front of me, and say, "I was moved by what you said, sir, to try to stop the new store"?

He could say to me and you, "Well, what were you up to that was so great for the world back then? I'm old, am I not - how do you know how I feel, or what I knew then, and what is known now?" We are here now. Me, you and Don. We're here in Taos. That's what counts. We all want three meals a day. We all want our true health, a full life.

I guess there's no one in Taos who I won't work with, think with, plan with. I want to pitch him a farm plan.

Don, will you gift us a new farm fund so that we can grow more of what we eat, so that we're safe? I think I can find it in the tax code where it shows you could write it all off - no loss to you at all. Thank you, sir.

Matthew Swaye lives in Taos.

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