New Englanders By Choice
We met over 30 years ago and have made our home in New England for more than 25 years. Over that time we have formed a deep attachment to this region. New England is a place that has a distinct visual and cultural identity—a place where the vibrant character of our people is matched by the beauty and intensity of the landscape, but also a region increasingly challenged by environmental and economic concerns.
Our Growing Concern
Back in late 2008 we began to talk in earnest about our concern for the region. The continuing exodus of educated young people, the loss of industry and resulting decline of good jobs in many New England towns, the high cost of living in our region … all of these factors have created many challenges for our communities. At the same time we began to think about the quality of our own lives. We had traded the relative simplicity of life in our early years together for a considerably more complex set of financial obligations. We began to look around us and really think about our choices. The bigger job for more money that left less time for family, the trips to the mall for stuff that eventually found its way to the basement, and then to the garage sale or to charity… we just started to feel like it was all too much.
Meanwhile, like many people, we became increasingly alarmed about the environment, the economy, and the security of our food supply. We started to think hard about where our food came from, but also the rest of our stuff … and the consequences of those decisions. We began looking at the labels on our dishes, our clothes, our furniture, our linens, our tools – the labels on nearly everything we had bought in the past ten years. We learned that an item can be marked Made in USA as long as at least 51% of the product is assembled domestically, and we were shocked by how few items we had in our house that could meet even that low standard. We began to understand — in a very personal and immediate way — the consequences our own actions as consumers have had in creating many of the problems our region faces today.
Commitment to Change
Like most people we love a bargain, but we have come to understand what those “bargains” have cost our country and our beautiful New England region – measured by empty main streets and lost opportunities. We have been dismayed to find out how hard it is to find locally made products in New England, much less products that are truly 100% made within the US. We still have too much cheap imported stuff in our house, but we are trying hard to buy fewer and better quality products made closer to home. We’re far from perfect but we want to do better. We now try to buy handmade or small production products from New England suppliers whenever we can.
We have fully committed ourselves to supporting and fostering a new vision about economic, environmental, and social change—by buying and promoting locally produced goods.
This is why we decided to start Common Good Market. We hope you will join us in making a commitment to become more purposeful in the decisions we make about the products we buy for our homes and our families.
Rick and Elizabeth Conrad, Co-Founders
Common Good Market