Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Dream, The Struggle, The Victory

Made in Michigan is a grass-roots movement focused on consumer education by promoting products that are actually made in Michigan. If every household in the state spent $10 on Michigan made products, than $36 million dollars would be put back into the local economy--each week! Buying local keeps the money here instead of: Bentonville, Arkansas; Issaquah, Washington; or Cincinnati, Ohio. It means jobs and a chance at economic stability. I'm a Michigan man. This is my state. This is my story.

I'm an organic farmer. Well, not yet, but I will be. That's my dream. Let me back up just a bit. I graduated from Wayne State with the aspiration of becoming a teacher. After all, it was practical and safe and that's how I was raised. Look both ways before crossing and color within the lines. So I taught Science for a few years until I realized I was off course. I strayed from the dream. So to remedy the matter, I took a job working for the railroad. This was more practical and safer. After all, I paid union dues now. It was fun and by definition, a good job. Until yesterday, when I found out that I'm getting laid off. Chrysler is our biggest customer and when they don't move cars off their lots by rail, jobs get cut. I got cut. I strayed from the dream.

I'm 35 years old. I have a beautiful and wonderfully supportive wife. She too is unemployed. I'm also the proud father of a little blonde haired, blue-eyed angel of a son. He's a toddler and thinks the sun rises and sets with me. To him, I'm Superman. In reality, I'm just an ordinary guy--with an extraordinary dream. It's big enough to share.

So why did I create Made in Michigan? If more people bought Chrysler cars, I'd still have a job. My story is far from unique. I asked myself how I can help someone else in a situation similar to mine. It's simple, buy the products of the Michigan company they work for. It goes beyond the product--it's an investment in people. It's said that a rising tide raises all ships. This maxim holds more truth today than it ever has. Buying Michigan made products keeps the economic cycle vibrant. It keeps the money here. It keeps jobs here. It keeps people here. It keeps the spirit here. It's time to take a bold, fresh look at how and where we spend our money. I started this movement two weeks ago on Facebook. The first week, only my wife joined ( I told you she was supportive). I decided to step out and invite 60 people to join me. The majority of those people joined and offered positive feedback. I asked them to invite just one guest each. They favorably responded and the group doubled in size in just 72 hours, united in cause. Since then, I estimate a new guest joins Made in Michigan about every 30 minutes. No we're not breaking Facebook speed records but the word is out. People are ready to buy, ready to support. They want to know what the products are and where they can get them. Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit. I've since been in contact with a major grocer who would like to partner with our movement and is open to ideas. This is the start of something big. You simply can not stop an idea whose time has come. Michigan, our time is now.

As for me, I've already made peace with my situation. I have a wonderful family, therefore I have everything. I've gained far more than I've lost and I have an opportunity to again follow my dream. The slate is clean once again and I'm going to go back to school to study organic horticulture. Classes start in April.

I invite you to follow me on this journey.

1 comment:

  1. Amen!

    Thank you for taking such a passionate interest in out beautiful state!

    I love what your doing... Hope to chat with you soon!