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Corporations took our handouts, but they aren’t creating jobs

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Milton Hershey’s original chocolate factory in Hershey, PA is closing, and 500 workers will be laid off. The plant will be relocated outside of town, in a new facility designed to house more automated equipment. Hershey says it must make the move in order to compete with global giants in the industry. The company had intended to leave PA altogether, but the union conceded the 500 jobs in order to save the remaining 600.

When Milton founded the company in 1903, his dream was to create a “worker’s paradise.” The town grew up around the plant, and Hershey was a benefactor, building facilities such as a theater, low-rent housing and cheap public transportation… even a water park for his employees. The plant was designed around the concept of worker comfort and included amenities virtually unheard of at the time. What an odd thing for a business to do! Hershey wanted to create jobs, and good ones at that. He wanted to contribute to the growth and security of his country.

I have not found an instance in the folklore in which Milton Hershey mentions profits, or “shareholder returns” as a motivating factor in his decision to launch his ambitious endeavor.

When I started Barefoot Press in 1987, there were three main things that motivated me. I wanted to explore the craft of printing. I wanted to see what I was capable of building on my own, with no money – only a notion that green printing should and could be done using recycled papers so that we could slow the depressing deforestation of our old-growth forests. And I wanted to create a handful of good, local jobs and see if it was really possible to design a workplace that employees would enjoy coming to in the morning. I didn’t know if I could make a profit, and quite frankly that goal wasn’t at the top of my list. Naive at the age of 22, I believed that if you strive to do something that is inherently the right thing to do, the money follows.

In 1987, entrepeneurs regularly mentioned a desire to create jobs as a personal motivator. There actually was, as unlikely as it seems today, a feeling of responsibility ingrained in the business community – a notion that it was our obligation and privilege to return something to the community we grew up in, to actually contribute to the growth and positive development of American society. It’s amazing to me that today, only 24 years later, you never hear “job creation” mentioned as a guiding corporate principal.

It strikes me in this era of off-shoring jobs and reducing worker pay that the myopic pursuit of profit is a big part of the problem our country faces. We seek to reduce taxes and shrink the size of government while simultaneously bemoaning our 10%+ unemployment level, never making the connection that government is our largest jobs program. We drool over a good corporate earnings report hoping to salvage some of our 401k investments, forgetting that those profits are driven by a shrinking domestic payroll and cheap overseas labor. Full employment is the key to a healthy economy, and the reality that CEOs are actually rewarded for draining our jobs with multi-million dollar bonuses is insane.

The consequence of making “quarterly shareholder return” the guiding principal of business is a steady race to the bottom for the USA. Layoffs and downsizing lead to home foreclosures, which lead to plummeting property values, which lead to reduced consumer spending, which leads to price pressure that leads to demand for cheap foreign goods, which leads to factories closing and moving offshore, which leads to layoffs and unemployment, which leads to more home foreclosures… and downward we go, like water swirling down a toilet drain. The perpetrators of this scam on the American public are now filthy rich, beyond the average person’s wildest imagination, but it’s a one-way ticket for our great nation.

A new, healthy economy must be built from the ground up by ordinary Americans, employing their neighbors and giving back to the community. As alluring as cheap prices are, we must face the unavoidable fact that earning money here only to send it overseas through the consumption of cheap Asian products is a suicidal practice. Economics, like politics, work best at the smallest levels. Vampire corporations will keep right on sucking the life out of our economy as long as we are willing to help them do it.

Responding to pressure from a global market may have forced Hershey to automate and cut 500 jobs, but the company made the right choice to stay in Pennsylvania. Americans will have to put Americans back to work and support American companies in order to save America.

Brewery goes green with Cookbook

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Elizabeth Rudd and the Heinzelmannchen Brewery in Sylva, NC have published a cookbook that includes stories, tips and recipes using their beer. The 6 year-old brewery was featured in the November, 2009 issue of Southern Living magazine in an article entitled German Beer Comes to Sylva.

The Brewery believes in eco-friendly practices, such as selling their beer in 2-liter glass “growlers” that are refilled rather than thrown away or recycled. The beer contains no preservatives and is not pasteurized. It was because of these values and principles that they chose Barefoot Press for the printing of Your Gnometown Cookbook.

Elizabeth puts it this way: “…the West and the East of North Carolina teamed up on this project. Though diverse in their fields of expertise, they have much in common: excellence, quality, experience and a personal touch. Working for a profit, yes, but without sacrificing the personal bonds they share with their customers – rare in today’s business world. They both share a commitment to quality and offer products they are proud to put their names on. … I believe this is a shining example of businesses working together, with integrity and care, for a common goal… a win-win situation for all.”

The cookbook is a fine example of green printing. The pages are printed with soy inks on 100% post-consumer recycled, chlorine-free paper, and the covers are made from 100% recycled French Paper Muscletone 140# cover. The binding is wire-O so the book lays flat for easy reading while cooking, but the coil is hidden behind a printed spine so it fits right in on the bookshelf. The book can be ordered at the company’s website:, or you can pick up a copy at the Brewery gift shop. Lift a pint for us!

Global warming just a hoax – green printing no longer necessary

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

You can’t imagine how much relief your green printer feels upon learning that global warming was actually just a hoax perpetrated by a handful of agenda-driven, mad scientists intent on ruling the planet. We’ve been following the unfolding story of emails uncovered by the intrepid, “fair-and-balanced” reporters at FOX News. It’s hard to believe these “junk” scientists managed to pull off such a large-scale deception. But I have to tell you it’s a load off our shoulders.

I think everyone here at Barefoot Press is sick of that scratchy, 100% recycled toilet paper in the staff restrooms. Not to mention those stinking recycling bins cluttering up the loading dock. The company Toyota is cramped, and I always felt intimidated on the highway. I’m really tired of tending that garden in the front.

For 23 years we’ve been laboring under the belief that green printing is important, that it was our duty to do our part. We’ve used recycled papers, pushed our suppliers to develop low-VOC chemistry and soy inks, implemented comprehensive in-house recycling programs, offset our carbon emissions by supporting green energy, donated profits to environmental groups (THAT was a waste!)… The effort has been exhausting. Happily, we now know it’s just not necessary.

I don’t feel imtimidated on the highway any more, because our new company car is a Hummer! Our increased margins allowed us to buy it new. These vinyl-based inks smell really strong, but they dry super-fast. We put a huge dumpster where the recycling bins used to be, and the scrap paper gets burned once a week in the parking lot.

But the coolest thing is that we now have a lot of awesome, cheap, virgin-fiber paper choices. Most of these sheets originate from the rampant, unregulated logging in the rainforests of Indonesia and the “developing” world, so there’s no “fair labor” or regulatory costs to pass on to you. It’s much easier to print on too, having never been through the repulping process. As our International Paper rep told us years ago, “old growth trees make a fine sheet of paper!”

Yes, happy days are here again, and our collective conscience is clear. Things are cheaper and easier now. Our profits are better than ever. And we finally have some soft toilet paper.

Finally, a green lawn service we can get behind

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Our friend Tim Bannister has started a new eco-friendly lawn care business. Utilizing equipment that does not produce harmful emissions common to standard lawn care services, the new company will serve both commercial and residential customers.

Tim was blown away when he found out that a push mower emits as much hourly pollution as 11 cars, and even worse, riding mowers can emit as much 34 cars. In his research he also discovered that Americans spill over 17 million gallons of gas each year refueling lawn and garden equipment – more fuel than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez.

To counter this impact, EcoZoo Lawn uses battery powered equipment that is recharged with solar and wind power. Transportation to jobs sites is fueled with Biodiesel. The batteries used are over 95% recyclable, and the company employs best practices with regards to sustainability on the job and in the office. Another benefit is a reduction in noise pollution, as the equipment runs over 50% quieter than typical lawn care equipment. Costs of services are kept competitive as the equipment requires no petroleum and virtually no maintenance. EcoZoo Lawn provides a free monthly eco-savings report documenting customers lessening environmental impact.

Those of you who know Tim know that he is a huge proponent of green printing. Naturally, all of his promotional materials are being produced using soy inks and 100% post-consumer recycled papers, processed without the use of chlorine. Your green printer is proud to help, and support Tim in his new sustainable business venture.

For more information about EcoZoo Lawn’s zero impact lawn and grounds maintenance or to request a free evaluation and proposal, call Tim Bannister at (919) 218-2657, send an email to or visit our website at

Pittsboro Plenty gets unprecedented press

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Everyone is talking about the Pittsboro Plenty. The Plenty is a local currency project that aims to keep money in the local market in Chatham County, where I (Rich) live. The idea is that smaller economies are healthier than larger, and particularly, global ones. Headed up by Executive Director Melissa Frey, the Plenty has been revived and refreshed with backing by Capital Bank in Pittsboro, NC.

The press has gone bananas. You’ve seen the CNN story posted on our site, but that is just one of dozens of organizations covering the Plenty. Internationally, Russian, Canadian, Irish and Polish television have covered the relaunch! Here are just some of the news sources that have covered the story, and links to the media coverage are available at

Chapel Hill News, May 27, 2009
Tulsa World (Tulsa, Oklahoma) May 17, 2009
Inside Edition (CBS) May 14, 2009
WTVD, NEWS 11, (Raleigh, Durham), May 12, 2009
News 14 Carolina, May 12, 2009
Channel One Russia, May 12, 2009
Phoenix Business Journal, May 11, 2009
RTE, (National Radio Ireland), May 10, 2009
WFMU, May 4, 2009
Polish TV, May 3, 2009
Irish Times, (Dublin), April 25, 2009
CNN, April 22, 2009
WRAL TV News, (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville), April 13, 2009
CFRB, (Canadian FM radio) April 11, 2009
FOX Business, April 10, 2009
Democracy Now, April 9, 2009
The Telegraph (UK), April 9, 2009
USA Today, April 5, 2009

We first printed the Plenty back in 2002. The certificates feature artwork by Bynum, NC artist Emma Skurnick. Depictions of local flora and fauna, as well as eco-friendly initiatives such as renewable energy, are backed up with a painting of an oak tree and the motto, “In each other we trust.” The original value was based on labor hours, so there were ¼, ½, 1, 5 and 10 Plenty bills. To help demystify the system of exchange, the new currency has a par value of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50. The bills can be exchanged at Capital Bank for Federal Reserve Notes at a discounted rate of $.90 per 1 Plenty, resulting in a 10% discount on goods purchased using the Plenty. Merchants that accept the Plenty are plentiful (couldn’t help it), and include The General Store Cafe, Chatham Marketplace, Piedmont Biofuels, Chatham Wireless, and T.S. Designs.

The bills are printed in 6 colors with soy inks and water-miscible chemistry on a felt-embossed paper that contains 80% post-consumer recycled fiber. There are embossed serial numbers printed on the letterpress, and a watermark was overprinted to make the bills difficult to copy. The Plenty is, true to it’s homegrown mission, a fine example of green printing.

Environmental author Thomas Berry passes away

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Thomas Berry, a well known environmentalist, author and Catholic Priest, passed away Monday at age 94. Berry wrote several influential ecological books, including the well-known “The Dream of the Earth.” Thomas Berry was the brother of our inspirational friend, the late James Berry, who published a series of ecological essays with us here at Barefoot Press. Our thoughts are with the Berry family today.

The Raleigh News and Observer published this obituary in today’s paper:

GREENSBORO — Father Thomas Berry, a Greensboro native and world-renowned cultural historian, died Monday at age 94 at Well-Spring Retirement Community.

Berry, a Passionist Catholic priest, was considered a leading ecological thinker in America. He had eight honorary degrees and numerous awards and honors.

According to his Web site,, Berry described himself as a “geologian,” a historian of the Earth and its evolutionary processes.

Berry earned his Ph.D. in European intellectual history with a thesis on Giambattista Vico’s philosophy of history. Widely read in Western history, he also spent many years studying the cultural history of Asia. He has lived in China and traveled to other parts of Asia. He authored two books on Asian religions

For two decades, he directed the Riverdale Center of Religious Research along the Hudson River. During this period he taught at Fordham University, where he chaired the history of religions program and directed 25 doctoral theses. His major contributions to the discussion on the environment are in his books: “The Dream of the Earth” (Sierra Club Books, 1988 reprinted, 2006); “The Great Work: Our Way into the Future” (Random House, 1999); and, with Brian Swimme, “The Universe Story” (Harper San Francisco, 1992). His latest collection of essays is “Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community” (Sierra Club Books and University of California Press, 2006).

Berry’s health had declined over the years, and his family expected his death, said his sister, Dr. Margaret Berry. “He had a quiet death, and the family was with him when he died,” Berry said. “We have people from all over the world who are e-mailing and planning to attend one of the four services.”

The Berry family will hold funeral services in Greensboro, New York and Vermont. The Greensboro service will begin with an open-casket visitation from 11 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Wednesday in the Narthex entrance of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. It will be followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m.

The Greensboro memorial will conclude with a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. hosted by the Passionists in the auditorium at Well-Spring Retirement Community, 4100 Well-Spring Drive.

Donations honoring Berry’s memory may be made to the Thomas Berry Foundation, c/o Mary Evelyn Tucker, 29 Spoke Drive, Woodbridge, CT 06525

For more on Thomas Berry’s work:

AAF Raleigh-Durham Wins in Club Achievement Competition

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Remember that snazzy marketing kit and stationery we printed for the AAF RDU? Well, the pieces have won 1st place for Communications at the District level. The winners now go on to the National competition. Read more about the ad club.

Green Printing

Soft toilet paper is dispensing old-growth forests.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

The New York Times today reported in their Environment section that American’s love of fluffy toilet paper is a major cause of worldwide deforestation. The toilet paper industry consumes millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, and most brands of tp even contain some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada.

While toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them. James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific (the maker of Quilted Northern) claims that customers want soft, comfortable toilet paper and he does not believe it is possible to make soft toilet paper from recycled fiber.

Environmentalists are increasingly making toilet tissue manufacturers the targets of campaigns. On Monday, Greenpeace issued a national guide for American consumers that rates toilet tissue brands on their environmental soundness. Download the guide.

“No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council.

According to the New York Times: “In the United States, which is the largest market worldwide for toilet paper, tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands. Most manufacturers use a combination of trees to make their products. According to RISI, an independent market analysis firm in Bedford, Mass., the pulp from one eucalyptus tree, a commonly used tree, produces as many as 1,000 rolls of toilet tissue. Americans use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year.

“Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper.”

Click here to read the entire New York Times article.

Your green printer recommends making the switch to recycled toilet paper. Don’t let your home become a forest dispenser!

Raleigh Quarterly in print

Monday, January 26th, 2009

We just wrapped up the new PRINT edition of the Raleigh Quarterly. The journal, published online by Billy Warden and Greg Behr, is a collection of short stories, poetry and art. The first print edition was designed by Katie Nordt.

The first edition is a fine example of green printing from cover to cover. With a finished size of 5×7, it is saddlebound, 40 pages + cover, and printed entirely on 100% post-consumer recycled paper using soy inks. Raleigh’s original green printer is proud to support the RQ.

The print edition is available in local bookstores for $5. To view the website:

TLC hosting “Burrito Bash” in Pittsboro

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

One of our favorite green printing customers is holding another fun event in Chatham County. What is the Burrito Bash? Well, Haw River Assembly and Triangle Land Conservancy are teaming up for an exciting fund-raising event featuring music by local favorites Trilogy, dancing, a silent auction, and of course, burritos, generously provided by the General Store Café in Pittsboro, NC.

When: Tuesday, September 9, 6-9 p.m.
Where: General Store Cafe (39 West St, Pittsboro).

For tickets and to view the growing list of auction items, please visit

If you are interested in volunteering at the event, please contact Marisa Bryant at or call 919-833-3662 ext. 111.

Of course, the postcard announcing the event was printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with soy inks!

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