We have become such a global society. In some ways this has really opened us up to being able to expose ourselves to experiences and products we might not have had access to just a few years ago, but in a lot of ways, it is doing some damage to our local and global Eco-systems and economies. There is nothing wrong with buying and supporting brands that are not local, however, I do think it’s time to look at why supporting local is also a great thing to do and not forget out. Here are some great reasons why shopping local matters and how you can do it in your own community.
Why Shopping Local Matters
You are lowering your carbon footprint– If items don’t have to travel far or be processed much before they get to you, then you are effectively reducing the carbon footprint of your own and the company’s. Buying locally cuts down on actual fuel used to bring it to you as well as preservatives needed to keep it fresh.
Food is often fresher and better tasting– Because food doesn’t have to travel long distances before it gets to the consumer, it can be pricked at prime ripeness and get to the consumer in the same shape. Did you know that some vegetables are ripened on trucks because they have to travel a week or more to get to stores? That’s not even close to fresh.
You are directly involved with shaping and supporting your local economy and community– I love when new businesses open up in my area so I can go support them. This month, we had a new grocery store open up in Spokane called My Fresh Basket. They are very innovative in the respect that they do something I have never seen; they mix the conventional brands with the organic/natural brands. Not only does this make items easy to find, but it ‘normalizes’ these brands. They also feature a lot of local companies!
Shopping locally helps give you more choices– With the opening of My Fresh Basket, I now have even more choices for shopping for local goods that don’t include big box stores. When it comes to something as competitive as grocery shopping, more choices mean lower overall prices. Additionally, this particular store is located in a food desert area that definitely needed them. Supporting them keeps them open for these locals.
Supporting local business gives local jobs to your friends and neighbors– With unemployment rates where they are, and many jobs being shipped over seas, supporting local business makes sense to keep the local money here and give jobs to our friends and neighbors.
Tips for Shopping Locally
Hit up the local farmer’s market- If you aren’t sure where to start when shopping locally, one surefire place to start your journey is at your local farmer’s market. Every market is slightly different, however most have rules that items sold must be locally grown or produced and some even go as far as to only allow crafts there where the supplies are locally sourced. Farmer’s markets allow you to directly support small farmers as well as local artisans. You can often find some pretty amazing things there. I love that one of ours has a forager. I have tried some awesome local goods foraged in my area that I had no idea even existed.
Check out stores that are not big box- Although many big box stores are trying to compete with the public’s desire to have local goods for sale, they are a less than ideal place to support local business. Instead, try to find stores in your area that are not chains (such as my Fresh Basket as I mentioned earlier).
Look for what you need locally before going online if possible-We have gotten so used to shopping online for everything that we have forgotten that what we need may be available locally as well, and possibly even cheaper. If convenience is the reason you shop online, why not ask your local stores if they offer delivery or even shipping? Many local stores do to stay competitive. Don’t assume that local stores are charging more. That isn’t as common as it used to be when we were on the cusp of e-commerce starting.
Shop locally online if need be– if you still want to shop online, why not do so on sites that allow you to narrow down where items are made like Etsy? That way you are still supporting someone local without having to leave your home.
Stay involved on social media with local sites– I belong to several groups on Facebook that help me know what is going on locally so I can support local businesses. I also am an Elite Yelper and the app lets me know when new restaurants, stores and more open as well.