Why Buying Local Is Important
Are you tired of shopping in a crowded Walmart where everyone is literally rushed, the produce is shipped in from who knows where, and natural, cruelty-free products are few and far between? If so, then give shopping locally a shot!
why buying local is important
When you buy local, it stays local. More jobs will be created in your town, the community will prosper, and people will be more connected than ever to their own town. Your money helps businesses local to you, as well as your neighbors, hence reason number four.
If you get to know the farmers that are producing your food and products, you not only know exactly how they are produced or grown, but you can sometimes get the hook-up. Have you ever heard of a CSA program, (community-supported agriculture program)? If not, it is definitely something to look into in your area. It is a way to directly support your local farmers, get a weekly fresh batch of produce and goodies, eat seasonally, and sometimes even be able to pick the food in your weekly order. CSAs are not only good for the planet and the local farmers, but they are healthier for you. Often, a CSA is cheaper in the long run as well.
No matter if it is your local service business or your local food market, give shopping locally a chance. If you do, you will not only experience fresher food and kinder service, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping your neighbors and the planet.
Buying local is touted as the best way to be environmentally friendly while supporting local communities at the same time. By purchasing food and other goods that are produced locally, consumers help stimulate their regional economy, help create and retain valuable jobs, supports families and strengthen community and culture. Understanding the strengths, limitations and potential pitfalls of local consumption is key to making the most of the trend.
Purchasing locally also means that you know a bit more about quality control; you know that certain goods have been produced in a way that meets stringent regional and national standards. When purchasing goods from out of the country it can be difficult to know the manufacturing processes and potentially harmful chemicals and byproducts involved.
Further, sourcing locally reduces the transportation costs associated with your goods. Certainly it takes less gas, and thus puts fewer greenhouse emissions into the air, to drive a bushel of apples from town to town than across the nation or globe. Local items are also more likely to be fresh compared to items that are transported long distances.
For businesses wondering where to start, there are several networking platforms that make buying and selling locally easy. Online marketplaces such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great places to find new and used goods (extra green points for buying second hand!). With over 9 million members around the world, The Freecycle Network is a source for getting and giving free, secondhand items. At no cost, simply type in your city in the search bar to find Freecycle groups in your area and a list of offered and wanted items.
Nextdoor, a platform that connects you with residents and businesses within your zip code, is an effective way to engage with neighbors and stay up to date on local deals. In addition to a personal account, Nextdoor also provides a business profile option for you to promote your goods and services.
It might be surprising to read, but buying local does actually have some possible disadvantages. First it is important to understand that just because something is locally produced does not mean that it is environmentally friendly. If supplies or equipment have to be shipped in to create the product, then that can offset any benefit of creating or growing the product locally.
Energy and efficiency can be concerns as well, leading to more disadvantages to local business. Specifically, some areas of the country have more developed alternative energy sources, such as wind power and solar power. Local farms and manufacturers cannot always take advantage of this green energy, but other producers may be able to, thus making their products more green. Additionally, larger operations with bigger budgets can function more effectively, adding to their greenness over small, local farms.
Buying locally can be a great way to encourage small business and promote economic growth in our own communities. However, buying locally is not always the perfect solution; it is not even always the greenest solution. Think responsibly before you make the decision!
With ongoing concerns over climate change and how its long-term impact could alter life as we know it, there is no doubt that the global economy will change as well. The recent COVID-19 outbreak is a prime example of how a global crisis can shape market conditions and consumer buying habits (remember panic buying?) The imperative question is: Can buying locally save small businesses during such times of economic flux? To answer this, it is necessary to understand how a crisis shapes the business landscape and what this could mean for you and your stakeholders. Find out how your business can become more resilient in a complicated economic environment here.
Buying local also offers a better customer experience. Local markets are often fun environments, full of friendly people, live music, free samples and activities. While buying from a chain grocery store is an impersonal and, frankly, rather boring activity, buying from local retailers can be exciting and fun.
Buying local meat, produce and other food products can help you eat healthier, stay informed and save money. It also has larger impacts on those around you, benefiting the local economy and environment. Each time you support local food producers and sellers, you help build a healthier local economy, stronger community and more sustainable environment.
Supporting small businesses also gives you a chance to get to know your neighbors, and those connections may come in handy down the road. Local commerce is a fantastic way to network with others in your community and foster appreciation for the local industry and culture.
Consumers are faced with decisions to purchase goods and services from national chains or locally owned businesses every day. Cost, convenience, and variety often inform us in these decisions. And while we have heard of the intangible benefits of buying local, how do we quantify the specific economic benefits to our communities when we decide to keep our money close to home?
When we buy local, our money stays local, and it strengthens the local economy in two ways. First, buying local keeps money circulating within the local economy. Studies have shown that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar as they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees.
First, they sell to a local restaurant, which in turn prepares the fresh produce and sells it to local customers. The farmer pays its local employees and the restaurant uses revenue from sales to buy supplies from a neighborhood hardware store. This example illustrates how the recirculation of money in the local economy leads to a stronger financial foundation for our neighbors and communities.
Buying local also fuels new employment and job opportunities for people within our community. Studies show, locally owned businesses employ more people per unit of sales and retain more employees over time. For example, during the previous economic recession, the American Economic Review found that the employment growth rate of local businesses in 2008-2009 fell 2% less than national corporations. Furthermore, the expansion and growth of local businesses help create a more stable, recession-resistant local economy and community alike.
While buying local is financially compelling to our communities; the benefits to our environment are equally impressive. Buying locally reduces the processing of goods, packaging and transportation waste, which leads to less pollution. Each year, the United States transports and ships $2.2 trillion of products which equates to 1.1 billion gallons of fuel and 1 billion metric tons of CO2.
Shift Workspaces believes in the power of supporting one another on a local level, which is why we constantly strive to purchase locally sourced products, partner with local vendors and re-invest the profits from our business back into our community.
Buying fresh and local produce for your food and beverage operations will be the main focus of this article, but there are plenty of other ways you can approach purchasing with your local economy in mind. Cleaning products, pro shop apparel, and kitchenware can all be sourced from local suppliers in your effort to be a boon rather than a burden on your community.
Local food is now a mainstream trend, with more and more people seeking out fresh, local options for produce and other foods. And more restaurants are sourcing locally grown ingredients as well, often using the term farm-to-table.
Choosing more plant-based foods is an important part of the equation as well. If you want to eat a more sustainable diet, look for foods that are local, organic, and low on the food chain. The higher the percentage of your protein intake that comes from plant foods, the more earth-friendly and healthful your diet will be.
At any food store, you can look for labels and signs that indicate locally grown and produced foods. And you can ask which foods are local. You can also ask your local grocery store to carry more fresh, local, organic produce and other foods from local vendors.
In a widely circulated article earlier this year, economists Jayson Lusk and F. Bailey Norwood argue that local food is a poor economic model and liken it to a fad diet that destroys community wealth. They emphasize that local food is more expensive than non-local and suggest that government policies and programs (such as those supporting Farm to School) should not encourage widespread purchasing of local food. But their argument misses the mark regarding both costs and benefits. 041b061a72