By Catherine Alford
Over the past few years, buying local has become a hot topic. A largely grassroots movement, the trend of buying local has reached nearly every area of the United States.
When people hear “buying local” most automatically think of things like produce and meat, and while these are great examples of things you can and should buy locally, there are also lots of other things that you have to option to buy locally every day. Here are just a few reasons why you should buy as many locally grown and produced products as possible:
Support Local Economy
When you buy locally produced goods and services, you are supporting your local economy. By doing this, you are helping more money stay in your community for improvements and repairs.
Create Jobs and Maintain Wages
Small/local businesses are the largest employers in small communities and by buying local you are supporting job growth and the increase of wages for local workers.
Reduce Environmental Footprint
Food and other goods are often shipped from all the country and the world. By the time food arrives in your local big-box grocery store, they have likely been transported thousands of miles, using precious resources, like gasoline and oil. Buying locally produced goods cuts down on shipping costs and other necessary resources used to get goods from their point of production to the end customer.
Get Better Service
Small, locally owned businesses are more likely to understand your needs and how you will be using their products. Therefore, they can typically provide better support and overall customer service for their patrons.
Better Quality Goods
As mentioned, goods often travel thousands of miles to reach retail outlets, where they are sold to the end consumer. For perishable goods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, this means being picked before peak ripeness and artificial ripening while travelling to retail locations across the country. By the time you purchase “fresh” fruits and vegetables from these operations, they have already been harvested for several days, sometimes more than a week, reducing their overall quality.
Locally produced fruits, vegetables, and meat are generally fresher and of higher quality, plus if you are looking for specialty goods, like organic produce or grass-fed beef, buying local is the best way to go because you can connect directly with the producers to find out about their practices.
By buying locally and allowing small businesses to stay afloat, you are supporting price competition, which helps drive the overall price of goods and services in your community down, making things cheaper for the end user/consumer.
Luckily, the buzz of buying local has helped promote things like Farmer’s Markets to the point where larger grocery chains have been forced to consider carrying locally produced products. Many grocery stores in my area have started carrying locally grown produce, meat, and even some baked goods, and the more opportunities you have to buy local, the better!
Do you like to buy local in your community?