LET'S TALK LOCAL
To buy local or not, that is the question. Most people have a general concept of what buying local means, however they are missing all of the great things that come with it. There are two main things that will happen if you switch to more local purchasing that are good for both the environment and your wallet.
First, when you buy local, that means less travel time for you and the product that you are purchasing. Cars and trucks are one of the largest contributors to our rising air pollution rates. Instead of driving to a farther store to do all of your grocery shopping, stay close and support your local businesses. This will save you gas money, travel time, and it’ll help the world a little by decreasing unnecessary carbon emissions. Not to mention, if you are getting something locally made or grown, it will cut down on the carbon footprint of that item as well. Now I know it is difficult to find fresh food in the winter, so I urge you to try to eat somewhat seasonally. Winter squash, onions, shallots, chard, peas, and beans, can all be grown throughout the winter so eat more of those and less of the imported tropical foods. When it is nice out, instead of taking your car to the grocery store, bring some friends and go for a walk or bike ride to the Co-op or farmer’s market. Climate change is in dangerous territory so if you can minimize your carbon footprint by eating seasonally and staying or purchasing in your area then do it!
Second, when you buy local, you will be supporting those businesses and keeping money flowing throughout your town. This is important because if you think about restaurants and small stores that make up your town, you probably aren’t thinking of the large commercial grocery stores and fast food chains. You are probably thinking of the diners, coffee shops, and family restaurants. Without your support these businesses would not be able to stay afloat and would be taken over by even more commercial establishments diminishing the identity of your town. Every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy than it would for large commercial establishments. This is especially important during this hard time for small businesses so try to support them where you can.
One great way to get local produce right now is to join a CSA farm. This stands for community supported agriculture. This is where you sign up in early spring to receive "shares" throughout the summer of what is in season and ripe each week. It is a great way to support local farmers and to get some fruits and veggies you may have never tried before!
Or if you are really feeling fancy start a small garden of your own! You can't get more local than your backyard haha! You just need a small plot of land that gets some sun and you can order some seeds online or get seedlings from a local farm.
Overall, buying and consuming more locally truly is a small switch to make and may cost you a small amount more at the time, but in the long run you will be saving money from travel time, while reducing both the carbon footprint of yourself and your product and maybe even getting in a little exercise.