A cornerstone of any ‘buy local’ campaign is supporting local businesses. Sounds simple, right? Beyond just purchasing locally, how can you really support local economies? Here are our top 5:
Farmer’s Markets. Probably one of the easiest to complete – and to come up with – is purchasing fresh produce, meat and cheese at your local farmer’s market. Purchasing not only helps local vendors, but it also is healthier for the environment, cutting down on emissions necessary to transport and deliver food. Farmer’s markets also easily contribute to the sense of community and, if popular enough, can provide independent jobs.
Reevaluate the Big Stuff. OK. Farmer’s markets are the easy stuff. But what about your bank account? Your accountant? Even your vet? Think about how far you travel for other big ticket items or those with long term consumer commitments. How can you translate those into local relationships and purchases? Are you gaining anything by keeping them out of your local economy and if so, is it worth the value to you?
Local Events. Take a deeper look around at the cultural, outdoor and other recreational activities already taking place locally. At first glance, maybe they aren’t your cup of tea, but if you look further into them, there could be something there that interests you. If not, maybe you can create an outlet for other like-minded locally focused people to join in on. Keeping events like these in the area help foster local businesses and bring in more tourism dollars.
Local Entertainment Venues. Maybe you love that big expensive movie theatre 45 minutes away. How about trying out the little theatre in your town a few times? Local concerts may be another way you can help support your local economy while still enjoying a great show. Going local helps vendors but also can support the wrangling of bigger acts and a variety of programming over time.
Become an Informed Consumer. Last, but probably most important: think about how you spend your money and know where it is going. Walmart may be cheaper, but there is a cost associated, whether it is in the distance products and food were shipped, or how many smaller shops are going out of business due to competition. Sometimes, it may be worth a little more in price to support local, which can be a hard pill to take. Knowing where your food comes from and what it is made of is just one concern. Supporting local workers and products is another. Take a moment next time you shop to shop with awareness. You may be surprised what you realize about your automated habits.