How and Why to Start Shopping Locally
We strongly believe in shopping locally at Green Foot Mama. Buying from local creators, makers and growers supports small businesses and their families. It also contributes to the local economy. Big retail chains and online stores are fierce competition for small local businesses. While bigger businesses may offer a wider selection of items in one place, they lack the friendly, personal experience you can only get from local community stores.
Supporting your community’s small businesses benefits you in several ways. It
- is beneficial for your health
- improves the quality of the environment
- provides resources for the growth of your local economy
You’ll also find a more unique range of items to choose from that are made or grown straight from the heart.
Here are some simple ways to shop locally and support your community:
Explore Your Local Community
First of all, you need to learn what your town or neighbourhood has to offer. Take some time to find out what local businesses are near you. Figure out how they can become part of your daily routine. You can start shopping at your local greengrocer, bakery and butcher. Invest your money in a locally-founded bank, and set aside a budget for local purchases, as every cent you spend on local businesses will support your community’s growth.
Eat In-Season Fruits and Vegetables
Eating produce that is seasonally available in your area will ensure that you’re buying fruits and vegetables that are most likely grown at nearby farms. There are several different ways to do this – you could join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or Veg Box scheme, buy directly from producers at a farmers’ market, or arrange to pick your own fruit or vegetables at the farm.
Discover Local Artisans at your Community Farmers’ Market
It’s a common misconception that local farmers’ markets sell only produce. Markets are interesting, vibrant places, often representing unique local tradition. They showcase many local artisans and businesses in a friendly, personal setting.
Be sure to visit your local market, they make for a fun and interesting family morning out. You may even stumble upon some intriguing craftsmanship – in the form of clothes, jewellery, baked goods or pottery. In most cases, you will be buying from the makers themselves, supporting the creativity and livelihood of local craftspeople and artists.
Shopping locally is not limited to shopping for goods. When you need services around the house, try to hire locally as well. Choose a local tradesperson over a huge chain when you need someone to mow your yard or clean your home. Or perhaps you need your car fixed – check out the local independent mechanic. Try to hire locally and support your local community.
Why Shop Locally?
Although large supermarket chains and online stores may offer lower prices and a larger selection compared to local retailers, there are many reasons to shop locally and invest your money in your local area’s businesses.
It Supports Your Local Economy
Local businesses hire local people and use local services to grow. Additionally, they usually sell locally-produced goods. These factors contribute to creating a “multiplier effect”. For every dollar that is invested in a local business, more dollars will be reinvested in your local economy, supporting local workers and their families.
By contrast, large stores often drive small local retailers out of business and create a lesser local economy return on investment.
You Can Find Unique Items
Small local stores selling handmade objects offer unique gifts for special people and occasions. You can find amazing things that not many other people already have. Who needs yet another similar looking cushion that all the huge retail chains already sell? Support your local artisans and enjoy the most unique and lovingly made pieces.
It Is the Eco-Friendly Choice
When you shop locally, you’re more likely to forgo your car and walk or cycle. This isn’t only beneficial for your health, it is good for the environment too. You tend to purchase less, as you need it, and therefore have less spoiled produce.
In addition choosing fruits and vegetables with a short “field-to-plate” journey, supports local farmers and ensures you eat fresh and healthy food, with minimum food miles, storage treatment and packaging.
You Will Save Money
Local sellers are usually prepared to negotiate prices and may be willing to give discounts to their regular customers. You will also often be able to try products before you buy them. When buying locally, your seller will get to know you and may even tailor services and products to your needs. As your relationship develops, your loyalty is often rewarded with personalised tips, advice and recommendations.
When shopping, most people turn to the large supermarket chains or online retail businesses by simple inertia and habit. Consider shopping locally as an alternative. Through supporting your community and its small businesses, you will discover another way of living. Enjoy a healthier way of life and develop a greater sense of community – eating fresher food, knowing exactly where it came from.