Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why buy local?

Why buy local when you can get it cheaper at Walmart? Well we did some digging and unearthed many reasons why, especially in this tough economy, supporting your local businesses is much better for you, your community and the environment.

Top Ten reasons to Think Local. Buy Local. Be Local.

  1. Give back to yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.(Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies; these include case studies showing that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.)
  2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
  3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.  “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
  4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
  5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
  6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers. 
  7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
  8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. 
  10. Take your family’s food safety into your own hands: Following the recent massive recall of eggs that had been reportedly contaminated by salmonella from chickens raised in filthy conditions on factory farms, it is easy to see that we, the people, need to have better control over our food sources.  The only way for people to be certain that their food is safe is to get more involved in food production. Reject massive supermarkets and other corporate bigbox stores. Support family farms that allow consumers to tour the facility to personally witness the conditions in which food is grown. Purchase produce directly from the farm whenever possible. It may cost families a few extra dollars to do this, but it is the only way to truly be safe.
As you can see from the list, buying local is a worthwhile investment in yourself and the community. Here's a great tool to find local stores, farmers markets and grocery stores close to you:

The Local Finder

Source: Sustainable Connections