Why More People Are Choosing to Buy Local (and How to Do It Without Blowing Your Budget)
A local produce market and café recently opened nearby; One of many popping up all over our great city. More and more, people are choosing to buy local, organic, sustainable produce. More and more, we become aware of our impact on our environment and local community.
It got me thinking – should everyone buy local? What are the benefits? And, can you afford to, or is this just a lifestyle choice for hipsters with a disposable income?
Why More People Are Choosing to Buy Local
People are starting to question where their food really comes from and the effect mass-produced products, pesticides, preservatives, and plastics has on our own health. These paddock-to-plate / eat clean / buy local philosophies tell an authentic story about your food and where it came from. You’re encouraged to reconnect with the land that so graciously provides for you.
Buying local provides many benefits to the economy, community, and to your own health.
Economic benefits when buying local:
- Directly supporting local farmers, suppliers, and businesses means more revenue to reinvest in the local economy and/or their business. A more profitable business means jobs creation, increased supply of products, new products, and better equipment and processes. Long term, you’d expect this leads to a price reduction for consumers.
- Money spent locally tends to circulate more often in the local economy. The farmer earns more money, so he buys more seeds, buys better equipment from the hardware store, pays more workers. The hardware store earns more money to spend locally; the workers earn more money to spend locally; and, so it continues.
- There are increased opportunities for new businesses and partnerships, tourism, and wealth creation.
Community benefits when buying local:
- Improved employment prospects for locals in the community.
- Increased community morale and sense of purpose.
- Stronger sense of connection to community. Paddock-to-plate. I know the story of the rib eye I’m about to sink my teeth into – where she began, what she ate, where she roamed, how she got to be in front of me today, satiating my hunger. You also build deeper relationships when you buy from people you know – for happy, warm, fuzzy feels.
Health benefits when buying local:
- Better quality produce – fresher, tastier, and more nutrient dense because it hasn’t been frozen, picked too early, or travelled in a truck for the last 2 weeks.
- Fewer preservatives and pesticides. Smaller, local operators may have less reliance on pesticides to manage crops. Presumably, the closer you live to your source of food, the less artificial additives you’re consuming.
How to buy local without blowing your budget
This all sounds well and good but, buying local can come with a heftier price tag than your national supermarket chain. But, consider that, on average, 18 cents from every supermarket dollar go to the grower. Eighty-two cents go to the unnecessary middlemen! So, it’s important to think about the long-term benefits, too.
There are ways you can buy local that won’t blow your budget –
- buy seasonal produce only, and
- consider signing up to a local food co-op that delivers local, fresh, seasonal produce.
Unfortunately, we have been programmed to expect instant gratification and on-demand products and services. Access to cheap imports has led us to believe fruit and veg are always available. But, foods are seasonal! So, learn to buy in season, and you’ll get fresher, tastier, cheaper food!
What are your money-saving strategies to buy local? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!