I have been advocating for locally produced food for the past decade. It not only supports our local growers, but it also supports the local economy and is better for the environment.
Lately I have been thinking that I’d like to do more to support my local community and businesses that are not food-related. With the news that Wal-Mart is planning on entering my city, I realized I haven’t done enough to support or encourage those local businesses.
It also struck me last month when I went to eat at my favorite local vegetarian restaurant, The Green Temple. It sits in a courtyard, surrounded by local, independent stores, and on one of the doors there was a sticker that says, “Thank You For Choosing Our Local Independent Business.”
It got me to thinking how tired I am of not having choices, or feeling that I could be in Any Town USA instead of the lovely seaside community I live in, and that I have to seek out unique spots to shop now for an enjoyable shopping experience. I wondered if there is anything I can do to help change that and to keep these local shops in business.
So, I did some research and found that buy-local campaigns have sprung up across the United States and Canada and more and more people are supporting them.
Two main organizations support buy-local campaigns: the American Independent Business Alliance and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, which has a searchable directory of buy local networks in the U.S. and Canada.
These buy local campaigns and networks are working to spread the word in their communities that buying locally means more money stays in the local community and that when you support local businesses you are supporting your community.
Next: Where to start buying local