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“Buy Local” Beyond Food

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“Buy Local” Beyond Food

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

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
3:22AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

I do both...depends on the quality and price.

1:18AM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

Yes, be part of your community. It's the way to help so many more people.

4:03AM PDT on May 2, 2012


3:07PM PDT on May 1, 2012

Make local, sell local, buy local. Know your product and the people that handle it.

2:08PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

We are all vegan and vegetarian in the family and very Healthy hike,run,bike,dance ballet @SFB, and Hip hop @ the local dance studio,do weights and Yoga. We are all a very Happy and smiling bunch and get high grades in school since many of us are still studying. and having fun.

2:01PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Today is my niece Jenevieve Jades 12th birthday and she lovessss to read so I am getting her what she loves in our local book store....Her parents also got her books locally yesterday because we support the local business,of which 2 are run by her Dad and all the kids love to go to his Drive in,bike in walk in food restaurant. We all make it work for our community from the eldest my Mom who is 90 and drives her VW convertible around to the family spots and we ride our bikes,all 20 plus of us ,kids and all.

7:35PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

It's always pleasing to have a connection with your local merchants, as opposed to faceless corporations.

8:31AM PDT on May 18, 2011

Great idea to support local food, crafts, and shops.

5:36AM PDT on May 18, 2011


6:30PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

I'm not all that sure that local businesses selling locally would truly help a local economy that much as compared to global businesses selling lcoally. Wouldn't much more money be brought to a community if it had both local and global businesses that bought locally (labor, as well as goods) but sold globally ?

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