Buying local may be the best thing you can do for your community — and the planet.
I’ve been singing the praises of buying locally and the locavore movement for quite sometime. But now, more than ever, there are concrete reasons why buying locally produced food and products is better.
Buying local is better than buying organic.
It turns out that organic food grown in polluted locales contains, not surprisingly, high levels of pollutants like heavy metals. Hence, many people say that buying local, as in American-grown produce, trumps labels such as “organic,” if the food in question was grown in a potentially polluted place. Moreover, many small food producers embrace the spirit of organic (no pesticides, antibiotics, etc..) but find organic food certification cost prohibitive.
Buying local is better for your community.
There is strong evidence that there are significant social, environmental, and economic benefits to creating local economies. Having a larger density of locally owned businesses results in higher per capita income, more jobs, and greater resiliency in the local economy. A strong local economy translates into jobs and economic growth, which increases the tax base, which improves services for people in their own communities.
Buying Local is good for small business owners.
Buying locally provides business owners with more control over their materials and end products and reduces transportation related costs. Whole Foods’ Local Food Loan Program has found that local food businesses are often innovators and have funded pioneering projects in biodynamic farming, non-GMO animal feed, pollinator health and sustainable packaging. The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is a good resource for finding a business network in your area.
Buying local can change the whole country (possibly the whole world).
As BALLE states on their website:
“There is real evidence that real national prosperity — even global prosperity — begins at the local level and that by connecting entrepreneurs who are re-thinking their industries, funders who are investing in the local economy movement, and network organizers who can mobilize on a broad scale, we can — and will — create a stronger, more resilient, and fair economy.”
Many issues related to sustainability —from energy policy to recycling services—are addressed at a local or state level. Successful policies often spread to other locales. As the folks at Goodfor20, who aim to inspire people to reallocate a portion of their food spending to local food sources, say: Small commitments can lead to big change.