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The Power of Local Grocers

The Power of Local Grocers

Earlier this week, I discovered the health food store County Sun Natural Foods in Palo Alto.  It’s just wonderful.  The employees are friendly, the selection of products is excellent, the outdoor seating area is very pleasant, and my co-worker says the Marin location it the only place she buys her meat.

But the best part is that it’s a local, independent business that has been around since 1971, and it supports local suppliers.  On the store’s website, the owners state, “We are committed to supporting our local suppliers because local food is fresher, has better flavor, reduces the use of fossil fuels, and benefits the local economy.”  I was genuinely impressed when I read this.  If you’ve been following the news about Monsanto and Whole Foods, you appreciate the value of local retailers.  It’s easy to focus on organic food but forget about supporting local business.  And to forget about the importance of nourishing ourselves the way nature intended – with local, seasonal food.  Choosing organic food, of course, is very important.  But selecting organic coconuts and pineapples in the middle of winter may not be the best way to go.  Produce that’s shipped over a far distance has lost a significant amount of its nutritional value by the time it hits the shelves, and it has a much higher carbon footprint than local alternatives.

What’s more, by supporting local businesses, you’re asserting your voice in determining the kinds of foods you want to be available to you.  When we patronize large chain grocery stores, we give them an undue amount of power over the food we eat.  If a grocery chain decides to carry foods that have been contaminated with GMO seeds, and there’s no local grocery store to take your business to instead because they’ve been run out by the chain stores, then we’ve all lost the ability to determine how we want to nourish ourselves.  We’re supporting practices we don’t believe in, because there’s no alternative.  So shopping at stores like Country Sun is a powerful tool that we as consumers should take advantage of.  It allows us to demonstrate to the food industry that we believe in local, organic food and that those are the criteria we use in making our purchasing choices.

Related:
Fair Trade or Local: Is There Only One Choice?
8 Reasons to Support Farmers’ Markets
“Buy Local” Beyond Food

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Green, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

36 comments

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10:56AM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

Thanks.

11:21AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

Local shopping for groceries and otherwise is so vital today...it's what keeps our local economies going. There's an excellent way to do this and also save money - try going to a consolidation site of local daily deals like www.koopik.com and see what there is to offer. Choose your region, set preferences and get an email of all deals in your area to simplify your life.

5:40PM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

thanks

2:42AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

thanks

11:45AM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

I shop locally as often as possible...especially the farmers' markets. Fresh and local is definitely better, not just better for you/better tasting but better for the environment.

6:37AM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

You would be suprised at the amount of food you can grow in a 10X10 area. and even a couple containers will grow alot of the food you eat. so besides going to local groceries try growing a couple plants yourself. even if you live in an apartment chances are you can grow some of your own food on the balcony or in a window or two.

10:37PM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

intristinct.

8:57PM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

I shop at local health food stores as much as possible,and I love farmers markets. Can't wait to get some strawberries.

10:53PM PDT on May 31, 2011

We only ever purchase from our local stores, as we live in the outback where all shops are locally owned.
We and they get to know what each family like and naturally the standard we demand. We can sell or swap our garden extras as well.
Lovely to catch up on family and local news whilst shopping as well.

2:01AM PDT on May 31, 2011

thanks for sharing such a good article

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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