To buy local or not, that is the question. Most people have a general concept of what buying local means, however they are missing all of the great things that come with it. There are two main things that will happen if you switch to more local purchasing that are good for both the environment and your wallet.
First, when you buy local, that means less travel time for you and the product that you are purchasing. Cars and trucks are one of the largest contributors to our rising air pollution rates. Instead of driving to a farther store to do all of your grocery shopping, stay close and support your local businesses. This will save you gas money, travel time, and it’ll help the world a little by decreasing unnecessary carbon emissions. Not to mention, if you are getting something locally made or grown, it will cut down on the carbon footprint of that item as well. Now I know it is difficult to find fresh food in the winter, so I urge you to try to eat somewhat seasonally. Winter squash, onions, shallots, chard, peas, and beans, can all be grown throughout the winter so eat more of those and less of the imported tropical foods. When it is nice out, instead of taking your car to the grocery store, bring some friends and go for a walk or bike ride to the Co-op or farmer’s market. Climate change is in dangerous territory so if you can minimize your carbon footprint by eating seasonally and staying or purchasing in your area then do it!
Second, when you buy local, you will be supporting those businesses and keeping money flowing throughout your town. This is important because if you think about restaurants and small stores that make up your town, you probably aren’t thinking of the large commercial grocery stores and fast food chains. You are probably thinking of the diners, coffee shops, and family restaurants. Without your support these businesses would not be able to stay afloat and would be taken over by even more commercial establishments diminishing the identity of your town. Every dollar spent generates twice as much income for the local economy than it would for large commercial establishments. For example, here in Keene, we have the Monadnock Food Co-op. Here you can become a member for a small fee and actually have a say in what they carry at the store! There are also many local companies that sell their products there that are sourced from New Hampshire. If you were at the store and you needed syrup, yes you could get Aunt Jemima’s highly processed cheap syrup from Hannafords or Price Chopper -Or you could go to the Co-op and get fresh Maple Syrup from down the road, while supporting a local family business!
Overall, support your local restaurants in town, such as Local Burger (it’s right there in the name!), Brewbakers, Terra Nova, The Works, Amicci’s or Ramunto’s (instead of Domino’s). It truly is a small switch to make and may cost you a small amount more at the time, but in the long run you will be saving money from travel time, reducing both the carbon footprint of yourself and your product and maybe even getting in a little exercise.
Isabella Pratt can be contacted