What does “Local” mean to me?

by Jason Broaddus

Buying local has become an essential part of my everyday life.  It consumes me like NFL football on a chilly fall Sunday.  When making the decision between buying local or heading to the closest Wholefoods, there are a plethora of questions one should ask themselves before coming to a conclusion.  Do you consider where the money goes? What that money is used for?  Will it directly impact the community I live in?  Do the owners of these corporate businesses generally care for the well being of their employees?  These are all questions I have begun to ask myself when making a purchase; from groceries to clothing.

Purchasing products from local companies set off a chain reaction that benefits the consumer and the producer. Typically the money goes directly back into the community from which it came. No one sees more benefits from local buyers than farmers. Supporting local farmers lets them focus on the quality of products which allows them to produce much healthier, higher quality items. They will be able to turn a profit, allowing them to continue working their land and keeping it away from heavy pocketed investors.

As a father of an incredible little girl, with one on the way, living this type of community-based, locally supported lifestyle is a conscious decision I make every time I leave my home.  I have a responsibility to my family and my community to make sure the money we generate here, stays here.   I also want to make sure the community I love stays economically strong in an ever-deteriorating environment.  Buying local reduces emissions from shipping and logistics which lowers the impact of your food or local products on the environment.

In short, buying local to me means loving your neighbors, respecting the environment, and respecting the community.  When I look at the economics, the environmental factors, and how the community is affected, I have a hard time taking that trip to Wal-Mart or Publix.  I value looking at the person who grew my food in the eye and handing them money directly.  When thinking about your next grocery trip, or a shopping spree, ask yourself what “local” actually means to you.  It might lead you to an amazing new shop or you might make a new friend, but most importantly you will be supporting your neighbors in these extraordinary times we find ourselves in.

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