Shopping locally is becoming more than just something your grandparents or the hipsters from high school are doing. Taking control of where your money goes and supporting your community can go a long way. It’s amazing how such minor lifestyle changes can really benefit the part of the world you live in.
I know as students, there are misconceptions about shopping locally such as being more time consuming, and expensive. However, there are ways to get real benefit out of what your town has to offer and there are lots of realistic opportunities for us to live a more affordable, sustainable life.
1.) You can support your community.
Shopping locally has some great benefits for your local economy. It puts the cash right in the hands of the producers and takes away from the bureaucratic system of control that many parts of the world are confined by. Shopping locally supports jobs, promotes self-sufficiency, and ensures your money stays within the community. If that’s not empowerment, I’m not sure what is.
2.) It makes you fall in love with where you are.
It opens your eyes to what’s in-season, and educates you on the produce, products and services that are native to your area. With this, comes a sense of belonging and a spiritual grounding. Every time I walk down James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario or hit up my local farmers market for some fresh raspberries, I find myself devouring the color, art, and beauty of my city. There is so much adventure and discovery that shopping locally can offer.
3.) It’s super awesome for the environment, and for your body.
Not only is shopping locally a better guarantee for healthier products with minimal processing, but it can reduce transportation and shipping of products which reduces environmental losses.
4.) You can get the best bang for your buck.
If the conservation of our earth isn’t enough to convince you, shopping locally can also save you money! Living in a university town, paying thousands per year for tuition and living costs, I personally can’t afford to splurge on groceries every week. Many local vendors, stores and café’s have great benefits programs or discount cards for students. Say goodbye to $100 grocery bills, say hello to fresh and delicious locally grown food!
5.) The food tastes like it’s coming straight out of your mom’s kitchen.
Easy Mac can be a lifesaver, but nothing beats meals cooked with a whole lot of TLC. Local farmers markets give you fresh and unique products that you cannot find in a big box store. They advocate choice and diversity, and carry an enormous variety.
6.) You can find the best gifts for that friend’s birthday you totally forgot about.
Local shops are the perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind gift for you bestie or an antique teacup for your mom on Mother’s Day. Many of these stores reflect the community’s personalized interest and they ensure you aren’t treated as a number. These store owners are liberated by the opportunity to do what they love and sell things they’re proud of creating.
Shopping locally builds community. It takes away from the materialism within the act, and it forces consumers and suppliers to make connections with each other and offer support. When you purchase things from your friends, relatives, and neighbors it’s more than just that “feel good fuzzy feeling” you get when you purchase fresh cut sunflowers from an older lady at the market. Shopping in local communities is about learning, teaching, and connecting.
Shop local. It’s what all the cool kids are doing.