I am not much of a shopper, and truth be the very last thing I want to do the day after Thanksgiving is go shopping, but I guess people do some crazy intense shopping on Black Friday!
I started hearing the phrase shop local a few years a go. I didn’t think too much about it. I shop here …where I live. Doesn’t everybody? What did shop local actually mean?
I began to observe that the items I purchased weren’t made in this country. I wasn’t paying attention. When I learned more and more about it. I thought wow how could I have been so oblivious?
When I moved to Central Illinois I visited the local farmers market. It was lovely here. Three long blocks of local farmers, vendors and artists. At first I felt overwhelmed, some booths were organic, some were not – many didn’t have websites. I was skeptical for some reason. I felt like they were strangers to me. I realized that I didn’t think seasonally re: my food shopping or menu planning – that first summer I was more of an observer of the farmers market than a participant. I dabbled.
Food is important to me. Quality food. If I look where I spend my dollar much of it goes to the food I eat.
The second summer I made a commitment to shop at the farmers market each saturday. I did this to support the local farmer. I shifted the way I organized my shopping and menu planning habits AND along the way I met these absolutely amazing people who grew the food I was buying. It became very important to me to not only purchase from them. I felt compelled to encourage others to do so as well
This past summer I heard Food System Analysts Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource speak. The conversation was about the local food economy. I am the last person to discuss with any expertise economics, I can leave that up to Ken, but he said some things that got me thinking
Most farmers in this region don’t feed people. ( what?) They grow commodity crop that is turned into things that are processed or manufactured.
Food has become a leading cause of death, rivaling tobacco. A high-calorie diet, combined with a lack of exercise, accounts for one-fifth of the annual deaths in the U.S. (1)
Six of the fifteen leading causes of death are related to faulty diet and low physical activity. (2) Food related health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes represent six of the ten leading causes of death nationally. The medical costs of treating diabetes in the U.S. total $147 billion annually. (3)
above information quoted from here ( by food systems analyst Ken Meter)
I was stunned by this.
The farmers who grow food here, food that you can actually eat that is grown organically, do so because the love it, they do it in principle, they go the extra mile to produce an organic crop. It’s what they do – it’s how they earn their living. They are not subsidized by the government.
I thought about MY spending dollar and where it goes. If I buy from a big box store or some chain grocery store that dollar doesn’t go anywhere near where I live. It’s GONE into wherever land.
Where if I buy eggs, chicken and greens from a farmer – that money is going to him, his family and that money is mindfully getting spent back here in this community. I buy local, they buy local, we buy local – it’s keeping that economy and commerce here.
It was like a light bulb went on or something.
Buying something hand crafted from someone you know, or from an artist that you met nearby or a mom and pop restaurant means something to them. Does the Jewel know that it’s “you” when you grocery shop there?
Think about where you are spending your dollar this holiday season. Keep the economy close by, support your local farmers, artists and crafters.
Buy local does not mean shopping at your nearby WalMart.