Why Buy Local? Notable Benefits + How to Start.
When you need to make a purchase, where do you go? Whether it’s produce, school supplies, clothing, or something else, your choice matters. In fact, when you buy local, you’re supporting more than just a business owner in your community - you’re voting for a more sustainable planet.
In this article, we’ll discuss several of the top reasons to shop local. Plus, we’ll cover actionable tips to help you find local businesses that suit your needs.
Four Reasons to Buy Local
1. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
When you buy from a nationwide chain, like Walmart or Target, you’re buying items that have been shipped around the world to get to you. They’re often coming from countries like China, India, or Mexico via plane, boat, and truck. While there are certainly some benefits to this supply chain, the transportation required to ship these products results in the release of excessive greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.
In comparison, many local businesses make their own products, sometimes even from local raw materials. For example, foods at your local farmers market are grown within miles of your city, which means a much shorter commute and a smaller carbon footprint. Some local stores also make a point of selling American-made only, which means fewer emissions from transportation.
Even if the small businesses near you sell goods purchased from around the world, there’s still a potential to limit emissions. With such close proximity, you may be able to walk or bike to purchase local goods rather than drive. When a large group of people takes on this practice, it can have huge results. In one study of 3,200 households in the Seattle area, people logged 26% fewer automobile miles by shopping local compared to people who live in places with fewer neighborhood stores.
2. Strengthening Your Local Economy
When you buy from nearby small businesses, you support local ownership and jobs, which also boost your city’s economy. Small businesses employ 61.7 million workers, which is roughly 46% of all US employees. And, in the last 25 years, small businesses have created over 12.9 million jobs.
Ultimately, these jobs put money into people’s hands which can support the families in your community. In time, that fuels economic growth and helps your community thrive.
3. Boosting Community Identity and Well-Being
Local businesses give your community unique flair. Think about this: compare a shopping mall full of chain stores to a farmer’s market. Which has more personality? Local businesses will inevitably add more culture to the area and have more items tailored to the community’s needs compared to a national store.
Plus, local businesses foster community well-being. In a study from the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, researchers found that areas with more small businesses have better public health outcomes than those with fewer local businesses. Researchers theorize that this may be because business owners who are invested in the local economy have stronger social ties and enhance the community’s problem-solving ability, leading to better health.
4. Get Better Customer Service
Local business owners and employees are highly invested in the success of their businesses, which means you typically get excellent service when you buy local. In particular, local makers and farmers are a wealth of knowledge and are often more than happy to discuss their products with you. Farmers can provide knowledge about seasonality and quality, while makers can offer origin stories and details on the creation process.
How to Find Local Businesses
There are a few ways to get started, but it’s usually most helpful to find your local farmers market first. While some focus solely on fresh produce and locally-made foods, others include hand-crafted wares, clothing, and more. That means a farmers market could introduce you to a number of nearby businesses, making it easy to buy local. You can use this USDA directory to help you find farmers markets near your city.
Next, take a walk or drive around your city. If you know of one local business, start there. Local businesses often spring up near each other or support each other with word of mouth. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider joining a local Facebook group (or two!). There, you’ll find a number of experts in your city who can help you find what you need locally.
Although LIM Living may not be local to your area, we take great pride in our own sustainable practices. Every ADU (accessory dwelling unit) that we create is designed with the environment in mind. For example, we select natural, recycled, and renewable materials for every ADU. We choose non-toxic, energy-efficient materials to minimize our carbon footprint. Plus, we choose the highest quality options so that our ADUs can stand the test of time.
If you want to add more living space to your property while being mindful of your impact on our planet, consider an ADU. Read more about our offerings.