Monday, August 15, 2011

For Real! Buy Local.

I know when we have emerged into global thinking that it is not popular to think narrowly. However, I am going to get on my soap box about something I was taught as a child. Buy local! My Dad was military and my family moved around a lot, living on the economy in several places, including post WWII Germany. I know there were times when they had to survive on the food provided by the army and shop in the authorized exchange. But, I know my dad. Whenever it was possible he would work it around to buy fresh, which usually equates to buying local. When we settled down in a community, he would ferret out the little mom and pop shops. He would find the butcher out in the country who did his own slaughtering. He would find the local providers of produce and milk. I was actually the first person I ever knew who drank raw milk, bought straight from the dairy.

Times are different now, we are moving much faster and seeking our gratification much more instantly. It is possible though to stop and think and do a little research to begin supporting friends, neighbors, people you are ideologically aligned with ...or not. It is possible to know what the meat you are eating today was grazing on last week. Whatever your criteria are, just taking a little time will make it possible most of the time. For example. I love supporting the businesses of the people I know. I live near a small town so that makes it easier. Sometimes there is a little trade off. Perhaps I can't get a particular type of produce. I can usually substitute for something that is similar and would work in my recipe. Perhaps my local market has very few organic fruits and veggies. I can buy at the farmer's market and in many grocery stores, if you are willing to buy by the case, they will order in your organic foods with their regular produce order. If a case is too much, coop with a neighbor.

In a bigger city, it is still possible. My friend D. gets the best seafood, the most wonderful dining experiences and can really show my family a unique good time in the Seattle, Belvue area. He does it by knowing the back story. He avoids the chain stores and restaurants. He asks to meet the owner. He makes personal relationships, he spends his money in establishments where he knows the people.

Now, I am not a purist. I do not know anyone who can build affordable shoes for my family and we still buy clothes that fit regardless of where they came from originally (They mostly join our family from the thrift store rack). I do support big business that uses its profits in dubious ways. I drive a car, I use paper products, I use electronics and medical technology. Many of things are outsourced or nearly impossible to trace. So see I am not perfect at this. BUT, If I have a chance to buy local beef or the big box beef,  that one is easy. If I can choose between supporting Proctor and Gambell and supporting my neighbor that is easy too. If I can shop in the store where the cashiers know my name I will. If there is something in the big box store that I MUST have, I will buy it. But generally, I love leaving my little dollars in the hands of the people who make my community a community.

I would like to challenge you to do business with someone who will remember you when you come back in. Support your neighbors. Stop your produce from having to fly on planes or ride on trains. Walk to your farmer's market and give it a gentle stroll home. Try some hand knitted socks, buy some upcycled clothing. eat at the restaurant where the owner is likely to come by and ask how your food is and whether you think there is too much pepper in the stew. Make some friends, slow down a little, be a good neighbor. Enjoy yourself.

I hope you have a wonderful day.


2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Some very good thought here...
of cource I would love to have some of the "home grown" stuff too.
Maybe someday...I keep hinting that I will have a garden, chickens, & those special small cattle. Praying for all.
Love you bunches,
Mommy 2

Gramma Jane said...

Thank you for this. It makes so much sense.

Nannie said...

I raised my kids on cows milk I bought from the Jp now montana doesn't us allow us to buy it so I have goats now, thanks to the first poor little lost one I bought from you. I love to support my local business cause I be one, I love to trade.

Lawana said...

Yes, Nannie. That is one thing we have in common, except you are so much more industrious than I. I hope some day to catch up to about 20% of what you get accomplished.

I do miss my goats. Especially when I first go out in the morning and there isn't the stampede to the front gate, like there used to be. Oh well, no sense sighing over sold goats :)