Learn the benefits of living locally.
When you visit a small town, you’ll hear the locals talk about making an effort to support local businesses. They encourage each other to eat at the local restaurants and shop at local stores whenever possible, all in an effort to sustain the town’s economy. In recent years, the concept of “living local” has moved far beyond America’s small towns as we’ve learned about the benefits to our health and the environment.
Living local involves buying food that was raised near your home, ideally within 150 miles of where you live. It also includes shopping at local businesses and making an effort to support the businesses within walking or bike riding distance. In addition to supporting your local economy, living local cuts down on the energy used to transport goods. Local business owners and farmers can be held more accountable to their sustainability practices, so over time, a commitment to shopping local and using local goods can reduce things like global exploitative labor practices and chemical pesticide use.
Locally grown food is also going to be fresher and have more nutrients in it than food that has been brought to you from hundreds of miles away. Learning to live local can improve life for your family, your community, and even the world beyond your local region.
The average distance food travels from farm to table in the United States is 1500 miles.
- Visit your local farmer’s market. Getting your fruits, vegetables and herbs from your local producers is a great step towards living local. Children love being a part of the process of making selections. Even better, stock up when local food is in season by going to U-Pick farms.
- Shop in your downtown district. Before heading to the mall or big box stores, visit independently-owned businesses near your home.
- Find a local butcher. While the farmer’s market can handle your produce needs, a local butcher can connect your with meat from local ranchers. You may even be able to visit the farms that raise the food you’ll eventually eat to see how the animals are treated, or purchase an annual share in a farm’s production as a way of supporting their work.
- What is made in your community? In your neighborhood? Your local chamber of commerce can help you find the small businesses in your town where makers produce goods, and can help you find the stores, craft shows and flea markets where they are sold. Whether you need candles, a new coffee mug or a dog bed, it’s possible that those items are made close to your home.
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