This is one of my favourite topics at the moment. The concept of ‘buying local’, what does it even mean? And while buying local has been all the rage for a while now, people still seem to frequent the supermarket to get items that you could quite ‘easily’ buy locally.
I personally love the idea of knowing where my products are coming from and supporting local businesses. I live in Lincolnshire, the heart of agriculture and all things rural and so for me, it’s so easy to buy local. There are farm shops all over the place, local green grocers and markets that open in the local town a couple of times a week. So for me, I don’t really have an excuse not to buy local.
But what does buying locally do for the environment?
- Food Miles: That’s the first thing we should be focusing on! Just by simply shopping locally, you are purchasing goods produced in your local community. However, when you got to the supermarket then you are buying products that have probably travelled thousands of miles to get to us. By cutting down on these miles, you are reducing the environmental impact of your food. Local food doesn’t create large carbon footprints through overseas plane travel or long truck trips. This cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution. There isn’t a need for shipping facilities, packing facilities or refrigeration.
- Fresher Food: Think about it, if you’re buying local food – then the time it’s taken to reach your plate is a lot shorter than if you buy food that’s come from abroad. It’s fresher and more nutritious. A lot of my local farmers as well as focus on keeping their produce as organic as possible by using little or no pesticides. This is hugely beneficial for consumers and the environmental impact makes it even sweeter. By keeping harmful toxins away from crops, that means that it is out of the air and out of our food. We’re not breathing it in and it’s not seeping into the soil either. I think you also have to consider that fact, that by bringing fresh produce from farm to table in a shorter amount of time, we’re naturally reducing wastage. Think about how much food must get wasted by large supermarkets because food as gone bad during transit.
- Local Workforce: Buying local creates and maintains jobs. If you buy your groceries at the local farmers market, you’re helping to keep local growers, creators and farmers in their jobs. Inadvertently, you’re also supporting the wider community too. Who do you think sets up the markets or cleans them up at the end of the day? Buying local actually keeps people working locally. By ensuring consumer demand and encouraging consumers to buy local, you’re supporting the existence of local businesses. Keeping people employed locally is good for the environment too, you’re keeping people employed within the community which means that there would be less traffic on the roads and reduction in the carbon footprint.
- Less Packaging: Think about it, there will be way less packaging too. When I head to my local market, I take my own bags and I fill them. That means that I am reducing the amount of plastic being used
- Supporting Your Community: when you buy local, you support your neighbours. The farmer down the road, the mechanic that owns the repair shop, or the woman that sells her homemade own homemade candles, appreciate their customers so much more. You help their businesses survive. Freya’s Aromatics is a great example! She makes her own candles and I love candles, rather than buying Woodwick or Yankee Candles, I choose to buy from her because I feel like she’s put her heart into her products.
You can also save money when you buy what you need, or you can buy in bulk if you wanted, you can pick your own, eat seasonly, meet your local farmers and businesses and have fun while doing it!
There are so many examples of what you can buy locally as well:
Milk/Eggs – there are a couple of farms in our area who supply milk and eggs to the local community, fresh from the farm.
Baked Goods – there are bakeries that produce their wares on site. Pacey’s bakery is my local bakery and we buy from them all the time. It’s a great place, that has a small cafe as well and I love taking my grandparents there.
Fruit and Veg – you can pick this up at your local farmers market or your local green grocers as well. We have a market where I live twice a week, once one a Tuesday and on Saturday and we often have different vendors at each of these.
Meat/Poultry/Fish – depending on your preference and if you eat any of these then you could buy these from the local fish mongers, butchers or even directly from the farm. It just depends where you live and what is close to you.
My advice is to keep it simple and buy local.