How often have you seen the words ‘Buy Local’, ‘Eat Local’, ‘Shop Local’?
When you have, what does it make you think? Perhaps it speaks to you about shopping in smaller shops in town, or purchasing items made in Australia, shopping for fruit and veggies at your local grower’s market.
Whatever these words mean to you, they have hidden superpowers if you delve into what the real benefits are to you as an individual, and to your community.
Buying local means many things to me, from sourcing food, produce, groceries, products and materials that are made or produced in our own backyard (not literally, but in my case, sometimes out of the veggie garden) and when I eat out, I really want to know that there will be locally produced food on my plate.
While this is important, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Buying locally means you are exercising your consumer muscle (and we all know you can’t get fit without exercise) and thus creating increased demand.
The more demand we have for locally made, the more we demonstrate the need for more local food and items to be stocked by larger retailers and stores. That consumer muscle of ours needs as much exercise as the rest of our bodies!
We make a real difference to our climate by reducing transport miles when we buy locally. This counts for online purchases too, the farther your products have to travel, whether to a store or your mailbox, the more fossil fuel is used to get it to you. When you choose a local alternative, you are consciously making a change for the benefit of the environment, local economy, community and yourself.
Buying local keeps your dollar in our community’s back pocket. It’s not rocket science that if you spend your dollars with a local farmer at a produce market, that your money goes back into the local economy. More local coin to be spent locally also helps create more employment opportunities. That got to be a win-win.
Local food is fresher. You know when you buy locally that food hasn’t had to be held in cold storage and travelled kilometres up or down the highway or by air or sea to get to you. Hands down – fresh food looks great, tastes amazing and is better for you.
Dining out, ask what items are on the menu that feature local produce (can you feel that consumer muscle getting a workout now?). Many restaurants and cafes on the Coffs Coast provide locally sourced eggs, meats, produce, herbs, cheese and more. Nothing tastes better than knowing what’s on you plate is supporting locals to keep producing more of the goods.
Next time you’re shopping just take that minute to ask yourself – where did this come from? Awareness of where you can source local products and food will help work that muscle. For information on locally available food and produce head over to our shop local page.
If you can’t buy locally, I encourage you to buy Australian made from Australia. Investing in our own country benefits us all.