Local Produce

a few of the benefits of buying locally grown produce in your neighborhood

Transportation

Fresh produce, on average, travels around 1,500 miles before reaching you. This travel time not only decreases the freshness of the product but increases it's cost to pay for expenses such as gas, man power to package, transport, and unload. Buying locally reduces energy expenditure and carbon emissions for the transport of non-local produce. Preserving the environment now by reducing the waste of produce transport will aid the growth of future products by creating a cleaner environment for them to grow locally.

The Product

Buying locally grown produce will yield the freshest possible product since it comes straight from the grower to your plate. Fresher produce maintains more nutrients in it than produce that has been packaged and distributed from non-local growers compared to local growers. These local farms can produce a wider range of products because they are less concerned with the rigors associated with packing and intensive harvesting. Having a variety of different products can also increase the longevity of their growing seasons, since different genetic breeds are harvested at different times.

Health Benefits

Locally grown produce typically contains far fewer pesticides and preservatives than their national competitors. Organic produce is much easier to find on a local level when you can talk to the grower personally. Even non-organic farmers use more restraint in their usage of chemicals on their products. Fresher produce contains more nutrients and tastes better, which means it will be eaten more.

Where to Buy Local Produce

a general list of places to buy locally grown produce in your market

Farmer's Market

Many cities currently have farmers markets on certain days where local sellers can vend their goods to the community. Finding these types of markets can be done via internet searches, bulletin boards, newspapers, and word of mouth. Farmers markets are great not only for produce but also feature a variety of other goods that are created locally such as meats, handcrafted items, and canned goods among other things.

Veggie Stands

Veggie stands are sometimes harder to find than markets but bring you fresh produce from a local farmer. There is less selection to be had from a stand due to it's representation of only one farm (typically) but can have a range of different produce grown on that farm, from cucumbers to tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, who knows!

Direct

Buying direct from a farm will provide you the freshest possible products and personal interaction with the grower. Some farms allow you to harvest your own produce which creates a very strong connection to your community and completely eliminates any type of middle man or transportation fees associated with other consumerism.

Mom & Pop Shops

the benefits of buying from local mom & pop shops

Physical

Buying locally provides the experience of physical interaction with products that cannot be shared over the internet. The tactile feel, durability, craft quality, and overall user compatibility can be easily swayed by one physical interaction with a product. Local mom & pop shops provide these kind of experiences to their customers with much less concern for bottom line and just getting you out the door.

Service

Community businesses provide a certain style of service that cannot be equalled by bigger name corporate shops. Mom & pop shops usually take pride in their quality of service due to their concern with the local community and giving back to that community through their service. Getting to know their customers can be a huge way of increasing their service to the community, so interaction with customer service is a key part in the buying process.

Uniqueness

Because mom & pop shops are a locally based business, they can incorporate a lot more of the character and flavor of the community. Giving small shops business helps to increase the variety in shopping you can do in the local area. Corporate stores will never be able to connect to the community as well as mom & pop shops due to their target of servicing a national market and adhering to strict corporate guidelines and a culture that is not influenced by local trends.

Benefits to the Local Economy

how your local economy benefits from your local purchases

Local Money

Studies have shown that for every hundred dollars spent at a locally owned store, over sixty eight of those dollars will stay in the local economy. Chain stores drop this number to under forty three. This locally spent money can then stay in the community by cycling through other local businesses. Studies have also shown that local businesses are much more likely to buy products from other locals, which creates a very sustainable way of boosting the economy in a region.

Job Market

Local businesses provide far more jobs in the community than big name corporations. Not only do locally owned businesses create more jobs, but they also create better paying jobs at a rate of over 75% higher than national chains. Because smaller stores have a larger tie to the community, they also care more about their employees and offer a much higher incentive that big name stores to those employees.

Charity

Nonprofit organizations receiver over 250% more donations from locally owned businesses than they do from national corporations. The connection of local businesses to the community is seen most clearly through their willingness to give back. By making purchases locally, a percentage of your money is more than likely making its way into the communities nonprofit organizations.

Sustainability of Buying Local

how buying local increases sustainability efforts of your local area

Transportation

Fresh produce, on average, travels around 1,500 miles before reaching you. This travel time not only decreases the freshness of the product but increases it's cost to pay for expenses such as gas, man power to package, transport, and unload. Buying locally reduces energy expenditure and carbon emissions for the transport of non-local produce. Preserving the environment now by reducing the waste of produce transport will aid the growth of future products by creating a cleaner environment for them to grow locally.

Community

Buying local can create a strong sense of community in the consumer which is extremely helpful in increasing their willingness to aid the community in other ways. As members of the community devote their time to one another the community will continue to prosper and become more and more sustainable as the cycle of giving back evolves.

Nonaltered Growth

Because local growers typically use less pesticides and other harmful chemicals to modify and protect the growth of their harvests, buying local reduces that harmful side affects of these agents. More sustainable growing methods such as organic growing help to reduce the long term negatives associated with these chemicals. Creating a more powerful local market will help to create far more sustainable growing techniques due to the focus on crop health, community health, and the continued growth of clean farming.

The Human Element

information on the beneficial features of the human element when buying locally

Face to Face

Face to face interaction with customer service typically results in a much stronger communication between the two parties. It's a lot easier (for most people) to communicate in this manner, and it's no wonder. Face to face interactions are where local shops and producers will continue to thrive based on their love for the community and all of the people in it. The human interaction they provide to make your purchase a good one is a key componenent to buying local.

Knowledge

Local businesses typically know a good deal about their products, whether it be produce or handcrafted goods. They have experience to back up their service, and they want to help you make an informed decision. Although we live in an internet driven world where the go to source for fact finding involves little human interaction, utilizing the knowledge of a local business owner or farmer can be extremely helpful in your local purchases and looking at more factors than could be found with a quick search on google. A lot of local producers and shops would not be doing what they're doing if they didn't love it and want to know more about it. So use that love and knowledge to your advantage.

Helping Hands

Buying local means meeting locals. It's unavoidable. But there are so many advantages to this interaction, one of which being the likelihood of local customer service actually wanting to help you. The producer consumer relationship is hardly ever a caring one when you buy from online vendors or corporate run establishments. These types of businesses are less concerned with your experience or thoughts and concerns and more about getting your money into their accounts. Local businesses are more concerned with their community and providing a helping hand to the people living there. That's why their service is so friendly.