6 reasons to shop local
The way we shop today has changed dramatically from our parents’ generation – or even 10 years ago! For starters, the environmental impact of shopping in the pre-internet era was negligible compared to the way many of us shop now, with the convenience of online shopping shipped straight to your door.
So, why is shopping local so important? Here are six of our favourite reasons.
1. Putting the person back in personalised service
When you spend your money within your community, you’re more likely to know your business owners and their staff, and they’re definitely more likely to know and appreciate you. They’ll not just know your name, they’ll know your tastes, value your opinions and patronage. And when it comes to important issues like getting the best health advice, for example, that personal relationship and connection may not be quantifiable, but it’s priceless.
2. You’ll reap the health benefits
Doing your weekly fruit and veggie shop at your local fresh produce markets or health food store is a simple change you can make for the health of yourself and your family.
Supermarket produce may be coming from much further away – especially if it isn’t in season – resulting in an increased travel time between the farm and your plate, and unfortunately, the nutritional value of fresh fruit and veggies tends to decline during storage. For example, a study conducted at the University of California, Davis revealed that fresh produce loses between 15% and 77% of its vitamin C within a week of being harvested.1
3. Support your local community
Doing your shopping locally can make a big difference to your community – not only do you support the business itself, but you’re also supporting job creation for local workers. Shopping local has also been shown to create more self-sufficient businesses with less dependence on imports – which has a flow on effect for local suppliers, artisans, and the environment. Money kept within a community helps to increase the local tax base, leading to greater economic activity in your hometown or suburb – benefitting everyone.2
4. Shopping local helps the environment
When you shop online, you’re far more likely to be purchasing items that are packaged up in plastic (lots and lots of plastic!) and that have taken a lengthy journey to get to your door.
Both of these issues increase greenhouse gas emissions far more than a quick drive or relaxed stroll to your local shops. Yes, local shops carry imported goods too - it’s a fact of our globalised way of life - but shopping thoughtfully and locally is more likely to support local artisans and require little to no packaging. Especially if you BYO shopping bag.
5. Find something a little different
Whether you’re perusing the local farmer’s market or trying something new that caught your eye in your favourite health food store – you’re likely to find a greater level of diversity when you look to local businesses. For example, demand may be different for products in your area and the business owners are able to respond by providing what their local customers prefer. Local artisans in the area may have a unique take on a product, be it food, art or clothing that means you won’t find a product quite like it anywhere else.
6. Shopping locally is shopping mindfully
We’ve never been more connected. Yet in many ways we’re also more isolated, which can lead to loneliness and mental health issues. What we need to foster more than ever is a sense of community, belonging, and face to face interaction. Online browsing can be fun, but it will never be as valuable as interacting in real life. Going into your local businesses can help you to not only shop more mindfully, but it can also be a nice reminder that you’re part of a community that needs you as much as you need it.
So, grab your canvas bag and get to your local stores, you’ve got a community to support – yours!
- Rickman JC, et al. J Sci Food Agric 2007:87:1185-1196.
- Michigan State University 2010. Accessed March 2021 from: https://ced.msu.edu/upload/reports/why%20buy%20local.pdf
- NC State University. Accessed March 2021 from: https://pj.news.chass.ncsu.edu/2016/01/19/small-business-philanthropy-on-the-rise-what-nonprofits-can-learn-from-how-small-businesses-are-giving-back/