10 reasons to Buy Local by ReferLocal
National retailers, foreign and domestic commercial farmers, and businesses from outside the country have all had a negative impact on local communities. This is because many people turn to outside sources for the items that they need on a regular basis. Often this is out of habit and many people do not consider how this affects the area in which they live. Local farmers, for example, are greatly impacted by the purchase of food from large commercial farms and farms from other countries. This competition has resulted in many of them closing. Over the years there has been much talk about the benefits of buying food from local farmers; however, to see the greatest improvement, people will need to support local businesses in general. Products such as craft items, artwork, clothing and furniture are all items that can be purchased locally. Understanding the reasons why it is important to buy from local businesses will help encourage people to take action.
Prevent the Spread of Organisms and Insects
When creating a garden, purchasing locally grown plants may help to reduce the spread of organisms that are harmful to other plants. These organisms can cause diseases that wind or rain may spread to other plants in the area. In addition, buying locally grown vegetables reduces the chances of introducing invasive insects to an area. Insects from outside regions can easily attach themselves to transplants and travel across the country or even from locations outside of the U.S.
To Support Businesses in the Local Area
By purchasing products locally, consumers are supporting local businesses. Often smaller local businesses suffer when larger, big-box stores enter an area. In some cases, these businesses are forced to go out of business if they are unable to compete with these larger stores. As a result, this takes money away from the local community, causes more vacancies in buildings, and reduces available options for consumers.
Local Food is Healthier
Fruits and vegetables from local farmers are typically exposed to fewer chemicals than commercial farms that often spray produce with hormones and insecticides. When produce is purchased locally, it is eaten closer to the time that it was picked. The fresher produce is, the more nutrition it will retain. On the other hand, when vegetables and fruits must travel a long distance from other places, they begin to lose some of their vitamins, such as Vitamin C, E, A, and B. As produce from outside locations travels from one location to another, changes in temperature and exposure to air and artificial lights also contribute to the deterioration of nutrients.
Buying Local is Good for the Environment
The environmental benefits of buying locally impacts not only the community in which a person lives, but also the global environment. When people buy products that are created and grown in their town, city or region, they are reducing how far those products travel before purchase. Reducing the need for transportation reduces the number of vehicles on the road and the resulting amount of pollution that is created. Pollution from vehicles is a leading cause of global warming. Another benefit is that local farms also provide a habitat for wildlife and farms such as organic and tree farms may reduce carbon dioxide from the air.
It Encourages Job Growth
By supporting local businesses, residents of a community are also assisting in the creation and retention of jobs. The more businesses that stay open the greater the need for employees. When large outside retailers cause a business to close, unemployment increases. Although these outside retailers are often “large,” they typically create more unemployment than jobs. An additional benefit to greater employment is that communities often become safer.
To Improve the Local Economy
Money spent at locally owned stores and on locally grown food, has a positive impact on the area’s economy because more money goes back into the community. One way that this happens is that small local businesses regularly buy from or use the services of other businesses in the area. They donate more money to schools and other local services than chain department or big box stores. Because they hire more people, employees spend more money locally.
Buying Locally Can Save Money
There are several ways that local purchases save people money. Because these businesses, markets, etc., are closer to home, people need not travel far to get what they need. Products made or grown locally don’t have to travel as far to reach the consumer, resulting in lower prices. In some cases, there is no middle-man, which translates into lower prices for the consumer.
Support for Area Farms
Small area farms benefit greatly when communities purchase their produce directly from them either in local stores or at farmer’s markets. They are able to retain most of the money that is earned through local sales. As a result, they are able to both earn a living and be more competitive against commercial farms. A community’s support ensures that these small farms are able to continue operating into the future.
Avoid Higher Taxes
Community tax dollars are also better spent when local businesses are patronized. Communities spend more money from tax payers to support national retailers than small area businesses. As a result, tax payers often end up paying higher taxes to support this cost. Tax dollars are put to better use when there are more local businesses.
More Consumer Options
Consumers have access to greater options when there are more local-owned shops. In addition, these businesses are more aware of what their local customers need and want. This is another way that consumers can guarantee they are receiving the best prices. On the other hand, national businesses provide products that are not based off of any individual community, but off of their national plans. When their presence causes smaller businesses to close, they also reduce the consumers’ options.