Nowadays, we have access to a wide variety of products from all over the world. Faced with so many choices, it is easy to forget the importance of buying local produce. However, there are several reasons why everyone should buy more locally made products this holiday season.
In this article, you can find out why buying local matters and the difference it can make to you, your local community, and globally..
There is no general definition of what makes a local product in Canada. However, there is a policy regarding local food. According to this policy, food can be said to be local when it is sold in the same province or territory it was produced in. It can also be called local when sold across provincial or territorial borders as long as it is sold within 50 km of the province or territory it originates from.
While this policy was written as a guide on what qualifies as local food, we can apply the same principle to other products, too.
If you want to increase the amount of local products you buy, you can search for companies that are local to you by browsing the listings on Made in CA.
Below, you will find eight key reasons you should spend more of your money on local products.
When you buy locally made products or locally grown foods, you are reducing your carbon footprint. Because the products have been sourced locally rather than transported hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, the strain on the environment is a lot smaller.
It can also help preserve green spaces. Farmers will be more likely to stay in business when they receive good compensation for their products and hard work. Growing demand for local produce can also attract more people to become food growers and further increase green spaces in local communities.
Not only is buying local produce better for the environment, but it can also be better for your health. Food that has been grown locally will often keep more nutrients than foods that are transported hundreds of miles.
Local food may also be safer. When foods such as pears, bananas, or tomatoes are imported, they are often picked before they are ripe. They are then ripened artificially using ethylene gas. Small, local farmers also often use fewer pesticides than large producers and are more likely to use environmentally friendly practices such as crop rotation.
When you buy products that are not produced locally, the money you spend goes to benefit the farmers and makers elsewhere or not, as the case may be with many large international companies. Often, very little money goes to the people at the bottom of the chain, the makers and growers of the products you buy.
When you buy local foods, your money goes to the local makers, growers, and producers, so more of it stays in the local community and supports the local economy, creating a snowball effect. Local businesses are more likely to buy from other local businesses and when local companies thrive, it creates more jobs for people in the community.
When you spend money locally, more of it comes back to your community not just through more jobs and thriving businesses, but also in tax money. Those tax monies are vital in keeping the local community working.
Local governments use money from taxes to maintain roads, public transport systems, schools, healthcare facilities, and public spaces such as libraries and green spaces. So when you invest in local businesses, everyone in the community benefits.
When people head to big chain stores and shopping malls, the businesses in the local village and town centres will eventually have to close their doors, leading to deserted local high streets.
If you choose to spend more money locally, eating in local independent restaurants and buying products from local stores produced by local makers and growers, you help to keep the community vibrant and attractive.
When you buy products from large global companies, you are buying something owned by thousands, if not by millions of other people. They are mass-produced and you can find, for example, the same shirt in London, Ontario as you can find in London, England.
When you buy from local makers and designers, you can find unique products. Often you can even talk to the makers and find out more about the inspiration behind the products. You are getting an item with a story rather than something replicated countless times.
Your purchases really matter to the local business, which is why you often get much better customer service at the point of purchase and if there happens to be anything wrong with the product.
When you buy from a chain store, the staff are not invested in your satisfaction in the same way as small businesses are. Often, the chain store staff can only help you with a faulty product within the limits of their store policy, while small business owners are more willing to go that extra mile to make sure you are happy with their product and service.
When you spend your money on local businesses, you help to create a more culturally diverse market place. In small shops, you will often find more creations made by, for example, ethnic minorities and women.
You will also help to create a market where consumers have more choice. While large stores choose generic products with the widest possible appeal, small businesses can give you more choice because their selections are not dictated by managers far removed from the communities the shops are in. Their proximity to the community often means a better awareness of what people in the community want to see on the shelves.
When you choose to spend more of your money on locally produced items, you are giving back to the community. You help to create more jobs and a vibrant local high street with more cultural diversity than you can find in large chain stores.
Shopping locally benefits the environment and it may also benefit your health. You’ll also often find better service and more unique selections of products when shopping at local businesses.