Do You Buy Local?

I don’t know about you, but around my neck of the woods, there is a hard push to ”buy local”. I understand that buying local supports local, hard-working people, and while I try to do my best, it’s not always possible.

Truthfully it would be near impossible to live of 100% local products. I wouldn’t have this Asian-made computer if I only bought local, wouldn’t eat half the fresh fruits I love because our environment would never sustain their growth, and would have to give up things like my favorite wine.

cost of buying local Photo via Flickr – Natalie Maynor

”Buying local” is a great movement to support, but not feasible in all areas of life.

Ways to support local merchants

For me, the easiest way to support local merchants is to attend the farmers market in my city. I’m able to buy great food, amazing crafts and unique, one-of-a-kind items. Sometimes these items are much cheaper than in a larger store, but sometimes quite the opposite is true and I have to weigh the value of the item in question. Often the higher dollar amount is justified in quality, though sometimes, I’ll willingly pay more for no reason other than to support the merchants hard work.

If you don’t have access to a farmers market and are interested in locally made or produced product, call your local tourism office and they can likely point you in the right direction. Online ventures like Etsy also allow you to shop by area search where you can seek out merchants around you.

Is local better?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I bought local apples today that were amazing. When food doesn’t have to travel across the country in a warm truck for a week before reaching me, and rather drive an hour up the highway fresh from being picked, you better believe it’s a better product. I’ve tried other local produce, produce that isn’t normally grown around here, and it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the imported version, but the fact remains that given our environment sometimes you won’t get the same quality as a product that is able to grow under ideal conditions.

Perfect example, wine.

We have a few vineyards in our provincial valley but this climate is not the most ideal growing conditions for good wine. We make (so I’m told) a pretty good ice wine but I’ve tried many whites and reds that were produced locally and they’re just not the same. Likely because we don’t have the same ideal growing conditions as well-known wine valleys world-wide do.For this reason, I likely won’t be supporting our local wine-makers, I just don’t like the product.

Am I really buying local?

There is a local children’s shop that is a big promoter of buying local and keeping money within the community. While I love the idea, when I go into the store it is wall-to-wall filled with imported stuff that I could buy at any other major department store. While they may have a few unique locally made or manufactured items, it’s impossible to think something like a children’s store, which carries everything from furniture to toys and clothes could be stocked 100% with locally made items. Though I like the idea of supporting this woman in her entrepreneurial venture, the fact remains that she needs to charge significantly more for these items than other stores to make ends meet. If I’m buying a non-locally made item anyway, I will be buying it as cheap as possible.

Supporting your local entrepreneurs is important. Small businesses are important and full of potential. I do shop local occasionally but if I’m being honest, it’s just not possible or feasible all the time.

Do you ”buy local”? How far do you take it?

9 thoughts on “Do You Buy Local?

  1. There’s definitely a push to buy local in my area, yet most of our produce in our grocery stores are local (most, not all) and we try and select the varieties that are grown locally. As for the rest of our products we buy (not just food items), unfortunately, most are made in China. I’m always surprised if I can find items, like towels or clothing, manufactured in the US.

  2. I don’t mind buying local food when it’s in season. It tastes a lot better than what I could get from the store. There are a lot of things though that it isn’t possible for me to buy local, like avocado. And I really like guacamole.

  3. I patronize local made products. However if the quality is not good, I prefer the imported one. When it comes to food, I prefer the local one. It is more fresh and cheaper. At least you are sure that the food you are eating just newly harvested. While the import foods, maybe there is preservative or chemical to keep its freshness.

  4. Erica says:

    Hey! I came across this post because I was wondering what personal finance gurus think about buying local. It’s amazing how few talk about it :). I like your point here, that it’s good but by no means is it something that we can do all the time or can change to completely. Do you have any thoughts about community banks? They seem like an interesting way to benefit the community without spending more money- all I’m doing is moving the money that I already have into the community..

    Anyways I’ve not seen many finance bloggers talk about it so I’d love to hear your thoughts! Great blog!

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