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Are you tired of shopping in a crowded Wal-mart where everyone is literally rushed, the produce is shipped in from who knows where, and natural, cruelty-free products are few and far between? If so, then give shopping locally a shot!

Finding out where your local service and food businesses and farmers’ markets are located in your area is only a click away online.  If you are not enirely sure why buying locally is important, please check out this handy list. Does your family not understand why you only want to buy your food from farmers’ markets or buy homemade soap from your neighbors? This list would be for them too.

1. Fresher food is available at your local market.

A lot of the time, the food at the farmers’ market comes directly from that specific farmer and was picked within the week! Talk about your food being super fresh compared to the store bought food, where who knows how long the transportation time was from the farm to the store (and it probably had a stop or two in between). There is only one way to get your produce fresher than the farmers’ market: by driving to a local farm that offers a pick-your-own program! Picking your own strawberries, peaches, blueberries and more are a great way to becoming more grounded to the earth and get connected with your food!

2. There is way less packaging involved. 

According to scientists in 2010, around eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the ocean. What is even worse is that the number is expected to increase ten-fold over the next decade! Plastic is a global issue and it can be easily combatted by choosing reusable over plastic. If you choose to buy local, most of the items being sold have limited packaging. Bring your own reusable bags and you should be good! Even better, choose to shop local, ditch plastic, and join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic movement.

3. Buying local helps the local economy. 

When you buy local, it stays local. More jobs will be created in your town, the community will prosper, and people will be more connected than ever to their own town. Your money helps businesses local to you, as well as your neighbors, hence reason number four.

4. Buying local helps support your neighbors.

Whether you are buying a product from the farmers’ market or using a local service business, you are not only supporting the local economy, but also supporting your neighbors. The farmer down the road, the mechanic that owns the local automotive repair shop, or the woman that sells her homemade skincare and bath products, appreciate their customers so much more. Why? Not only do they get to meet you, a person who uses their products face to face, but your support helps them and their businesses survive. You help feed their families, pay their bills, and put a roof over his or her family’s head. It is a huge deal to buy locally for this reason alone.

5. You know where your food comes from if you buy it at the market.

This is often something that not enough people consider. How is your food produced? What types of pesticides or herbicides are being used on your produce? Does the farmer use any form of permaculture? Does that natural body butter contain ingredients that use palm oil? This reason only really applies to farmers’ markets, but you and everyone else has the right to know where the food is coming from. This connects you to your food and allows you to choose healthier choices for yourself.

6. Buying local is actually better for the planet.

Not only does shopping or buying locally from the farmers’ market or other local market reduce waste from packaging, but it also reduces the use of fossil fuels. Food miles not only consume energy, but they contribute to poor air quality, and you will be served older food, which could have affects on your health.

7. The experience is way more fun.

Going to the grocery store, would not seem like the most ideal place to have a good time. At least I don’t think so. When you go to the farmers’ market or local indoor natural market, a lot of times you will see smiling faces, hear live music, eat awesome food, and get locally-grown, fresh food for a steal. There are also some farms, known as “pick-your-own” where you can actually pick your own food at the farm, (such as strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, etc.). This is especially fun when you have young kids.

8. You get to meet your farmers.

If you get to know the farmers that are producing your food and products, you not only know exactly how they are produced or grown, but you can sometimes get the hook-up. Have you ever heard of a CSA program, (community supported agriculture program)? If not, it is definitely something to look into in your area. It is a way to directly support your local farmers, get a weekly fresh batch of produce and goodies, eat seasonally, and sometimes even be able to pick the food in your weekly order. CSAs are not only good for the planet and the local farmers, but they are healthier for you. Often, a CSA is cheaper in the long run as well.

9. It can help you save money.

A lot of the time, buying local, organic produce from a local farmer, (whether it is in a CSA program, at the farmers’ market, or organic food co-op), it is cheaper than buying it in a conventional grocery store. In conventional grocery stores, sometimes it will say that the produce is “organic” and “local,” but if you take the time to look further into where it actually comes from, there are still chemicals on the produce to preserve its look, (so it can travel more distance and remain looking fresh), and some hike up prices because of the label. Sometimes, when it says, “local,” it can actually be grown from around 100-200 miles away from the store it is being sold in.

10. Buying local gives you the opportunity to buy in bulk.

This is not just referring to buying produce, but also to bath products. Like stated in reason number two to shop local, there is less packaging, hence making it easier to add more to what you are buying. Personally, at one of the farmers’ markets I attend, the woman that runs the natural body care company that I purchase my bath items from uses all recyclable and refillable containers for her products in the first place. This makes it so much easier for me to just bring back the empty container to get it refilled. Also, buying in bulk often times saves money. Now who doesn’t like that?

No matter if it is your local service business or your local food market, give shopping locally a chance. If you do, you will not only experience fresher food and kinder service, but you will have the satisfaction knowing you are helping your neighbors and the planet.

Image source: Caroline Culler/Wikipedia Commons

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