Buying local is something we can do to help the economy, increase jobs, and reduce our negative impact on the environment. We feel good when we buy local products made in small batches by community artisans.
Unfortunately, hardly anything is really ‘local’ these days.
Often, we’re buying ‘local’ from someone else who purchased items online and had them shipped from China. So, there’s nothing local about that, except for the fact that someone is scraping profits off the top and overcharging us for something we could buy online. That’s just getting ripped off locally.
Food products advertised as ‘local’ are often only locally marketed or locally distributed. Once these businesses get popular enough, their supply chain expands beyond the local community, beyond the state, and often beyond the local region to keep up with demand.
For most food products you can do a little investigative work and look up the plant number for the product. This will tell you where it’s actually being manufactured.
Go to a local craft show, and you might find items being sold that were purchased on Amazon or from online wholesale distributors. Or, perhaps the materials were purchased from China, then after minimal processing, resold as locally made.
It’s important to evaluate the sourcing of materials and labor for what we buy. What tools and machines were used? Where are those tools and machines from? Are they made in USA?
Buying local involves a lot more than just visiting a store that put a buy local sticker in their window.