Saturday, July 4, 2009

Five Reasons to Shop Local

This fourth of July weekend many of us are going to be patriots for a little while. We are going to wave flags and watch fireworks and eat hot dogs. But the flags and fireworks come from China, and the Hot dogs, well no one knows where hot dogs come from. What can we do to be patriotic the other 365?

Now, I'm not going to to be xeniphobic, I ate mango this morning, nowhere in the U.S. grows mango commercially. Nor will I tell you that all goods made in the U.S. are better somehow. This is about the importance of shopping local. Not just U.S. local, but right in your own backyard local.

1. Locally made goods support the local economy. When I make something I tend to buy supplies and materials from local sources, and the money I make when I sell is used at local retailers to fufill my needs. Supporting local shops and artisans allows them to support other local enterprises, its a nice cycle.

2. Economic power is political power. We vote with our dollars, it's no secret that politicians listen to everybody, but they listen to those with money more. So when you shop at stores that are not locally owned, or buy goods from far away places, you are sending your dollar there. And your political voice goes with it.

3. Shopping local is environmentally responsible. My materials are gathered on a bike, my goods don't travel far to reach the hands of the consumer. There are no shipping containers, shipping boxes, large plastic packaging, plastic tags and labels, or the paperwork that follows goods around the world. When I ship goods they go in recycled butcher paper. When local people buy directly the can simply carry their goods away.
4. You get to meet the people who made your things. Many of us have friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who are secretly artisans. Get them out of the closet! After buying faceless goods from indifferent retailers, it is a breath of fresh air to see the person who's love and care went into a product. Their excitement and dedication shows you that hey, there are still people in this world who love their jobs. Which leads to the next reason...

5. You get high quality and people who stand behind their goods. What if you bought something from your neighbor? What if it was poorly made and fell apart right away? Your neighbor who sees you everyday has good incentive to make work they can be proud of, because they will have to face the unhappy customer directly if they don't. I offer a lifetime warrenty, because I can. People who buy from me can expect to contact me and have the product repaired, and local producers are more likely to stand behind what they make.

All of the items featured in this post are from artisans who will be attending the Denver Handmade Craft Fair tomorrow. Come on down to City Park between 9AM and 3PM, and check out what these wonderful people have to offer. For this 4th of July do your patriotic duty and support local hand crafters!


Joy said...

Great posts. It's for these reasons I like to buy local and I LOVE to buy handmade. :) It's great to be supporting someone you can see and speak with, rather than some faceless company.

Lani Robertson said...

i had a GREAT time at the fair yesterday! so many WONDERFUL vendors and super people...can't wait to do it again!

lani :)

Pink said...

I'm very pleased with how the fair went, I hope the next one is even better!