“Buying local creates more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected, and generally better-off communities.” – Derek Long, Executive Director, Sustainable Connections
By Derek Long
The brevity of the call to “buy local” is intentional. It’s a simple and honest summation of the opportunity and responsibility we have to our communities to help create and sustain a vibrant place to live, work, and play. Buying from locally owned businesses strengthens the economic base of our communities and creates a powerful ripple effect throughout every facet of our neighborhoods.
Think about this. You buy a carton of raspberries from your locally owned grocery. They were supplied to that local grocery from a local farm, picked by local workers, and then sold to you, a local consumer.
You’re not just buying some raspberries. You’re investing in local businesses and jobs, enabling money to circulate throughout the infrastructure of your community, supporting local farmers on local land, reducing the carbon costs of transportation by finding-buying-eating goods from right where you live, promoting greater charitable contributions to local nonprofits, and creating a more diverse and equitable community.
When dollars are spent locally, they stay local. Locally owned businesses create two of every three new job opportunities, are more likely to donate to local charities than big business (up to four times as much, too), and recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy. Studies show that, for every $100 spent in our community, at least $43 of that money stays here.
The Sustainable Connections’ 2018 Sustainability Champ-ions confirm these numbers on a truly local-to-us level. Here are some examples. Dawson Construction donated a $100,000 solar array to Sehome High School to cut the school’s energy bills and help students to better understand the need for a renewable-energy future. Dandelion Organic Delivery exclusively sources its fresh produce boxes from more than 30 local family farms, avoiding the heavy environmental cost of transporting goods cross country. And Ideal curates items from local artists and craftspeople and pours hundreds of hours back into community events, campaigns, and promotions. These local businesses help sustain a diverse and resilient economy, built on accountability, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and equity.
From our small corner of the Pacific Northwest to neighborhoods nationwide, buying local creates more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected, and generally better-off communities. When we buy local, we keep our dollars where our homes are, we support our friends and neighbors, and we build a community that truly thrives.
Derek Long is Executive Director of Sustainable Connections.