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Four Ways to Go Local and Live Green

Buy Local campaigns include farmers marketsA growing segment of eco-conscious citizens are recognizing how both living green and supporting the local economy are integral to a more sustainable world.

Here are five strategies adapted from a complete action item list at small-mart.org, a web site inspired by The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition by Michael Shuman:

1. Buy Fresh. An age-old tradition of supporting local agriculture is experiencing a resurgence. More people are shopping at farmers markets, joining co-ops, and buying shares at community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Many such businesses are listed in directories provided by sustainability business networks.

It doesn’t need to stop with buying local produce. Supporting other food operations like the neighborhood baker, cheese maker, or caterer also helps bolster the local economy. All of these local food practices help communities lessen their carbon footprint by forsaking a broader distribution network and the environmental costs of long-distance shipping.

2. Honor junk. The environmental benefits of repairing and reusing old things are clear, both on an individual and collective level. Waste reclamation enterprises are sprouting up in communities throughout the country. Green Worker Cooperatives in the South Bronx has led the way with Rebuilders Source, a retailer of surplus and used building supplies.

3. Rent or share more. There are several alternatives to buying high-priced items, many of which are not locally produced and whose manufacture damage the environment. Zip cars and other member-based car sharing companies provide car access without the hassles of car ownership. Small-mart.org also suggests setting up neighborhood tool sheds to make available those big tools that are useful but seldom used.

4. Be part of a Buy Local Day or other Buy Local campaign. Let’s admit it: we’ve been conditioned by the global economy. Participating in Buy LocalΒ  campaigns helps us shed old loyalties to megacorporations. It also paints a vivid picture for ourselves and our neighbors of why the triple-bottom-line furthers sustainable living.

Image credit: Phillie Casablanca at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

3 comments
  1. Jonwen45

    I LOVE this blog. It says things that I have wanted to but did not know how to word them. I upcycle so many items and it just comes natural to me. I was raised on a farm by my grandparents and was taught “waste not, want not”. Even if we did not have much money, we always had what we needed and gave away lots of food , clothing,toys,quilts,etc. to others.

  2. The Benefits of Buying Local [Infographic] | Sustainablog

    […] Why Buy Local? Why Not? [Infographic] November 21, 2012 By Jeff McIntire-Strasburg Leave a Comment Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic. Pin It Feeling the need to do some holiday shopping over the next few days? No doubt, some will find Black Friday (or, shoot, Black Thursday now) deals too tempting to resist. But if you can wait a day, and focus your buying on small, local businesses on Small Business Saturday, you’ll avoid a lot of environmental impact, and do more good for your local economy. […]

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