The importance of shopping local
No one can deny how easy shopping can be online, and as turnarounds for delivery get quicker and your payment details are saved ready to buy things at the click of a button, we know online shopping is here for good. But… and there is a big but… when we’re looking for sustainable products and shifting to more ethical consumption habits, there’s a great argument for supporting the small and independent businesses, many of whom are on our local high street.
We’ve seen the demise of the high street over the years, essentially because: if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. There are plenty of reasons why it is worth going local for some of your gifts and groceries. Here are our top 5 reasons:
1. Buying local helps to build local communities
Local businesses and markets very often give rise to community groups and social enterprises. Places like bookshops, cafes and craft shops can become really valuable social spaces and as they become more popular, tend to host regular community events.
Local groups from book groups and children’s clubs to straight-up social events often emerge from active local businesses that are engaging the local community, but by the same token, if left unsupported, can cause local groups like these to disappear completely.
2. Spending money in local shops funds our local economy
Spending with a small or medium-sized business keeps more money in the local economy, compared to spending with a larger business. This helps our local community and it’s economy thrive, which in turn, boosts the desirability of an area and can boost the prices of nearby homes.
3. Buying local is the ethical choice
When you shop at local independent retailers, not only are you supporting local people (their business and the community it is serving) but, by choosing to shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, it is likely that a decent percentage of the produce has a short, low carbon footprint, field-to-fork journey. Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging. By shopping locally, you are behaving in a more eco-friendly way because you’re less likely to be buying items that have been flown halfway round the world, made unethically, or wrapped in layers of environmentally damaging plastic.
4. Local shops sell one-off gifts & offer a more personal service
Shopping with local independent shops means that you can often get something a bit different and interesting that comes with a more personal touch. They tend to stock items that are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere, meaning that quirkier gifts and high quality clothes are easier to pick up and less likely to be what everyone else is wearing and gifting. Local shops often support local artists, designers, food growers etc, which are therefore more unique to your area and delivered with more passion and, as such, you’re more likely to have a trader able to recommend things to you or give you an informal discount if you’re a regular customer. By buying local products you’re also actively supporting the talents and innovation of that supply chain of independent designers, growers, retailers etc, and will have more influence on the products being sold when you give your feedback.
5. Being a local shopper means you can sometimes try before you buy
It is often a lot easier to sample a product with an independent retailer than with larger shops or online retailers. Although major retailers and online shops can afford to slash prices due to economies of scale, trying before you buy is rarely possible with them, and as a result, it is easier to waste money on products you end up not actually liking. Independent retailers are much more likely to let you try before you buy, as we see from local shops hosting events to try their wares, and places like delis, artisan stalls, farm shops and bakeries handing out tasters as standard day-to-day business, matter of course.
Milton Keynes offers great opportunities for foraging. The Parks Trust , who administer most of the green space in our town, have an introductory walk and course https://www.theparkstrust.com/events/introduction-to-foraging-2020-09-23/
The Woodland Trust have put together a guide on responsible foraging.
Sourcing Local Food
We very much want information on local sustainable food production that we can include on this page. Please contact us, here.
Image courtesy of MK Food Revolution