I’m a farmer’s daughter. I was brought up to appreciate the hard work that manual labourers do every day. I was raised to support other local vendors. It’s in my blood, so to speak. So, when it comes to local produce and supporting local suppliers, it’s my first priority as a consumer.
The definition of “local” has been extended in recent years. With the reach of the Internet, “local” doesn’t just mean your hometown now. It could mean your county or indeed your entire country. When I think about buying a gift for a family member, I look at what is available locally to them first. I have family all over the world, so it’s not always feasible to buy something from the UK or Ireland and send it out to them. Plus, sourcing it locally to them helps boost their local economy too.
You’ve probably seen the sign already – if we all spent £100 more per year on local businesses, that would put an extra £3 million a year into the local economy. That means more jobs, more security, more cash flow. On average, for every £1 spent locally, 63p stays in the community as opposed to 40p with multi-nationals.
I know it’s nice that we can now buy season fruits and vegetables at any time of the year, but do we really need to? Importation means less freshness at the end of the day, as the products need to be shipped and stored therefore taking longer to get from field to fork. It also means less flavour, so why bother?
Supporting local goes beyond buying goods and services. It also means supporting local small businesses by spreading the word about them. You might not need what they sell, but your friends or family might. When you see a friend posting about their small business, take a second and share it out. That little bit of support could mean a sale and extra boost for them. Give back to your local community and you will see the returns soon.