What does it mean to live locally?
The idea of living locally isn’t new. There was a time when it was just the way everyone lived. But it’s changed over the generations as we gained access to the national then to the global economy. What it means today varies depending on which aspect of local living you’re considering. The things that come to mind quickly are working, eating, and shopping locally. But, there are many other things we do each day that impact our community, directly and indirectly.
Let’s start with the obvious ones…
If you drive on any highway to get to your job, you know that people spend a good portion of their day commuting. It seems that everyone works somewhere other than their own community.
But is this really necessary?
Even small changes can make a big difference. Did you know that reducing your gasoline consumption by just 2 gallons per week will reduce your carbon emissions by approximately .9 metric tons per year? (see the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator ) That adds up fast!
There are many additional benefits to working locally. To begin with, there is less time sitting in traffic. Hallelujah! Who wouldn’t want that? This means more time to spend with family, friends, reading a good book or doing whatever it is you like to do with your free time. It also means less congestion on the roads and less pollution.
Furthermore, working locally is often a good way to get to know other people in your community and to stay in touch with what’s happening in your city or town.
There has been plenty of talk over the past decade about the benefits of shopping locally. In fact, Small Business Saturday has become so popular that it now has a permanent place between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But this is only one day per year. There are good reasons to shop locally everyday – when possible.
To begin with, there are health benefits of shopping locally. Even a few minutes of brisk walking daily will improve your health. You can’t do that on Amazon but you can do it walking around your local shops. There is a certain peace you’ll find walking around to do your errands. It slows your pace and forces you to take a breather.
In addition, supporting local shops strengthens your community. Those businesses pay taxes, hire employees, and add an interesting uniqueness to a community. Who would want to live in a town or city that had no local shops? Not me. Tax dollars raised help fund town services, police & fire, teachers, and infrastructure that benefit all of us.
Shopping locally is another great way to get to know your neighbors. You’ll become familiar with shop owners and employees. In addition, you’ll meet friends shopping and walking through town.
Where to begin? This topic could be, and likely will be, many dedicated blog posts.
There are so many ways to eat locally. Small restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries are cornerstones of most cities and towns. Many also have a farmer’s market which is often open year-round. In addition, some communities have food coops, CSAs, farm stands and local supermarkets.
I love a farmer’s market!
There is no better way to know where your food came from and how it was grown than to ask the farmer who grew it. In most cases, the quality of locally farmed food tends to be higher than many imported foods because local food is seasonal and isn’t shipped great distances.
Fruits and vegetables picked in season and allowed to ripen naturally taste better and are packed with nutrients. Moreover, eating seasonally will likely expose you to a wider variety of foods leading to a more varied and balanced diet.
Other ways to support your local community
Shopping, working, and eating locally are a great way to connect with and directly benefit your community. But, there are also many indirect ways.
You should consider your community when making decisions about products and services that you use regularly.
For example, you can reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in your town’s landfill by using reusable products. You can begin composting or recycle more. Likewise, you can walk or ride a bike instead of taking your car everywhere you go.
So, think about the things you can do each day to live a life that positively impacts your local community. Please drop me an email or join me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram to share your ideas.