guide books

Think and act local

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

As you start this week, don’t forget to think local. Yeah, you probably see stickers in storefront windows all over your town: think local, act global. Or however that goes. But there really is some important truth there.

As most of you know, my family and I returned home this past weekend after two months on the road—we drove all up the east and west coasts, immersing ourselves in the myriad cuisines, subtle cultural differences, varied landscapes, and sometimes comical accents and word choices. There is no one way to live in America, and it was a joy to experience.

Which is why, now that I’m settled in to my favorite local juice shop a mile from my house typing these words, I’m more convinced than ever that local matters. There’s something special about supporting a café, a shop, a service where the owners are literal neighbors and your money goes literally to your community. Sounds cliché, but it’s true—buying local really, truly does matter.

ebenezers

And what’s more—buying and living local supports our unique cultures. What’s New Orleans without sugar-shocked beignets? How would San Diego be San Diego without hole-in-the-wall surf shops? What’s fun about an Austin devoid of live indie music, Torchy’s Tacos, and a thousand other food trailers?

music

So as you start this week—even if the bulk of your days involve buying groceries, going to work, changing diapers, cooking dinner, cleaning out the garage, taking kids to karate, or grabbing coffee with a friend—you can do so much through your everyday actions by going local, even just a little bit.

Keep your local culture and climate alive with your dollars and your presence. It really does matter.

Buy some of your groceries from your farmer’s market or a local indie grocer. Consider buying baby stuff from a small boutique (which yes, means you buy less, because it might be more expensive—but I’d count that a positive thing, usually). Eat your dinner outside, if weather permits, and then go on an evening walk to enjoy your neighborhood. Sell your unwanted stuff via Craigslist or a local Facebook swap group. Support the mom-n-pop karate teachers and Little League coaches in your area by cheering on the teams and signing up for snack duty. And head to a local coffee shop to buy your beans and cup.

turkish

encinitas

Keep your local culture and climate alive with your dollars and your presence. I love all the unique pockets of people around the world—would be a shame to see them fade away.

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. Today I visited to places for shopping for the week.

    One was the local family farm. What gorgeous eye candy lookin at the fields while several local families where picking kales and spinach and glancing patiently at the pink and green strawberries in the next field that will be filled with color very soon.

    Then a went to the brand new Wally Market that is called a neighborhood market and was so disspointed as it is just around the corner. Barely an organic fruit to be found, forget about organic bread and very few choices of good milks and coconut milks. I felt trapped with the crunch this and chew that filled carts swerving around corners is such a big hurry to get the to great deals on carbonated this and that. The whole process made me anxious and sapped what little energy a mom can have after a busy day at church and a quick fun trip to the local farm.
    I will not be returning to number two. Though it is local, it did not feel local, it felt crazy.

    But there is a dandy coffee shop and wine bar around the corner that sounds like the perfect fit for this old mama.

    Pam

  2. Love these ideas! The local economy is so very important for us to be a part of! My little city has been expanding a lot lately, including adding a co-op and an indoor farmers’ market that is open daily. It is wonderful to know there are so many local food options available. But, beyond that, I have realized lately that our little main street offers much of what my family needs. Rather than driving to that very fun red store, we have been trying to stay in our town more. It saves us on gas, and we are keeping our $$ in the community. Great thoughts this Monday morning!

  3. Yes indeed. And welcome home, Tsh!

  4. And aren’t we lucky that Central Oregon has so many wonderful things to support! I’m grateful to be living in such an amazing place.

    Welcome home!

  5. This weekend my husband and I headed up a large scale event in a rural community. It is a fully volunteer event to raise money for the volunteer fire department. We love the way it brings our community together and are proud to be involved. A hearty amen to your post!

  6. A great reminder and good confirmation for me to continue immersing myself in my local community. Over the past month I’ve become a regular at my local farmers market and am really enjoying the community atmosphere. We’ve also opted to start getting our coffee at community cafes run by churches and charities, if think people feel they’ll miss out by not going to the brand names, but we discovered the service, quality and atmosphere to be so much better!

  7. Thanks for the good encouragement this morning. Our farmer’s market doesn’t open for a couple more weeks, but I can shop at my small regional grocer and favorite coffee shop. I needed this today!

  8. Best post ever— in my small-farm owner opinion! Love your new profile photo.

  9. I love our farmer’s market. It’s the only place we could request cow eyeballs to dissect that didn’t look at us like a bunch of nutcases!

  10. One thing that I’ve recently realized in the shop local realm is that even shopping at your local big box counts. I’d often shopped online at Amazon instead of my local Kroger or Wal-Mart thinking it didn’t matter because those retailers weren’t local business owners.
    However, city sales tax revenues are impacted when we shop online too which makes a difference when it comes to road improvements, emergency services, recreation centers, etc. Just one more piece of the puzzle to consider. Don’t get me wrong I still use Amazon all the time but I try to be more mindful about it now.

  11. Thanks for such an important reminder! We were clued in to the importance of supporting local businesses when my husband worked as a photographer for a publisher of community magazines. He spent 10 years traveling all over the country and saw that the most vibrant communities were the ones with strong Main Streets. Those are the businesses who treat their employees well, contribute to local schools and charities, and keep a local culture alive. So when our own neighborhood, which had been pretty transitional, starting perking up about 7 years ago, we resolved to buy local as much as we could. Now that our daughter is in a local school, it’s even more important to us. Local businesses contribute literally tens of thousands of dollars a year to her school to support enrichment programs, help teachers buy supplies and technology, etc. Meanwhile, the major chains in our neighborhood don’t contribute anything

  12. I was a lot better about this before I became a mama and started depending on the convenience of online shopping and free shipping. Since I no longer work at a small local store and haven’t for three years, I’ve started to lose my awareness of how much local businesses affect the community. The store I worked at regularly contributed to fundraisers, local charities, etc. It was awesome to see the camaraderie and support between all the stores and how they made an effort to help and support each other too . . . sometimes in really like practical ways like sharing wrapping paper when one store ran out during the Christmas rush, haha.

    Thanks for the great reminder! I needed it. :)

  13. Loved reading this! I am a firm believer in buying local and supporting local businesses when I am in other areas. I am a new follower and look forward to getting to know you!

  14. I do not even know how I ended up right here, however I believed this publish used to be good. I do not recognise who you are however certainly you’re going to a famous blogger when you aren’t already. Cheers!

Speak Your Mind

*