With humanity becoming more focused on healthy living and sustainability, many shops and businesses have been focusing their efforts towards supplying increasing amounts of local produce. So today we are asking: Why is buying locally a better option for us? And can we find a healthy balance between buying local and buying imported products?
Balance is really the key word here. We cannot expect to rearrange the entire global economic ecosystem overnight – however by making small daily decisions we can have a massive impact on the future of our economies.
The best way you can help your local economy is simply by becoming interested. It is quite often the case where if we become interested in something, we are much more likely to take action when opportunity arises. Do some research on what shops are supplying local produce in your area, and learn to admire the differences in process between local production and mass production of imported goods. Local shops have the added benefit of being more unique and stylish – attracting conscious minded individuals and serving as a hub for strengthening community involvement.
The Current System
The last 100 years has been focused on building economic systems to support an exploding population – this has, however, unfortunately led us to a system that many find has lost its personal touch, and furthermore results in a work and shop environment that is uninspiring and demotivating.
Although large chains do supply us with convenience, there is inevitably a sacrifice which takes place – the potential for community and local biodiversity is diminished as static company policies focus more on the company than the individuals that work in the company.
Traditional economics supports the lowest cost – the most efficient process – and the maximum capacity for importing and exporting goods. This ideology is great when efficiency is the goal, but we have reached a stage in humanity where we now have sufficient technology to produce what is needed to support everyone’s physical needs – this means we can now work towards a new goal.
The New Goal
In economics, where you spend your money is like a vote for what our next goal should be. It must be said that, without doubt, having big brand shops filled with imported goods is an amazing luxury, and benefits us all greatly – however, when the local alternative comes with so many unsung social and economic benefits, it is vital that we begin to allocate (even a small portion) of our budget towards supporting a culture that promotes community and creativity.
Where our previous goal was to keep our technologies and systems advancing rapidly enough to support the demand for food and clothes, we are now entering an era where such technologies and systems have created an economic environment that is lacking in diversity and the space for an individual to establish themselves in the community. How can an individual give back to the community in a meaningful way that supports their unique interests and skills?
Small businesses and local production provide jobs with greater responsibility and personal accountability – the community that surrounds the sustainability of these businesses is nuanced and vibrant, quite far from the sterility of big-chain supermarket company policies.
There is plenty of room for both local and international businesses in our lives; each comes with their respective perks and caveats. Looking at what our society appears to be lacking socially and spiritually – creating local communities where there is an increased need for intercommunication, co-operation, collaboration and creativity, could be a very effective way of resolving the torpidity and boredom felt by many people currently working within the confines of company policy.
About the Author
Dara de Bruijn is a freelance writer, musician, and yoga instructor based in Dublin, Ireland. His main focus is exploring the benefits of co-operative living and leading a life orientated around social service.