Nov 08, 2011 11:36AM
We vote with our feet. And our wallets. Each time we choose to walk into a business and pay for a product or service, we vote to support that company’s policies and procedures.
I’m a bit of a foodie, and try to prepare meals at home as often as possible, although I often find myself in situations where eating out is necessary. At home it is easy to consider and choose the ingredients within those dinners based upon the economic vote we wish to cast. Eating out can take a little more research to find the restaurant or café which sources local when possible.
It is intriguing to read about our food and water supply, about the people who produce and sell our food, and also about the harms sometimes inflicted upon our land, water and population by an industry that has been termed “big agribusiness.” With each layer of knowledge comes a more conscious vote. Choosing to purchase items based on the ingredients they contain, how they were grown and made and where they originated becomes easier with awareness.
Local and personal economies are intertwined. Money spent within our communities–especially dollars spent at locally owned businesses–typically stays longer within our communities, so long as it continues to be spent within them. Likewise, dollars spent at small, independent online retailers may leave our local municipality, but still stays within a local economy.
Unfortunately, money spent at big-box stores and non-U.S. companies tends to have a shorter shelf-life within our communities, as profits often move to corporate headquarters and shareholders, rather than be reinvested in local businesses and employees. In either case, where you choose to shop is also a vote.
In our busy lives, conscious shopping may seem like one more layer added to an already full schedule. But it doesn’t need to be, and it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. As you’ll read in the pages of this month’s Natural Awakenings, many small steps and daily decisions can lead to a world of change! Just change onequarter of your shopping or eating habits and you’ll have a positive effect on your local economy, area businesses and employees, and the planet.
As we head into the holiday season, please be aware of what you purchase and from whom you buy. Look for locally produced events like Sarasota Naturally (see page 48) for local businesses that are socially conscious. Even when you are couponing it is possible to support local by buying from locally based coupon books like Hip Clip, or from discount sites like NaturalDeals.org. And, we ask you to please choose to shop with our advertisers and distributors, because our free magazine, Natural Awakenings is supported solely by their advertising dollars. If you enjoy what you read in these pages and online at nasrq.com, show your appreciation by visiting them for your holiday items, gift certificates and services, and tell them why.
Wishing a safe, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,