Communities all across America are promoting “Buy Local” campaigns. So what is all the hype behind these campaigns, do they really make an economic impact? The answer is simply, yes.
On the surface, purchasing goods from a local farmer appears to be nothing more than an exchange of goods for money. However, studies have shown that when you purchase those delicious home grown goodies from a local farmer, as opposed to a chain grocery store, three times the amount of money you spend is returned back to your local economy!
Here’s how this works, when you choose to go to the grocery store and purchase your food from a chain store or big box grocer you are essentially paying for the process for it to get to store from the farm, not the hard working farmer who produced that food. In all actuality, the farmer only sees about 14 cents to every dollar you spend. The remaining 84 cents pays for the diesel to fuel the truck, maintenance on the truck, the wage of the driver to transport the food, and the cost of storing the food once it has left the farm. Simply put the middle man distributors are getting all the money.
Cutting out the distributions costs would increase the amount of the money the farmer received for providing their crops to the masses. This is where the farmer’s markets, CSA’s and the “Buy Local” campaigns come in. The money used to purchase farm fresh produce from these sources goes directly to the producer, the farmer, instead of an outside source. Even though the big box grocery stores have a price advantage since they purchase mass quantities, the farmer is able to begin to compete with those prices since they are receiving more of the cut. This in turn creates growth locally, by way of jobs, and it snowballs and continues to create growth within the community. Now that the food doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to make it to your dinner table, the food is not only more fresh, but its nutrients have not been depleted during transportation. Studies show that supermarket “fresh” vegetables contain 45 percent less nutrients than farm fresh produce!
On top of supporting the local farmer’s markets and CSA programs, talk to the supermarket produce manager and suggest they start carrying local produce. This will help the managers see that there is a real market for locally produced food.
Check out http://www.LocalVendorsCoalition.org to see how you can learn more ways to support local businesses.