**Update – In a few hours, I will posting about a campaign meant to encourage Wal-mart to cover some health care for its employees. Since that ties into this post, I thought I would move this up until I put the new post up. Hope you all can take a moment to review the Wal-mart petition when it goes up. Thanks!
I found this article this morning about how we all can do our small part in “greening” the world just by buying our products locally. I think the first sentence of the article pretty much says it all – “How would you like to save your Main Street, preserve your small mom-and-pop-owned shops and farms and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and imports?”
I dread when I read about a new Wal-mart going into some small town somewhere, because I know that it means that all the stores that have been in town for many years are about to disappear. I guess I dont understand why anyone would want a Wal-mart in their town just to save a few dollars on some stuff…I personally would rather pay a little more for my goods at the local mom and pop store because they know me, they are willing to help me find things, and it keeps money in my community. Here is the rest of the article, its really well written and I think it says a lot about what we all need to think about when we go shopping:
“One simple act can accomplish all these goals: taking the 10 percent challenge. Pledge to spend 10 percent of your income on locally grown produce, locally made goods and services and local businesses.
If you spend $250 at a chain grocery store, spend at least $25 at the farmers market.
By doing this, your money boosts the local economy through the ‘multiplier effect.’ Your dollars are multiplied as the local farmer pays his mortgage to a local bank, which pays its employees with that money, who buy goods from other local stores, and so on.
If we are all pledging to buy local, our consumer dollars stay local, building the local economy. When we spend our local dollars at the corporate box stores like Wal-Mart, a few of those dollars pay local employees, while most are funneled right out of the community and right into corporate headquarters.
Most of our meals contain ingredients from at least five foreign countries.
According to the United State Department of Agriculture, agricultural imports are rising twice as fast as exports are.
These imported foods have traveled between 1,500 and 2,000 miles to land on our plates.
Overall, we expend about 10 calories of petroleum for each calorie of food we consume, according to the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.
That use breaks down like this: 20 percent as chemical fertilizer and pesticides for the crops; 40 percent for processing, packaging and shipping; and the last 40 percent to bring it to our homes and generate the electricity to store and prepare the food. The food also loses some of its nutrition in transit.
Trying to eat food grown within a 100-mile radius takes some doing, but I can find free-range organic beef and pork at Walnut Grove Farm, two miles from my house; corn and vegetables at Froehlich’s Farm, a mile from my house; and fresh breads and cheeses from a Gardiner producer.
It’s important to find out who is in your area, because those ‘food miles’ translate into greenhouse-gas emissions. Foods that travel by air (tomatoes, grapes) are the worst offenders. Next come foods that travel in refrigerated trucks (meat, dairy, eggs, seafood). Grains that travel by rail produce much less emissions.
I would love to find a local dairy farmer willing to retail directly to me and a few hundred friends.
If eating local seems daunting, organize a party and ask everyone to bring something locally grown or produced. Friends might ferret out locally produced goodies that you might have missed. Your party might lead to a buyers co-op.
Encourage your favorite restaurants to buy from local farms. Even better, encourage your school board to buy from local farms for our children’s meals. The USDA publishes a guide to bring local produce into our schools at www.farmtoschool.org.
In addition to eating healthier and more wholesome foods, we get the added benefit of creating economic opportunities and healthier communities. Buying local is investing in the long-term health of your family, neighbors, and hometown.
Those small marts on Main Street are the future economic opportunities for your children. Let’s keep them in the green!”
Source: Keep the world green just by buying locally