Going Local - An Experiment in Living Close to Home

It was over Winter Break that I realized I’d done the majority of my Christmas Shopping online. I had spent the past year advocating to keep our County Hospital locally owned because of the financial impact it has on my community, but I was’t living that out personally. In January, I decided it was time to recommit to supporting local businesses, services, and practitioners. We even started a KEEP IT LOCAL Campaign through The Homestead - that is going great!

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Here’s a summary of what I’ve noticed about my spending in the first quarter of the year.

Food

Kroger - I do the bulk of my shopping a Kroger. This is a national chain that gives minimal lip-service to provided “locally grown” produce. They are committed to organic, non-GMO, and gluten free options and have increased these options exponentially since we moved home twelve years ago.

I’m conflicted about how much food I buy at a national chain, but Kroger is a large employer in our community and people in management stay a long time.

Bountiful Harvest Farms - I’m a member of Sam McLemore’s CSA where my family buys a share of the farm for the season and in return receives a bulging box of whatever fresh produce is available each week. This owner is consistent, hard-working, and really cares about quality.

High Hope Farms - We also buy our meat from a local farmer, Johnny Wray. We fill up our deep-freeze twice a year with beef and lamb that I feel good about. Plus, JW and Deb have become good friends who I can count on to support great things in their community. Good people, good food!

Books

When I looked at where I was spending my money, I had gotten very good at clicking for books on my Kindle. I read like crazy and this was adding up! Why was I sending money to a corporation that doesn’t even pay taxes, let alone help my community? Also, why was I only publishing my own books there?

I made a commitment to do three things:

1. Return to the public library - I had abandoned the practice when my boys were little because they always LOST the books and I had to pay crazy fines. Turns out they now have an Ap where I can do almost everything!

2. Order books I know I want to read from my local bookstore, The Book Mart. I’ve always purchased my kids’s books here, but Kindle had taken over my own reading library. I love supporting Carolyn and what she brings to my community. Can you imagine a town without an independent bookstore? These are disappearing because of our purchasing practices.

3. I started moving all my own published books onto Ingram Spark where libraries, independent bookstores, and schools can order them.

Eating Out

I try and cook five meals a week, but at least one night a week we are headed out. This was an easy one. We love locally owned The Grill, Restaurant Tyler, and Thai Siam. I get coffee or tea at Strange Brew or 929. The only time it was hard was when I traveled with the kids for soccer, but AT LEAST I remembered to pack a water bottle for everyone.

Personal Care

The other category I spend money on was personal care. I’m picky because of my research into endocrine disruptors. I use the Ap Skin Deep by EWG (Environmental Working Group). They do INDEPENDENT research on products and give each one a rating. You can even scan the barcode right in the store. I donate to these guys every year because I’m so thankful for their service.

I found a few independent moms who sold some of the brands that consistently score well for makeup and skincare. I like supporting local entrepreneurs if I can’t get something locally.

I’m very thankful to have a friend who is a real-deal herbalist in town that helps me find natural solutions to family health. Mandi Sanders has done her homework! She also created a download for Homestead Members on Natural Cleaners that Work.

Clothes/Shoes

I’m not a big shopper, but I made a friend this year that owns the only store I’ll ever visit again - in my case, quite possibly literally. Rebecca Tabb at R. Tabb and Co. dresses me! She is so friendly and funny that I no longer feel incompetent! Find your one shop, you locally owned store that you can feel good walking into and out of!

Overall, I’m spending less, or at least I am more mindful of my spending. I feel good that my online purchases have dropped like a rock over the past few months, except for things like services and one vitamin I can’t get anywhere else for the kids.

Please consider supporting local businesses that support this community organization and

KEEP IT LOCAL