Voluntary Simplicity, Step 3: Supporting Local Farmers, Crafters, etc.

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Part of our process of simplifying our life is to make an effort toward purchasing items locally and/or handmade when possible.  I suppose it’s not truly part of a simplification process but rather geared toward sustainability.  We, however, chose to include this in our process as one of our goals.

Why buy local?  There are a number of reasons, but the most important to us is that making this decision benefits both the environment and the local economy.

Regarding the environmental impact, local items travel less distance to get to the consumer which cuts out much of the transportation and, in turn, reduces the use of valuable resources {namely gas} and pollution that come with it.  As far as the impact on the local economy, when you purchase something directly from the artist or farmer they typically benefit from a larger percentage of the profit as there is not a third party person/organization to pay.  Also, you are putting money back into your community.  An added bonus is you are supporting their dream or passion by supporting them with your purchase.

The purchase of locally grown fruits and vegetables typically means fresher items.  The purchase of locally raised meats means the items are traceable.  You can also visit the farm to see how the animals are raised, what they are fed, and choose to support those businesses you respect or agree with.

The purchase of handmade, regardless of locale, is to support an artist or designer who is making a living doing what they love to do.  Someone who has used their talents to create something you enjoy.  It’s also possible to create a relationship with the artist or designer of the product and purchase one-of-a-kind items for yourself or for gift giving.  If you find an artist who uses recycled products, even better!

Although the reality is it’s not always possible, whether financially or otherwise, to purchase locally made, grown and/or handmade, any effort to do so will make a difference.  It’s the little things we do collectively that make big changes.