The Impact of Shopping Local During the Holidays

‘Tis the season of giving and eating! When you start your holiday shopping this year, we encourage you to take the pledge to shop at small local businesses, even if it’s just for holiday treats and a stocking stuffer or two. It takes a little more time and effort, but this small change helps to support the people who make the Chippewa Valley a wonderful place to live. Here’s how:

1. Shopping local provides direct support to area suppliers. When you think of shopping small this time of year, buying locally made gifts is probably what comes to mind. But did you know you can also have a positive impact on farmers, producers, and processors around the holidays? By buying local foods, you ensure that more of the dollar goes directly to the supplier during a time when the season gets more difficult, and you get peace of mind knowing exactly where your food is sourced.

2. Shopping local gives you access to healthier food. In addition to supporting local suppliers, buying local ingredients for your holiday feasts can also positively impact your health. For example, the flesh of produce is most nutritious when it’s ripe. When it’s grown in other parts of the world, it is typically picked before fully ripening, which prevents it from developing important nutrients. Buying local eliminates most of that travel time, ensuring your food is its freshest.

3. Shopping local protects the environment. Speaking of traveling, studies show that food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate here in the U.S. This requires large amounts of fossil fuels that cause air pollution as well as additional packaging that contributes to trash buildup. By buying food and gifts from local businesses, you use less transportation, less packaging, and less refrigeration, which reduces your carbon footprint.

4. Shopping local promotes diversity. Product selections at chain stores often reflect national demands; small businesses, on the other hand, focus more on stocking unique products from local artisans that reflect the cultures in their communities. By buying from them instead of national brands, you help keep product selections more diverse and inclusive to all.

5. Shopping local grows our community’s economy. According to multiple studies, at least 48% of the cost of your purchase is recirculated back into our community when you buy from a local business. That number drops to just 14% when you buy from a national chain. Shopping small keeps your hard-earned dollars here where they’re needed!

6. Shopping local boosts job growth. In the United States, small businesses are the nation’s largest employers, employing 52% of its workers and creating two out of every three new jobs. Spending your dollars at these businesses helps them create even more stable job opportunities and provide better wages and benefits to their employees.

Buying local food and gifts has a ripple effect on our community, and that’s why we make it a point to source local as often as we can. We also work hard to make it easy for you to identify which products are sourced from local suppliers. Look for the Local signs on shelves in our stores, and be sure to use the local filter when shopping online at shop.mmfc.coop to support small businesses this season!

This article was originally published in the November/December 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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