No matter where you go in this big, wide world, you can help hometown merchants, farmers, and yourself by eating and shopping locally. By going to the county farmer’s markets or eating at a neighborhood eatery instead of the major chain restaurant, you can help the economy, support small businesses, and make the world an overall better place.

Let’s look at how you can do your part.

Shop Locally, Help the Community

The easiest way to support local farmers is to eat the food they grow near the places where they grow it. No matter how far you travel, you can find a market where the food is well-prepared and made with extra care. If this is something that interests you, then go online and search for “farmers markets” or “local eateries near me” and see which of the results pique your interest.

When you eat locally, you are helping the local economy. Not only are you supporting the farmers who grow the food that you are buying, but you are also helping to employ others in town. For instance, think about the local entrepreneurs who are running the farmers market or the small restaurant owners who depend on your business to stay afloat.

When you help the farmers, you also save money. Local goods don’t have the additional costs for transportation, packaging, and taxes, so they can sell their food for less. As a bonus, shopping locally is just more fun as you can connect with the residents and make valuable connections that you can meet again the next time you come around.

farmers market in usa
Photo by Zoe Deal on Unsplash

Help the Environment, Help the Farmers

When you buy farm food, you aren’t only helping financially, but you are also helping the environment, which allows the farmers to keep growing. Just think about the pollution created when trucks drive produce from one side of the country to the other. That air pollution fills the sky and negatively impacts the air quality, which hurts soil quality.

By purchasing food made locally, you are also preserving the wildlife and the surrounding lands. Farms are often located on one parcel of land, while the major manufacturers need additional structures for packing, refrigeration, and shipping. With fewer man-made structures around, the animals have more room to roam.

On your way to the farmer’s market, pick up a reusable bag. When you use plastic bags that you’ll just throw out later, you are making waste that can take 1,000 years to break down. Even worse, when plastic bags break down, they do so into toxic chemicals that pollute the ground where farmers do their work.

floating market in thailand
Photo by Joanna Wojcicka on Unsplash

It’s Just Healthier

Most of us can stand to be a bit healthier, and when you shop locally and support farmers, you do just that. A lot of corporations load their products with pesticides to try to make the food last longer. However, many local suppliers focus on organic farming, which uses fewer chemicals, reduces greenhouse emissions, and utilizes natural resources, which means that you are getting pure food without the extra additives.

Fresh and clean vegetables can do wonders for your health. While they are low in calories, they also offer unique benefits. For instance, spinach provides vitamin K for strong bones, broccoli contains sulforaphane, which fights cancer, and beets are great for heart health.

Those hesitant to eat healthy may change their mind when they experience how fresh local produce tastes. Combining healthy eating with exercise can help you to feel better overall, and high-energy routines like biking and running can actually decrease your appetite. Avoiding fatty or salty food can also reduce your stress levels.

organic fruit
Photo by Alexander Gamanyuk on Unsplash

The great thing about shopping locally is that it is a two-way street. Now only are you helping the local farmers, but you are helping yourself as well. Consider the local establishment the next time you travel.

Cover image: Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Beau PetersAuthor: Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.