In 2007, Vancouver-based writers Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon published their book The 100-Mile Diet, which tracked their experience with choosing to only consume foods within 100 miles for an entire year. This book catalyzed a Canadian and international discussion on the benefits and challenges of eating locally. Parallel to that conversation, the last decade has been highlighted by a wealth of movements that promote bioregional consumption in its various forms; drawing inspiration from the ecologically-defined term ‘watershed’, we now have conversations about ‘foodsheds’ and even ‘fibresheds’ – all attempts to live abundantly within the boundaries of our regional ecological systems.
Ecologically speaking, there are lot of great reasons to protect and promote these bioregional systems, and you can expect a blog post on some of those reasons in the future. But there are also a lot of reasons this is a great economic choice as well! This week is #BCBuyLocal Week, “an annual celebration of the unique contributions that B.C. businesses make to our economy.” Buying from local suppliers is tremendously important for Nada, and to supplement some of the fantastic reasons for buying local highlighted in the campaign, here are some of the reasons we love local: For our economies. For our communities. For our planet.
For Our Economies:
- It’s a well-cited fact that local businesses put dollars back into the local community. How much? According to LOCO BC, for every $100 spent with a BC local business, $46 is re-circulated back into the local economy (vs $18 for multi-nationals).
- How? Local businesses create local jobs & are more likely to support other local business (suppliers, contractors, etc.).
- Bottom line: This means that dollars stay within our local systems and foster further local development. When you think about the amazing social and environmental effects of buying local, this creates a powerful ripple effect of economic, social, and environmental change.
For Our Communities:
- International supply chains are an extremely messy thing – it’s hard to know where exactly your products come from and what human rights and/or environmental issues might be involved. By buying local, and buying direct, we know many of our suppliers personally and have visited their production facilities and farms. This gives us confidence that our products are supporting both people and planet.
- These personal relationships also allow us to collaborate more, meaning that we can amplify our shared impact in our communities and beyond. Personally, we have become good friends with many of our suppliers. Professionally, we can offer ideas, support, and mutual promotion.
- When we and other local businesses give back, our donations and volunteer hours contribute to local causes. From our 1% for the Planet donations, to collaborative initiatives with our upstairs neighbours the Vancouver Native Housing Society, we’re seeking to build a more just food system in our own community.
For Our Planet:
- In general, there is both less waste and less emissions associated with buying local. When the products we purchase travel fewer km to get where we are, they emit less GHGs (when they’re personally delivered by bike, they emit even less! See next photo!).
- They not only emit less GHGs, they’re also less likely to be damaged or spoiled along the way, meaning less food waste. And because they’re less likely to be damaged, they also don’t need as much protection, meaning less packaging waste.
- More than that, our direct, personal relationships allow us to work collaboratively on more environmentally-friendly policies, like implementing a reusable container system with our suppliers so we can bring products to YOU package-free.
- When we support local agricultural systems, we’re also supporting better land policies, better soil health, and more diverse, resilient farming practices, right here in the Lower Mainland.
Not to mention that it’s all so totally fun! Eating locally means eating seasonally, inspiring us to be creative in the kitchen with whatever new fruits and vegetables are popping up in our CSA boxes or Farmers’ Markets. It allows us to connect more deeply with those we purchase from, adding layers of community and, dare we say, friendship in our daily routines.
The #BCBuyLocal week is encouraging you to shift just 1% of your spending towards local businesses (take note: that would create 3100 jobs and $94M in wages!), but we think you might be able to do even better! Check out this list of ways YOU can support your local economy, and might we add Banking Local to that list as well?