Lately I've been thinking about just how big an impact buying local can have. For one thing, you support some of the small businesses that abound everywhere. I've been a small business myself, for many years, so I enjoy supporting other such ventures. Buying local cuts down considerably on transportation costs (one of the reasons food costs have risen so steeply--gas costs rose, and it costs money to haul this stuff around the country!), which not only saves money but is helpful for environmental issues. By purchasing produce at local farmers markets, you're probably also getting healthier options (fewer preservatives, more options for organic food, greater varieties available).
How can you buy local? Well, I just mentioned farmers markets, which are terrific in NC. Many grocery stores now indicate when product has come from NC, making it easier to buy. I try to shop more regional chains (Harris Teeter, for instance), instead of national chains, or shop those larger chains that are heavily involved in the community (such as Target giving to local schools). I also look for locally owned restaurants for dining. As a quilter, I support ALL the local fabric shops, which are individually owned.
How do you support local business? How do you make an impact with your purchasing decisions? I'd love to hear more ways to keep more of my money in the community!