Recently a blog post from Des Moines Juice Staff Writer Brianne Sanchez made me rethink what local holiday shopping means to me. While one could emphasize the benefits of purchasing items produced in a 150 mile radius, I realized local shopping meant more than buying an ‘Iowa Made Product.’
Local shopping depends on the existence of small businesses. Small businesses depend on consumers. The ability for local products to sell depends on consumer mentality. Do you take pride in buying locally? Many who take pride in buying locally often live in ‘urban’ areas where a multitude of stores are available for consumers. For those in Des Moines, the Urban 515 card is a great way to receive discounts while buying locally.
What about consumers who live in ‘rural’ areas? Perhaps the concept of ‘urban’ can be applied to ‘rural’ areas. Think about your small town. Does it have a square? A downtown? A main street? A thriving central location for small businesses?
Rural areas have taken a hit recently in small business growth. Thus the ability to buy local isn’t always the first option. How can we, as consumers, make buying locally our first thought? Perhaps by making it possible to live, work and purchase all in one.
The Green & Main Pilot Project seeks to restore, create, and nurture sustainable communities that thrive within the neighborhood boundaries. The pilot project will hold space for a holistic women’s health center, special event space and a single family home. All of that will be within the Historic Sherman Hill Neighborhood boundaries.
Don’t live in Des Moines? See if your rural community is part of Main Street Iowa. Looking for local food to prepare your holiday dinner? Try the Iowa Food Cooperative’s producer listing. Looking for green deals this season? Try the Heart of Iowa Marketplace.
Shopping locally might mean taking a step outside your normal purchasing habits. Perhaps taking a walk down main street to see what your community neighbors have to offer. Somewhere along the way you just may find your community has the ability to be truly sustainable.
– Sara Crouse is a writer and marketing strategist who lives in Des Moines, Iowa.