Stop Buying Local

Posted on Posted in inspiration

buy local


For the last several years there’s been a big push to buy local, and it’s been even stronger within the arts community. During this time of year my facebook feed is flooded with signs, photos, and notes about the importance of buying local so that the money stays within our community. This has never felt right to me.


After a lot of thought and conversation, I realized it didn’t sit well with me, because it felt selfish, it felt like saying that I cared that my community was thriving, but I didn’t care about yours. And the truth is, I do care about you and your community, and I hope that you care about mine. The focus needs to shift from self, to a global community, where we all support each other. ( I know I might be dreaming here, but that’s what I do. I leave the realistic approach to my husband.)

We need to put down the buy local flags and raise the fight for fair wages, safe working conditions and the support of mankind banners.  There are some talented people and businesses within my community, and do I support them, yes, but I support them because of the value that they bring to the world, not simply because they are my neighbor. And the same goes for when I purchase from a company in California, or an artist in Africa. The world is small, we’re all neighbors. Let’s get behind a campaign of supporting and purchasing from businesses and people that add value no matter where they live.

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3 thoughts on “Stop Buying Local

  1. I struggle with this issue on many levels. For years, I have been selling textiles from around the world, mostly purchased from small importers. I might have gotten Kuba from a Ghanian who imported it from Africa and then I ship it off to Japan or Australia. Or, something from Afghanistan ends up going to England. I depend on the internet and on the international community for sales, but I also struggle with the environmental costs associated with shipping these things around the world. I LOVE cultural textiles, but I also want to decrease my carbon footprint.

    Now, my local pet store has pared down it’s bird seed offerings to a minimum which means that I am going to have to buy food for my birds online. It doesn’t make logistical sense to have birds in a cage to begin with, but they were born in captivity, were rescued and wouldn’t survive in the wild anyhow.

    Shipping costs have increased substantially in the last couple of years, affecting my international sales. I think this is a good thing. It makes us all think a bit more about how we are buying and the costs that go into getting something from one place to another. I am all for supporting local businesses, but I am also glad that I can order supplies and other things that I want from other places. It’s also right that they should cost more. What doesn’t sit right with me is a silk shirt being sold at Walmart for $20 from China. Where are the costs with labor, production, materials, and a profit margin hidden in that cost? That’s what needs to change! The little packages we are shipping are nothing compared to the tons coming in from China daily…. I believe that this will change as the middle class there emerges and demands the rights and working conditions that you are talking about.

    Meanwhile, I think that it’s all about finding balance and being intentional, choosing how to use our purchasing power to support the people we want to, whether they are close by or far away.

  2. Rachel, I love hearing your thoughts. I”m in full agreement with a cheap items coming from China, as there is no way that everyone is getting paid a fair wage.

    The other side of the coin that often isn’t discussed is that local businesses love when they get people from out of town, or other parts of the world purchasing from them.

  3. you are missing the point of transportation and environmental impact. also local farmers, for example (versus bigger chains) are likely to spend the money where it will help you and not some fat cat CEO.

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