By supporting independently-owned retailers, farmers, entrepreneurs, and companies, we are choosing to invest in a future with a healthier, more sustainable community and world.
By Louise Snodgrass, Local First | Originally published in the Durango Herald Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023 5:58 PM
With the dramatic effects of climate change being felt right here at home, the health and well-being of the planet is top of mind for most. And, for many, we are taking action. As individuals we take great lengths to reduce our environmental impacts, from reducing our reliance on single-use plastic and limiting our food waste, to investing in water wise landscaping and installing energy-efficient appliances. But, one of the easiest choices we can make as eco-conscious community members is choosing to support La Plata County’s local, independent businesses.
Supporting local businesses supports sustainability in a variety of ways, some of which are more apparent than others.
When you step into a local retailer or restaurant, you may notice the plethora of locally made products that fill the shelves and dot their menus. This is no coincidence. According to the 2008 study “Local Works” by Civic Economics, independently-owned businesses are far more likely to use local suppliers and source items within the community compared to a national chain or big-box store. Not only does this support a thriving, diverse economy, but it reduces the carbon emissions and packaging waste from shipping goods across the globe.
Responsible land-use is a benefit from a strong local business community that is often overlooked. Local, independent businesses typically need less space for day-to-day operations, which allows them to set up right in the heart of town as opposed to the outskirts. With more concentrated communities and less sprawl, wildlife habitats are protected, our waterways are less impacted, conservation efforts are expanded, local farm land is maintained, and personal commutes are reduced.
Local businesses share our community values and want to see our town thrive. In a 2011 study from the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, authors found that communities with a greater concentration of locally-owned businesses have more success at addressing local issues and fostering community-led solutions. These community-led solutions address issues our friends, neighbors, and families face, such as climate change, housing, healthcare, food security, and more. When you support local businesses you are investing in our community’s power to shape change.
In addition to your daily eco-conscious choices, join Local First in shopping local for the planet. By supporting independently-owned retailers, farmers, entrepreneurs, and companies, we are choosing to invest in a future with a healthier, more sustainable community and world. Become a champion of the local movement by visiting local-first.org and join us today. If you are looking for a fun way to get involved, be sure to attend Durango’s Earth Day celebration on April 22nd at Buckley Park. Learn more at earthdaydurango.com.
Louise Snodgrass is Communications Manager of Local First in Durango. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.