28 May 2008

The "R" word.

So we hear it every day on the news. When I hear the word "recession" and it makes my skin crawl. People have been incessantly talking about their stimulus payments and how they will spend them. Others go on and on about how things will get worse before they get better and how they will save their stimulus payment for a rainy day. Let's stop talking about the "R" word and DO something about the economic situation on a grass roots level.

While there are very few things that an individual can do to affect the US economy as a whole, there are little things we can all do to make things a little better. From what I have read recently -- it seems to me that the US economy is held up by small businesses. Tons of new ones open each and every day. With my focus there, I have been working on developing the habit of not going to chain stores when I have the choice of a local "mom & pop" shop. If we all make that "mom & pop" choice when we have the opportunity, we could really get things moving in a different direction for our local economies.

In the same vein, I hear constant bellyaching about the price of gas. Yes, it continues to go up and no one knows exactly when it will start to come back down again. While some of the complaining is my own, I also hear a chorus of other voices in agreement. There has to be a way to somehow have all of this make less of an impact on us and our lives. Many of my colleagues carpool to save on gas costs and quite a few have made new friends this way. Many workers have decided to telecommute to the office a few days a week to stay off the roads and get some work done in a "no-interruption" environment while saving on gas and road rage.

Along those same lines, I have recently explored in my area for a farmers market. I started online with a search which helped me narrow down the closest ones to me. It just so happens there are a few in my city and one in my own zip code. I want to support the idea of shopping local. By buying produce that is in season at my local farmers market from the people who grew it, I am supporting a small business. These fresh items were grown near my residence and didn't take many resources to get to the place where I can purchase them. That's less wear on the planet, my gas tank and piggy bank. (And quite honestly they taste better.) Check out this site, you can enter your zip code and see where your nearest farmers market is located.

For example, when a person buys kiwi in Texas flown in from New Zealand, there is a lot of waste involved in the process. The gas to get it here, the packaging to keep it from getting damaged in transit, the chemicals sprayed on it to get it to ripen at a "not too fast pace", the labor of workers outside our country, the labor to get it off the boat, the time it takes to get through customs, etc. Many more steps involved in getting a kiwi to Texas than buying the strawberries that were grown in my zip code. Buying local is a smarter choice. I'm not suggesting for a moment that you don't eat kiwi this summer. (Maybe you'll enjoy it more the next time you eat it -- knowing what all it went through to get to you.) By buying the majority of your "freshies" at your local farmers market, you help support the local economy, small farmers/local small business, limit unnecessary transport costs, save packaging and chances are the produce is fresher and picked at peak ripeness.

Although I do support a global economy, I think focusing on our local economies more closely right now is a way we can all do our part to help the US economy. A friend challenged me to go through my house and look to see the source of random items. I challenge you to do the same. Supporting specific countries with your purchases can make a big impact. China does not seem to be the best choice currently since they will soon be challenging us for resources. Supporting each other and focusing on buying QUALITY not QUANTITY seems to be a very good objective for now. Quality can usually be found in those "mom and pop" shops and from local artisans on etsy, farmers markets, etc.

I have started periodically featuring my fellow etsians right here on my blog. Although Etsy is an international site, there are handmade items available there. This site allows you to purchase truly unique quality handmade items while supporting artists. Give it some thought.

Each of us makes an impact on the economy each and every day with our decisions. Let's all do our part to support the US economy as well as our neighborhood ones.


Gallery Juana said...

I agree about buying fruits and vegetables locally. They are always fresher and more likely picked when they are ripe, so they taste better.

Thanks for coming by my blog:)

Rosebud Collection said...

My favorite line to our girls, "learn to be self sufficient"..that will be your saving grace.

La Alicia said...

that's a good piece of advice, rosebud! :)

DreamON said...

You are just so right on target. There are things we as individuals can do, and you have definitely found a few! Great article.

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