Consider your buying habits, and whether you would like to support your locally owned, small independent business owners, and if so, make the change! Consider buying local first. Here is a great article on why it is important, taken from www.sustainableconnections.org:
Top Ten Reasons to Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local
- Buy Local —Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. (Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies; these include case studies showing that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.)
- Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
- Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. "When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace." ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
- Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
- Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
- Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
- Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's future.
- Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
- Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
- Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
It is nice to be able to shop in the supermarket where almost every vegetable and fruit are available year round. Most of their produce is grown far away from Wisconsin in sunny, warm climates such as California, Florida, and Mexico. All that shipping time adds to a product that is not at the peak of freshness by the time we purchase it from the local supermarket. Here are 10 reasons to buy local food. (...adapted from Growing for Market and Vern Grubinger)
- Locally grown food just tastes better! The crops are picked at their peak and are available for sale the same day as they were picked!
- Locally grown food is better for you. That shorter time between the farm and your table, means that there is less likelihood that it has lost valuable nutrients. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors.
- Local food is safe. There's a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers' market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren't anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
- Local food supports local families and farmers.
- Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you're engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In some cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
- Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they're less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you're doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.
- Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Cows don't go to school, tomatoes don't dial 911.
- Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil and protect water sources. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.
- Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
What are CSA's?
For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. In a nutshell, a CSA is where a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka, a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box, bag, or basket of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief...
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
It's a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs, and in some areas of the country there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it. The government does not track CSAs, so there is no official count of how many CSAs there are in the U.S.. LocalHarvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 4,000 listed in our grassroots database. (taken from www.localharvest.org)
What's the Difference?
What is the difference when buying from The Veggie Shed & Supply Depot? We strive to grow all our vegetables in a sustainable, organic manner using mostly heirloom seeds. We are experimenting with some hybrid seeds as well. You can be assured that none of our plants are grown from GMO seeds, nor are our plants are treated with harsh chemicals.
Some people are confused by all the labeling of seeds, so we thought a few definitions would be helpful!
Heirloom – an open-pollinated seed, which will reproduce true to type, meaning the offspring will display the same characteristics as the parent plant. Seeds can be saved from season to season. Most experts agree that for a seed to be labeled heirloom, it has tohave been introduced into cultivation 40 years ago from the current date. Some heirloom experts say prior to WWII.
Hybrid – a hybrid seed is produced by cross pollinating two different plants to achieve a new plant that will have interesting characteristics, improved color, cold hardiness, etc. The resulting seed from a hybrid plant will not be true to the parent, so typically, one does not save seed from a hybrid plant, but rather repurchases the hybrid seed each year.
GMO - A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. For more information on GMO's and the controversies surrounding it, check out: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/