Yesterday, we had two farmers come to our door to deliver food. I said to my husband, “this must be a sign we are doing things right!” Whether that is true or not, I know that supporting local businesses is a win-win for everyone. As we support local businesses, we support the financial success of our community, and oftentimes, the products we buy are of higher quality than if we sourced them from a chain store or from the internet. And of course, shipping costs aren’t necessary. 🙂
Over the years, our family has put more and more emphasis on where we purchase our resources. We still have more work to do, but so far, we have been able to stay local with our eggs, meats, and raw milk. Now that I’ve covered a couple of reasons why purchasing locally is a good idea, I’ll discuss ways to discover local businesses.
This really is the age of the mighty internet…so use it to your advantage! I have found countless recommendations–to events to doctors to local businesses–on Facebook. Though I am thoroughly disappointed in Facebook’s censorship, I still find local Facebook groups to be extremely helpful. You can either search your local Facebook groups for past posts or ask the members for recommendations on local businesses/resources. There is nothing better than a satisfied customer giving you a sincerely positive review!
Another thing that Facebook is good for is allowing local businesses/events to post business hours and locations. A perfect example of this is getting updates to our city’s Farmers Market, which changed locations last summer because of construction. But, Facebook isn’t as popular as it used to be, and since it has become such an anti-freedom-of-speech monster, sometimes it is best to just use a search engine for finding local businesses. For this, I’d say Google could work, but they’ve also become heavily involved in censoring public information and even violating its users’ privacy. For this reason, any search I need begins with the search engine called DuckDuckGo, which I am sure is still censored, but much less so than Google.
But, if the internet isn’t your favorite tool for discovering local businesses/events/people, simply showing up to your Farmer’s Market can open up a broad range of possibilities. Many people go (and many of them are foodies, like us!) and it is an excellent way to explore!
Anyway, back on topic: after you’ve identified local businesses you’d like to support, it can be beneficial to form a good relationship with those that run them. As I mentioned earlier, we had two farmers come to our home to deliver food…not only is that convenient for my family (it is hard to leave the house with 3 small children!), but it allows for friendly conversation with visitors. Good relationships, good products, good community support…as my grandma would say, “shazam!!”
The best advice I have for you is to form a good relationship with your farmer. In my opinion, the best tips come from a local farmer himself: Peter Bartlett of Bartlett Farms.
- Make sure to read all the farmer’s materials before contacting him/her so that he/she doesn’t have to repeat information. Though I’m sure they’d be enthusiastic about discussing their business with you, it’s best for everyone to use the resources you already have on hand, such as their website, reviews, or pamphlets.
- Be respectful of their time and call ahead if you’re going to stop by. This is because farmers are usually in the middle of something and would like to be prepared to meet you.
- Finally, know the value of what they do and be willing to support a higher price, if you deem it worthwhile. Just like artisan cheese or wines, small batches take work and can justify a higher price. You ultimately build a relationship with this farmer, so your connection with him/her is worth investing in because they care about you and want to do the best work possible for you.
I hope these tips have been helpful in identifying local businesses and forming a positive relationship with those that supply your food and resources. It takes time, but it is worthwhile! Happy shopping:)
Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.
She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and three children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.