By Chanti Holtl —
This is an opportune time to create new norms, habits, and ways we show up in, and care for the natural world and our local community. It is time to re-evaluate how we engage in our spending. The fear of lack keeps us stuck in our patterns of scarcity and separation. When we choose to support our local businesses we keep abundance locally rolling in a circle of support. This allows access to a higher level of security, deeper relationships, and a more engaged community. Thus creating a local interdependence, where humans actually need each other and the natural world to survive in a thriving and healthy reality.
We are hungry for opportunities that have relations attached as our globalized economy has created disconnect or separation between the people and the products we are seeking. We make purchases, at a big box store, a chain store, or online, and do not realize that only a small percentage, if any, stays in our community. According to www.smalltownlove.com approximately $13 for every $100 spent stays local. When we support a local small business, up to 75 per cent stays in our community. This includes employee wages, local advertising (such as in TheGreenGazette), printing, and purchasing supplies. This outcome is much more beneficial to local prosperity. Win*Win*Win!
Some folks may figure it is out of their price range to support local. It is true that locally produced products may have a higher price tag than a similar item at a big store. However, shopping local helps support local families. You may be helping someone afford overdue dental work, or music lessons for their kids or simply helping to put food on the table. When you buy from the big guys you are putting your money behind low paying jobs and an already subsidized bottom line of multinational companies. So even if it is not your reality to always buy local, do it whenever it is possible. Real people in your community are benefitting. The payback is engaging with the people you support while you get a higher quality product. There is an added bonus of the minimized impact of not needing to ship items half way across the Earth. Globalization of our goods creates a breakdown of community as it utilizes more and more energy and resources, with less and less benefit to us and our Earth. Supporting members of your local community is an opportunity to move from consumer to citizen.
How can I participate locally?
The first step is to look around your community and closely observe what goods and services are offered.
Consider shifting just one purchase to a local option; every bit helps. You can choose to go downtown and buy from one of the many fabulous businesses. A great movement that is encouraging the buy local theme is the Small Town Love initiative across BC. You can learn more at http://smalltownlove.com/towns, which has over 200 businesses listed Cariboo-wide, including 106 listings in Quesnel, 46 in 100 Mile House, and 60 business listings in Williams Lake. This year, celebrate BCs Buy Local Week from November 30 to December 6. This helps to keep our downtown and local economy alive and thriving.
How does it feel engaging and supporting a member of your community? Great. I love buying veggies at the farmers market. I get to see the children with their parents and know that the money earned will nourish the lives of those smiling faces. It feels good to know my purchases at the local craft fairs will provide a livelihood for the artisans that beautifully share their skills and gifts. Here is a link listing many of the local fairs www.centralcaribooarts.com/events/.
Bartering and sharing are other ways to keep the abundance local. We are blessed with many share sheds in this area that allow us to relieve the burden on the landfill while passing along good used items. There are many options for buying second hand locally, both online and off. Another option is the Cariboo Gold Community Exchange group on Facebook. The group description states, “We ALL have abundant Cariboo Gold in our lives! A useful skill, extra veggies, mentorship, tools, STUFF we no longer need, creative offerings, extra time, and companionship. A sustainable, healthy, local culture is a complete reflection of a strong and resilient community. A circle of interdependence and abundance!” This group encourages communication and interaction for exchange on many levels.
What gifts or skills do you have that could be shared for sale or barter in the Cariboo? Make your life richer and more locally engaged by plugging in and keeping it local. Everyone of us truly has something to offer.
It is up to you. There are so many ways you can shift from being a consumer to a member of a resilient community.
Chanti Holtl enjoys the quiet life near Horsefly, BC with her partner and boys. She also loves being a *communitarian*, organizing and participating in events that bring folks together to celebrate and support a joyful, abundant community life.