While much of what you might read about buying local will often have to do with supporting the economy of your hometown, state, or country, on a broader level there are also many benefits to your health when you shop where you live.
Let’s go into further detail on some of the main health advantages of buying local, so that you can feel even more confident and proud when buying and selling in your neck of the woods.
Local Often Means Simpler, and Simpler Is Good For Your Body
A big focus for many years in the United States, when it comes to discussing local economies, has been the benefits of locally grown food.
In terms of its healthfulness, local food tends to be fresher than your average grocery store fare, resulting in higher nutritional content and better taste. This last part can also help encourage more healthy eating.
But the healthiness of local foods and other products extends further, including to the environment where you live.
Local products tend to require less packaging and shorter routes for delivery and/or pickup, which contributes to decreased plastic use as well as less pollution. This means that participating in your local economy also has you breathing fresher air, and living in cleaner communities.
This can extend to help foster healthier soil and water as well, as the agriculture and/or infrastructure needed to support local economies is often also simpler and more natural (no preservatives needed to keep food fresh for national or international transport), promoting even more of a healthy relationship with the land among your local population.
Did We Mention Lower Taxes? And Healthier Towns?
Stick with us for a second on this one. Keeping with the example of local agriculture, research has shown that local farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services.
Researchers found that counties with a higher volume of local businesses had lower rates of mortality, obesity, and diabetes.
Roughly translated, this means that, compared to other kinds of land development in your communities, a greater share of tax revenue is being put back “into the pot” by local farmers. That could very well translate to less of a tax burden on you, as you contribute to that same pot.
How does this contribute to better health?
For one, it can lead to a greater sense of community. A large corporation headquartered in another state or country, often leveraging or even lobbying for tax breaks, may not feel as “part of your team” when paying a less than equal share of your local taxes.
On the flip side, your general mental health and the collective wellbeing of your community could feel that much greater – knowing that you and your neighbors are “in it together.”
It’s no wonder, then, that researchers have found that counties and parishes with a thriving local business community have lower rates of mortality, obesity, and diabetes.
Thriving Local Economies Keep More Money and Jobs At Home
Finally, there are also the numbers on employment and local spending to consider. A community that has enough good jobs to go around is invariably going to prove healthier, person-to-person.
Studies have shown that local businesses create the majority of economic growth, including almost two-thirds of private sector jobs. When you buy local, you’re supporting your neighbor, and their ability to employ other people who probably also live in your community.
This produces a virtuous cycle of keeping more dollars in your town, to the benefit of many.
Conclusion: Many Good, Healthy Reasons to Buy Local
So there you have it. When you shop local, you’re not only showing your community that you value their work and products or services, you’re helping yourself and others lead healthier lives, both as individuals and as a group.