Buy Local, Eat Local This Holiday Season

— Written By Casey Hancock and last updated by Denese Prevatte

Provided by Casey Hancock
Extension Community Resource Development Agent

Have you ever wondered why you should choose local? Perhaps it is more convenient to purchase goods from large chain retailers, but there is a notable impact on the local economy by shopping at locally owned stores.

Several studies indicate that buying products at locally owned businesses keeps dollars circulating in your community, creating a ripple effect, as those businesses are likely to spend their money locally. This is called the local multiplier effect. Two recent studies show that for every dollar spent at a local business, 45 cents in reinvested locally. Conversely, for every dollar spent at a corporate chain, only 15 cents is reinvested locally. Shopping locally can return up to three times as much income to the local economy!

This holiday season, let’s keep our dollars in Robeson County! Purchase gifts from local shops, buy fresh produce from local farmers, or dine at many of the locally owned restaurants throughout the county. One of the easiest ways to buy local is to support your local farmers. There are several roadside stands around the county, and the Robeson County Farmers Market, located on the corner of Eighth and Elm Streets in Lumberton, is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., until New Year’s Day.

Beyond supporting the local economy, there are several other reasons to purchase local foods. Local food is fresher and tastes better. Crops are allowed to ripen naturally in the field and are harvested at their peak, often hours before market in the morning. Food that is purchased in the grocery store travels an average of 1,500 miles. Because local foods are sold within a smaller mile range, they require less transportation and are, therefore, a more environmentally friendly choice. Many studies also suggest that local food may be more nutritious based on the fact that it is fresher and has not lost nutrients over time. Local foods also help build community. When you purchase products from a farmer, you’re engaging in conversation and learning more about agriculture.

In order to promote our local economy, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, has partnered with Southeastern Health, Homegrown Health, and the Robeson County Farmers Market to host “A Very Local Holiday Festival” at the market Saturday, December 13, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Join us in supporting our local farmers, artists, and craftspeople! Come purchase gifts and fresh produce for your holiday meal and learn more about nutrition and healthy eating. There will also be cooking demonstrations, free samples, recipe cards, and hourly giveaways!

For more information about local foods, supporting our local economy, or “A Very Local Holiday Festival,” please contact Casey Hancock, Extension Community Resource Development Agent, at 910-671-3276 or by E-mail at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.