As the holiday season approaches, Americans will begin to purchase more gifts and perishable goods than any other time of year. Choosing local vendors could have a positive effect on the environment, as well as the local economy.
Luckily, Tampa Bay offers lots of local shopping options that reduce buyer’s carbon footprints and benefits the area.
Sustainable produce and dairy options are offered at places like Sweetwater Organic Farm and Tampa Bay’s Farmer Market.
Buying produce, goods and meat from a high traffic supermarkets may mean that your fresh breakfast is coming from hundreds of miles away, and could of been held in storage for days.
It may also mean that Christmas gifts contributed to the global crisis of industrial pollution.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, industrial pollution is responsible for nearly 50 percent of American pollution.
Local businesses mainly hire Tampa Bay residents. These business owners are mostly locals, who contribute to the Tampa community through their consumer choices and donations.
The profits from large retailers like Walmart, don’t linger in the local economy, but go to the top of the business’s pyramid.
According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local businesses generate 70 percent more local economic activity than large retailers.
Not only this, but supermarkets and malls get their products from over long distances. Large scale businesses burn lots of fossil fuels through the processing, packaging and shipping of goods.
Locally sourced retailers cut out most of the shipping and transporting fuel use because the items are sourced in Tampa.
Consignment shopping is also good for the environment because it eliminates waste.
“If you want to buy gift or even some groceries for yourself, places like Parkesdale here is going to give right back to Plant City,” said Parkesdale Farms consumer Josie Carlson. “You know, they give a lot to charities and all around here.”
Between Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other festivities around wintertime, entertaining in your home requires more than a few trips to the grocery store.
If meat and dairy is on your menu, considering local, organic farms could be healthy for you and the planet.
Farms like TrailBale farm, Chuck’s Natural Food Market and Nature’s Harvest Market offer poultry and red meat that has not been treated with unnatural chemicals and is fed a natural diet.
On top of this, large factory farms contribute to pollution and water waste.
According to the EPA, animals on American factory farms produce around 500 million tons of waste annually.
Smaller, sustainable farms offer meat that is raised in a way that doesn’t destroy the land and water it utilizes. Buying from these farms also supports the farmers that use these green tactics.
Supporting these green business owners strengthens the local economy at the most basic level, but with years of participation in local buying, big changes could be made to the U.S. economy.
“I buy most of my fruits and veggies here (Parkesdale),” said Carlson. “Really, it’s a little cheaper and I think the food tastes cleaner.”
If you’re looking for Tampa Bay shops to shop locally, these options will keep your local shopping cart full.
- Blind Tiger Cafe in Ybor City offers an assortment of coffee and tea.
- Penelope T is an upscale Tampa boutique that offers classy apparel and jewelry.
- Paper Street Market in St. Petersburg offers vintage furniture and home decor.
- Secondhand Savvys in Brandon is bursting with slightly used clothing and home goods.