Kind Consumption: Buying Locally

This is a guest post written by Kerry, author of The Simple Year Year One.  She is trying to follow in Kim’s footsteps and “be nicer”.  Here are some words and a challenge from her.


I like to think I am generally a nice person.  However, on any given day, I might be “the meanest mommy in the world”.  And I have been known to get surly with the customer service person after holding for 28 minutes to try to explain that they sent me the wrong bill.

But, I like Kim’s idea of trying to live kindly and I’ve been trying to follow her example, which brings me to my story.

My oldest daughter and I were at a farmer’s market not long ago.  We made our way from booth to booth, picked up a couple of locally grown items and admired the crafts.  I’ll admit it, there is something about shopping at a farmer’s market that makes me feel slightly smug and superior.  See me, supporting the farmers while listening to live folk music.

Anyway, I had to take a break from patting myself on the back when we arrived at a stall with a small selection of fruits and vegetables.  On the corner, my daughter spotted- just three-not quite full- lonely pints of strawberries that had been hand picked that morning.  They were also marked $10 EACH.  I steered her away quickly.

It was too late.  “Please, please, pleeeeeaaaaaaaase.  Mommy, can we please get those strawberries?”

I muttered something about them being too expensive and tried to redirect her attention to a nice bargain pile of kale, but she was insistent.

“But, you always said that we should support local farmers.  It is their livelihood and it is better for the economy and doesn’t waste gas.”  (an amazing recall for a kid who can’t remember I asked her to unload the dishwasher)

But, her words stopped me.  In her quest for ripe, juicy goodness, she had a point.  Yes, those were expensive strawberries, but we live in Anchorage, Alaska where the growing season is SHORT and almost all produce has to be shipped in.  The short window of availability and the care that must have gone into raising those plants in this climate probably did warrant their hefty price tag.

So in an effort to “practice what I preach” and be kind to the environment, farmer and my daughter,  I changed my mind and bought something that I could have paid half for at a grocery store.

And, you know, they were delicious.

What if we were all to go out and buy something that we could probably buy elsewhere cheaper just because it is locally grown or handcrafted?  Would it change the world?  Probably not, but it would be kind.  If you have a story, we would love to hear it.  Jot it in the comments or send a note.    We will all applaud your efforts.

We ate the strawberries before I had a chance to take a photo. So, instead I offer this picture of farmer's market carrots that someone already "Bugs Bunnyed".  That's just as good right?

We ate the strawberries before I had a chance to take a photo. So, instead I offer this picture of farmer’s market carrots that someone already “Bugs Bunnyed”. That’s just as good right?



4 Responses to Kind Consumption: Buying Locally

  1. I have had this debate with myself many times – do I support goods (though possibly darer) made in my country, do I support my wallet by buying budget-line goods (which I often feel are inferior and sometimes false economy) do I put the emphasis on food-value, eco-friendly or ?????
    I call it “The Clash of the Ideals”. Whatever option I take, another part of me is going to have some qualms.
    I think buying the strawberries was the right thing to do on the day.

  2. You know, it wouldn’t change the world. But it would change a lot of things. Among other things, we would probably not own so much stuff. We would think more about what we bought and why we were buying it. And after all, that was the point of the Simple Year blog in the first place, wasn’t it?

  3. I’d absolutely buy the strawberries. You can’t beat locally grown and fresh picked.

    For me, buying the cheaper ones at the supermarket is a not really a saving. First, I’d really savour and appreciate the local ones and I’d definitely eat them before they spoiled. At lot of times when I bought the cheaper supermarket ones, I’d forget about them and they would waste away at the bottom of the fridge. They would often end up in the bin (and supermarket ones have to be eaten straight away as they’re usually not fresh picked).

    When I’ve paid a good price for food that someone local has lovingly produced (without lots of harmful sprays and pesticides), I really value that item. I never let it go to waste, and I really enjoy and appreciate eating it a lot more. I’m also satisfied eating a lot less (e.g. 3 or 4 gorgeous strawberries are more satisfying than a punnet of average ones). I may be spending a little more on individual items, but it’s an investment in my health and my local economy and stops food waste. It also makes me choose quality over quantity so it’s good for my waistline too!

  4. Good to see you back for a visit, Kerry! I enjoyed this post very much. Even though I still buy organic, and locally as much as possible, I always get “sticker shock” at the price differences. It is worth it, though, in the end, for the health of my family and to support the local farmers. I included your post in my weekly round-up of “Joyful Reads for the Weekend”–the link is here, if you’d like to take a peek:


Tell me, tell me...