COMMENTARY: Shop small, grow local, buy local
Local businesses create jobs, build community and grow our economy. With the holiday rush upon us and the start of the biggest shopping season of the year, it’s even more important to remember these local businesses and to “shop small” and “buy local” whenever you can.
Last week we celebrated Small Business Saturday, a movement that began in 2010 to promote local businesses the day after Black Friday. But there are many more ways we can continue promoting the “shop small” movement beyond just one Saturday.
We can choose local restaurants over national chains. We can go to small boutiques instead of department stores. And we can even support our local farms over big box stores and supermarkets.
Connecticut actually has its very own rising movement that combines the “buy local” message with the “grow local” concept. The result: “CT Grown” — an effort to promote Connecticut’s agriculture and homegrown goods.
Promoting Connecticut's farms
This unique movement is sprouting a new appreciation for Connecticut’s agriculture. In 2008, the nonprofit organization CitySeed founded www.buyCTgrown.com, a website that offers a place to connect people ready to learn and share information about Connecticut’s farms.
And just last week, the state Department of Agriculture launched www.ConnecticutGrownStore.com, an online store with merchandise to help the public visibly demonstrate their support for locally sourced products and producers.
From apples to wool, local meats and cheeses to garden plants, Connecticut farms have a lot to offer; and choosing locally grown and raised products gives our communities a boost we cannot ignore.
So, how can you join in the “CT Grown” effort?
Start small: Visit a local farm stand or nearby orchard before making your holiday pie, and use the buyCTgrown.com online search tool to find the perfect farm for your needs. Or, if you are in need of a Christmas tree, check out the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association at ctchristmastree.org to find a grower near you.
Our local farms are part of many organizations dedicated to making it easier to find and enjoy local agricultural destinations. So get out, find a destination and start shopping.
Make the pledge: BuyCTgrown is running a “Give 10%” campaign. They are asking people and businesses to pledge to spend 10% of their existing food and gardening dollars locally.
This small commitment can make a big difference and is a great way to get involved.
Spread the word: Let your friends and family know about the importance of buying local. The most vital part of growing a movement is spreading the word.
So, tell others about that local farm you love so much. “Like” the movement’s Facebook page to stay informed (facebook.com/buyctgrown).
Encourage others to shop and buy local too. Take an idea, plant the seed and watch it grow.
Republican Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senatorial District, which includes all of Shelton as well as parts of Monroe, Seymour and Stratford. He can be reached at 800-842-1421 or Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov.