Supporting local companies is good for you, the environment and the economy
There are so many reasons to buy local that it becomes hard to justify not doing so whenever possible. Buying local positively impacts the environment in so many ways, from reducing packaging (materials from food packing are among the least recycled and will most likely end up in the Horry County landfill) to cutting emissions from transportation. In fact, an overall 10 percent shift to local purchases saves 310,000 gallons of fuel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 7.3 million pounds per year.
Economically, it makes sense to buy local. Multiple studies have shown that when we buy from locally owned businesses, a significantly larger amount of our money is cycled back into other local businesses, which continues to strengthen the economy of our local community. This makes sense since many small business owners try to support other small businesses in the area. Small, local businesses are also the largest employer nationally; the better they do in our communities, the more jobs they are able to provide residents. Furthermore, local non-profit organizations receive approximately 250 percent more support from small business owners than they do from large, nationally owned businesses.
Shopping local is a lot of fun. Unlike many big-box stores, local business owners are extremely invested in their products and are generally experts in their area, whether it’s knowing which handmade soap would be best for your particular skin type or what kind of wood would work for the do-it-yourself project you’re attempting. They can also usually tell you where particular products come from, how they were produced, and what they are made of.
How many of us actually know what’s in the products we use every day? Sure, we can read the ingredients in our food, and sometimes on other packaging, but do any of us know what linear alkylbenzene sulfonate or monosodium glutamate actually are? (Hint: monosodium glutamate is better known as MSG and is used as a flavor enhancer in many of our foods. The FDA has classified MSG as a good ingredient that is “generally recognized as safe,” but its use is still considered controversial). We have become so far removed from our manufacturing and food sources, we oftentimes don’t even know under what conditions our products are made or what they are even made of. Buying local alleviates many of these concerns.
An easy way to shop local is to check out the Waccamaw Market Cooperative’s Farmers Markets throughout Horry and Georgetown counties. Here, you find the best-tasting, freshest foods from Certified South Carolina Grown farmers. Oftentimes, these farmers pick their produce only a few hours before the market (most food in the U.S. is picked a week in advance). Not-so-fun-fact: a carrot will typically travel 1,838 miles to become part of a meal.
Farmers Markets are also full of local artisans who produce a wide range of products from dog treats to wine to jewelry and pottery. You can view a full list of artisans and learn more about Waccamaw Market Cooperative online at waccamawmarkets.org. Don’t limit your shopping to Farmers Markets though; look for local shops near you, whether that’s the Georgetown Waterfront, Downtown Conway, The Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island, or somewhere else along the Grand Strand. Support your local small business owners and, in turn, they will support you and your community.
LITTLE RIVER FARMERS MARKET
4460 Mineola Ave.
May 3–Oct. 25 • Wednesdays 1–6 p.m.
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH FARMERS MARKET
925 First Ave. S.
May 5–Oct. 27 • Fridays 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
MARKET COMMON FARMERS MARKET
May 6–Sept. 30 • Saturdays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
CONWAY FARMERS MARKET
Corner of Laurel Steet & 2nd Avenue
May 2–Oct. 28 • Saturdays, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
CAROLINA FOREST FARMERS MARKET
2254 Carolina Forest Blvd.
May 4–Oct. 26 • Thursdays, 1–6 p.m.
SURFSIDE BEACH FARMERS MARKET
Corner of Surfside Drive & Willow Drive North
May 2–Oct. 31 • Tuesdays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
GEORGETOWN FARMERS MARKET
122 Screven St.
May 6–Oct. 28 • Saturdays, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.