I've been wanting to write a post about buying products that are made in the USA for quite some time, but I've had a hard time finding the media sources I was looking for.
Some of the TV networks have been talking about the benefits of buying domestically produced products. But the big shift I've noticed recently is that some of my friends, who traditionally only care about price, have started taking up the idea of buying US produced goods.
So finally today, I came across this article via Twitter. I just love Twitter. :-)
I'm not fanatical about buying products that are made in the USA, but I am very interested in buying local. So if you live in Canada (Hi Jaimie!) or anywhere else outside of the USA, please know that I am not opposed to your domestic products. I am a HUGE fan of coffee, mangos and Belgian chocolate. I am also currently implementing a Canadian product for a client.
So with my disclaimer stated, let's move on to why I like the idea of buying local.
Buying local reduces demand for petro-chemicals.
People who participate in a pursuit of locally grown food cite reduction in petro-chemicals as a primary reason. If the food is grown locally, you may only need a truck to get it to the point of sale rather than many trucks, airplanes, trains and boats.
The same is true for durable goods. If our clothing, plates, furniture and baseballs are manufactured domestically, the cost and pollution of moving them to the point of sale is reduced.
Buying local gives you and your neighbors good jobs.
As an Engineer by trade, this is a huge one for me. If we don't manufacture and produce in our local communities, eventually we won't get to design those goods. The people who are doing the building know much more about the products than those who only design them. The builders know how to build better and therefore know how to improve design for manufacturability and maintainability.
Manufacturing and Design jobs are good paying, interesting jobs.
Buying local improves the economy of your neighborhood.
Community members who have good paying jobs will generally have more money to spend in those communities.
Buying local strengthens your community.
If you are living, working and playing in your own community, then your community grows stronger. You get to know your neighbors. You get to know the producers of the food you eat and the products you use. You take pride in your own town and work to ensure it's safe for and accessible for you and your neighbors.
It's true, sometimes I am an idealist. However, I do think my reasons are sound. These things are all true in places that have strong Farmer's Markets or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). So why wouldn't they be true for manufactured goods as well?
As an alpaca farmer and thus, fiber producer, I am thrilled by the response described in the LA Times article.
So I ask you to consider the source of the goods you buy. Were they produced locally? If not, is there a suitable option that is produced locally? If not, go for it and be proud of yourself for thinking about where and how the products you use are produced.
By the way, please do check out Jaimie's blog. I adore her and the local, sustainable life she is creating with her chicks.