There are several reasons why one should buy local but just a few are that -
1. It lessons the environmental impact caused by manufacturing plants, transportation, etc
2. It supports the people in your community and therefore supports your community. The more money spent in your own town, the more your town thrives.
3. The products you buy tend to me more unique or specific to your community
etc etc etc etc
My experience with buying local started with my disdain for chain restaurants. The food tends to taste manufactured and is full of sodium. I love to find a neat little restaurant that is specific to the place I'm visiting. I want to see what makes a community unique and different. Like in Boulder, when we ate at the Persian Restaurant that had been built in Tajikistan.
It was so much more interesting than Applebee's.
The other thing that began to interest me was our farming community. Living in South Carolina, a state that's economy was built on agriculture, we have lots and lots of farmers all around, even in the city limits. Whole Food sometimes sells strawberries grown in Simpsonville and I buy milk from a farm in Starr, SC. We have a fun little farmer's market downtown during the summer, and a year round Farmer's Market on Rutherford Rd. Obviously, the biggest things we buy at the farmer's market is okra, squash, tomatoes and corn, simply because those are some fairly standard summer crops in the south. One can also buy milk, fresh eggs, tomatillos, boiled peanuts, fresh berries, and local honey.
Little known fact, well I think it's little known, if you eat local honey, it helps with allergies. You have to eat it during the winter before pollen season, but the exposure somehow helps you build a tolerance to the pollen of your region :)
My quest to support local has grown, though, to include as much as I possibly can. While I do most of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods/Earth Fare, I do try to buy what is most local to me. I look at labels and sometimes it takes me a long time to find the sweet potatoes grown in Whiteville, NC but I just prefer those over the CA ones.
I try to buy clothes from local shops like the one I discussed the other day. I try to buy my running shoes from local running stores, get my bike serviced at local bike shops, and even buy plants from local nurseries.
That means that I do pay more for things many times. When it's not mass manufactured, it's more expensive to make. It's difficult for a business owner to employ lots of workers and they don't necessarily get a discount on buying supplies in bulk, but the money is worth it. If it means I have to buy less things so that I can support my fellow neighbor, then so be it. I have everything I NEED anyways.
So I will continue to spotlight local businesses on my blog as much as possible because it is something that I believe in whole heartedly!