“Buy Local” is a phrase most of us are familiar with, especially in a community with so many flourishing local businesses.  Omaha is growing at a staggering pace, and much of this is attributed to the money that is recycling through the community because we support local businesses–and they support us.  Local businesses give back more to the community because they are a part of it, and when we buy local not only do more of our dollars stay in the community but this allows more jobs stay in the community as well.  After all, a community is built on personal relationships and that idea translates to business just as much as any other area.  On average, for every dollar spent at local businesses, 45 cents is reinvested locally.  If non-local purchases contribute to the local community at all, it is at most 15 cents on the dollar.  Above all, local businesses value, respect and appreciate your patronage on a personal level.  You are a customer to them, not part of a projected demographic with a bank account.

Encouraging local production of goods is equally as important.  Transportation of goods is very expensive and damaging to our environment.  Aircraft transportation has greater fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions per mile than any other mode of transport.  Shipping is a close second, and the amount of sulfur oxide pollution that comes from the fifteen largest ships equals the combined amount coming from all the cars in the WORLD!  In fact, transportation by shipping produces emissions of one billion metric tons of CO2 and uses 11 billion gallons of fuel per year internationally.  On a global level, our country is importing $2.2 trillion dollars’ worth of products yearly from over 150 countries.  If we could source these jobs back to the United States, just imagine the positive effects it would have on our economy AND our environment!

If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million dollars per year to the community’s economy.  That is a great deal of money for such a small shift in spending!  We can all make a difference in our community by making informed decisions about where and how we spend our money, and in this way, what our money can do for us even after we have spent it.

There is so much information about the benefits of buying local, it is easy to do more research and really see why it is such a vital concept.  Our statistical information was sourced from eLocal.com, which is a great resource that has tapped into information from epa.gov, census.gov, civiceconomics.com, newrules.org, archive.hhs.gov, sustainabletable.org, nytimes.com, and grist.com to name a few.  These are all wonderful resources that are highly informative and definitely inspire change.  So get out there, be an informed member of your community, maximize your resources and support your local economy!