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Posts Tagged ‘Shop local’

A couple of weeks back we had Irish guests staying… not often that we have homegrown guests.  However, one of the guests past a comment about the fact that as we grow much of our own food, we don’t really contribute to the local economy!

His comment kind of floored me.  It really stopped me in my tracks.  I suppose without going into a deep analysis of it, I would have considered us to be good at supporting ‘local’.

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Home grown tomatoes

I was prompted to analyse our shopping.

If I’m truthful, no we don’t buy from the nearest local shop.  There are a few reasons – they don’t stock what I’d want to buy food-wise.  I gave up buying newspapers years ago … and they don’t stock my preferred read anyway.  Yes, they do stock nice gift items.  I, however, tend to bake/gift home-made food items.

So here’s how our shopping breaks down:

Meat : we grow pigs and sheep too – so we never, ever buy pork, bacon or lamb. We also raise our own duck meat.  Chicken : we have a certain supply, but do buy free-range on occasion.  Beef which is considered a luxury in this house is bought from a local butcher, who now rings me when he kills and saves the cuts I like  – now, that’s customer service!  We plan to get a few turkeys this year too, just to add to the mix of meat choices.

Fruit and vegetables : again we grow a lot.  We try to eat seasonally, but sometimes you get a glut of vegetables coming at you so fast that you cannot eat another carrot or pea – so we freeze them to have later in the year.  Right now I’m busy preserving all sorts.  When we moved here there was a local vegetable shop, that’s now gone.  Our local country market which was another great resource closed down earlier this year, so we are left with the ‘multiples’ as our only choice.  However, even then I do aim for Irish and /or organic/fairtrade (thinking bananas and exotics).

Eggs : we have our own and if I do need more, I buy from our neighbour.

Fish : there are no local fish shops, so we shop in Barna (Co. Galway) for our fish when we can.  Not quite local to us, but it is a small independent fish shop that does great fresh fish.  We’ve also been known to swap pork for line caught tuna. Nice!

Flour:  we buy organic in 25kg bags from a local bakery.

Cleaning products : we do refills from our local independent Organic Store.  They are also a great spot for nice cheese, chocolate and seasonal vegetables.  (I just don’t get there every week.)

Animal Feed : We buy Tipperary grown grain from our local mill, and organic pig feed from “Robins Glen“.

Butchery : We are lucky to have a neighbour who does the necessary dispatching on hens and ducks.  And, we have two local butchers who take care of our pigs and sheep for us.

Yes, unfortunately, we do buy the staples from the ‘multinationals’…. tea, butter, etc.

So are we contributing to the local economy?  I think so.  We are bringing guests into this part of the country that would not otherwise visit.  We recommend local attractions.  Friday night guests are often encouraged to attend the dance at our local GAA Club.

So, yes, I do believe we are contributing in our own small way to our local community.

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What is ‘local’?

There’s been so much chat and talk about supporting local economies by buying local this Christmas – which is wonderful.  BUT it brings about the question – what is local?  Do you have thoughts on this?

So I’ve been thinking about it in our own context.  We have totally reduced our expenditure (like so many others) this Christmas, but what we have been spending we’ve tried to do as ‘local’ as possible.

Do you classify local as being within a certain radius?

If I was to set a, say, 4, mile limit to my shopping I’m afraid those of you getting gifts would not be getting much!  We have 2 tiny corner shops within that radius – one 2 miles away and the other 3 miles away – not even sure you’d get a box of chocolates in either!

Spread the net a little further – say 10 miles – and the choice improves somewhat.  We can get as far as Portumna or Birr then, and as in most years since we moved year, we have managed to do the majority of or Christmas shopping in Birr this year.

We’ve also combined some shopping with delivery runs.

I’ve roped my niece in Dublin into running a few errands for me (thank you!) which she has done in her locality.

So I guess for us ‘local’ constitutes nationwide really.

And bearing in mind that we want people to buy our pork, we would have to encourage people to think of local as nationwide.  (I would hate to be relying on our very very small population base here to sustain our business!)

Wherever you shop if you are contributing to your local economy, buying from small independent stores, or direct from your local producer/farmer, it is helping to sustain jobs and revive our so badly damaged economy.

Shop Local poster

Thanks to Chef Wade Murphy for the photo.

It may be late in the day to be saying it, but I know lots of people will be rushing out to stock up for the weekend…. well, as you do, try to think of the small local retailer/producer/supplier who is probably relying on these few weeks in December to help him/her survive!

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are…. shop local!

Happy shopping!

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