By Megan Barber, Grocery and Wellness Buyer, Merchandising Manager, Co-op Owner
From farmers to plant packers, distribution vendors to delivery drivers, everything and everyone is under pressure to provide the nation with the foods they are used to in the high quantities they are demanding. With food supply chains under immense stress, one thing that shines through clearly is that local production is and remains strong. When we couldn’t get eggs, tofu, frozen vegetables, cheese, milk, butter, half & half, sour cream, and more from our national distributors, local vendors and producers were ready and waiting for our orders to roll in. We recognize, appreciate, and support our local farmers, workers, producers, vendors, delivery drivers, and more.
During this stressful time, we as a Co-op want to support you and your families by providing quality foods that we are proud of. Local items especially, are a favorite. They are crafted and grown by people we talk to every week. We know their families, we’ve seen their farms, and we are happy to offer you what we know are quality products. Local steps up and reacts quicker than major brands could ever dream of doing. When you ask us for locally grown spinach, we ask our farmers to provide it. When we need a new supply of milk, our local vendors find us one that meets our product standards.
Now is the time to recognize that local producers and growers are a major part of our food system and need consistent support from their communities; not only in times of stress and panic. A call to action is needed where you as a consumer vote with your dollars by choosing local products over conventional major brands. On average, $68 out of every $100 spent locally stays local. Buying locally produced food creates more local jobs – from planting seeds, to harvesting crops, to crafting, packaging, shipping, distribution, selling, and more.
Local products also create diversity on the grocery shelves. Where major stores tend to carry the same brands and the same flavors, local producers can create unique flavors and products that you won’t see elsewhere. Local tastes better too! Products that don’t have to travel as far or spend time stored in massive warehouses tend to taste better just because they’re fresher! We can tell you that the locally roasted coffee is roasted right before shipment – making it one, a joy to open and stock for you because it smells so good, and two, an amazingly fresh product for you as a consumer to consume! The environment thanks you as well. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses keeps the emissions from shipping and transporting lower than imported goods or foods that have traveled to you from across the nation. Finally, these local producers support their community right back when the community supports them. Your local businesses support your kids’ soccer teams, buy Girl Scout cookies for the office, and spend time volunteering locally.
There’s really nothing better than supporting your neighbors – through good times and bad!