Enjoying the Local Fare

I hate Wal-Mart.

It is a terrible soulless place that is eating our local economies alive!… That may be somewhat of an overstatement, but not by much… but that is just my opinion. (But we’ve been over this: my blog, my opinion!)

And Wal-Mart is not really the source of our economic woes. It’s big business in general that has made it so difficult for local shops, farms, and restaurants to be successful at such a difficult time in our economic history.

I think it is so important to support local businesses and restaurants  Going to farmer’s markets for produce, rather than big name grocers. Getting coffee from the local cafe` rather than Starbucks.

Supporting local takes more work and sometimes more money. But it is vital for communities to survive while maintaining their identity. Part of the reason one must go out of her way to buy local is because of big businesses. Large corporations drive up the prices of mom-and-pop places and make it difficult for them to stay in business. Chains are easy. They are everywhere and are usually more affordable.

I have had the privilege of being involved with Local First, an organization in Grand Rapids that focuses on helping local businesses in the West Michigan area. They have begun a 10×10 pledge campaign that I would love you guys to look into!

What they are asking is that you take $10 of your food budget that you would otherwise spend at a chain or big-name grocer and instead spend that money at a local grocer, farmer’s market, or restaurant. We are hoping people will pledge to do this for the next ten weeks. You can sign up to join here! When you sign up, they site asks for your email address. No worries! Local First will not spam your inbox. You will receive a once-a-week email giving you tips on how to shop local, recipes to be made with local ingredients  as well as awesome local places to try out. We’re hoping for 2,000 participants.

It’s so easy and it requires nothing but $10 of what you have already budgeted for food. Even if you aren’t in the Grand Rapids area, I would love to challenge you to try this. You can try out a local restaurant you’ve never been to, get to know your community a little better at a farmer’s market, or try out a different local coffee place.

If you’re in West Michigan and want to try something local and awesome, here are my recommendations:

  • Red Ball Jet Cafe`
  • Clique Coffee Bar
  • Cherie Inn
  • Rockford Brewing Company
  • Herman’s Boy Coffee Ranch

Sign up and tell me how your pledge goes!

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