One philosophy I subscribe to in life, for many reasons, is buying local. It is not only more environmentally friendly, as so much gas and diesel fuel is used shipping food and other products in from the outside....but it supports small businesses and farmers and puts money back into the community. We buy our eggs, meat, and grains from a local mennonite grocery that carries these products from local farmers who don't use hormones and whos animals are free-range....not raised on a factory farm. We also try to purchase most of our fruits and vegetables from our farmer's markets and roadside stands during the summer months. Living in a rural, farming community, we have an abundance of resources for fresh, whole foods.
We have a little mom and pop toy store that carries high-quality, albeit a little more expensive, toys that engage the imagination and don't require batteries. I always go there instead of Wal-mart when I need to buy a gift for a child.
And one of my favorite specialty shops is a converted train depot that sells handicrafts and food that is all made by local artisans and craftsmen. It is a treat indeed to look around this shop......from gourmet coffees to handmade rugs to handblown glass. This is also a place I frequent when I need a gift for someone. I like to get gifts that are meaningful...so it's fun to be able to send a gift and let the person know it was handmade by a local artisan.....
and Local Harvest . These two are mainly about buying your food locally. But, if you look around, usually there are a lot more products that are made locally and are available to purchase. Yes, sometimes it is a little more expensive than going to a big box store, but I think the service done to the environment and your community outweighs the extra expense.
I'll probably feature all these "favorite" stores of mine at different intervals. The photos on this post are all from the Depot gift shop that I mentioned.
Anybody up for a little shopping? :)