Sustainability 101: Think Globally, Shop Locally

Sustainability 101
By: Bethany Bergin

Well, the holiday season is upon us, and it’s a great time to take on a new and fun sustainable living challenge:  shopping your local merchants!  Our community merchants offer not only delectable food, but great gifts and holiday supplies as well. Make it your goal this holiday season to do at least some of your purchasing from a neighbor.

Nowadays, I make a concerted effort to shop local.  In years past, however; I wouldn’t have thought twice about compiling my gargantuan gift list (teachers, friends, family, business associates, etc…) and heading off to a mega-retailer of my choice.  Emerging hours (or what seemed like days) later, tired, harried, and with a piled up cart of items, I couldn’t help but feel I was missing a lot of the holiday cheer that is supposed to come along with this magical season. Many of my fellow shoppers and I looked like dead-eyed zombies navigating the rows of pre-packaged “gifts” that had been pre-selected and even shrink wrapped for our convenience. I couldn’t help but feel a little shrink-wrapped myself by New Year’s, with all the pressure and commercialism that abounded in these huge gift repositories.

Well, I am here to tell you, shopping for gifts at your local farmer’s market, farm stand, or from a local artist or retailer is an entirely different experience. If you are shopping for a special gift for someone, or looking for ingredients for a special meal, local merchants can provide you with something unique, beautiful, and delicious. They even do it with a smile!

Here are a few of my favorite local spots for picking up unique foods, crafts, and products that don’t scream, “I grabbed this gift for you while I was also buying toilet paper and pantyhose.”:

Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier.  (Scituate)Prepare to be wowed by these artisanal chocolates.  This is a great gift that says “I care—I thought about what you might like.”

Holly Hill Farm. (Cohasset) An organic farm and so much more!  Holly Hill Farm is hosting its 4th Annual Holly Day Fair on Saturday, December 1, 2012.  This event hosts local artisans, craftspeople, and musicians as well as a well-stocked late season farm stand and is a fantastic opportunity to shop for a special gift outdoors, instead of in a stuffy old mall!

Konditor Meister (Braintree) Need a special hostess gift? Pick up a mind-blowing Old-world style confection from Konditor Meister. Grab one for yourself as well, you won’t be disappointed!!

Hearth Wood Fired Bread. (Plymouth)  Why am I telling you about this?!?! I want all this fabulous bread for myself!  All the varieties are wonderful, but make sure you get a Panettone for the holidays, it is truly special.

{Sassy Boutique} at Abbey Knoll Photography (Hanover) offers a truly unique shopping experience. You will find something unique and special, as this vendor has brought together the work of more than 25 local crafters, along with special housewares and jewelry, as well as titles from local authors.  Make sure you check out the baubles from RivermoorStones.  This jewelry is made from found objects collected at Rivermoor Beach in Scituate.

These are only a smattering of the wonderful local merchants just waiting for you to walk through their doors this holiday season. Are you ready to do something different, and make this holiday season a truly local one? Now, turn around and put down that giant plastic tub of pretzels you were eying for your boss. What about an alpaca scarf instead?  Your boss will appreciate the thought, and you will feel great supporting local artisans.

The rewards of local shopping are huge. Small business owners are experts on their products, and will bend over backwards to please their loyal customers. You will find unique items that really are special. Furthermore, you are promoting a sustainable lifestyle by supporting your local economy—which is wonderful for yourself, your gift recipients, and the entire community.

Please make sure to include your favorite local spots in the comments section, so we can all check them out! And don’t forget, Saturday, November 24th is SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. Let’s get out there and meet this challenge and support our local vendors, as well as our communities!!

Bethany Bergin is a mother and a writer who loves to cook for friends and family.  She and her husband cultivate an organic garden and are always in search of new ways to incorporate sustainable living practices into their lives, and to teach these principles to their children.  She enjoys nature and being outdoors.


About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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2 Responses to Sustainability 101: Think Globally, Shop Locally

  1. Christine says:

    Enjoyed your post. These local producers probably didn’t open on Thanksgiving Day or force thier workers to be away from families on the one relaxing holiday. I will be looking out for local producers and artisans for sure, though they will all be local in Michigan.

  2. eSS says:

    Great suggestions Bethany! It is so important to support our own local economy. The farmers who grow our produce, the chefs and bakers who use the produce, the Farmers’ Markets and delivery services that make it easy for us to buy; and all of these businesses hire our children, neighbors, and friends and donate to our local causes. Where would we be without them?

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