There are quite a few reasons why Darlene and I started The Healthy Porcupine. Some of those have been addressed in earlier blog posts, but one that we haven't talked much about is the political aspect of why we do what we do.
Now, when I say “political” many people's minds will go directly to the left/right paradigm that is so ingrained in our society today. That is not what I'm talking about at all. I'm talking about something that goes well beyond that- I'm talking about making everything you do a political act. How, where, and why you spend your money is one big example of this.
When you spend money, you're lending your endorsement to a product. You've obtained this money by working which is an exchange of your life-force (precious time and energy) to produce something. So, when you purchase something, that dollar you hold in your hand is more than just a piece of paper- it's the product of your time and energy spent. Also, when you use your dollar to purchase an item, you're telling whoever produced said item, “Hey, here's my money. Keep doing what you're doing.” Like it or not, money is a powerful thing and how you spend it is just as powerful.
When I spend my money at a local farm, I get to meet the farmers. I get to know what kind of people they are and I get to see how they raise their plants and animals; I get to ask them questions and, sometimes, even tour the farm. When you buy a piece of meat at a grocery store, you really don't know what you're getting, how it's been treated, or where it came from. All you truly know is that it's called “meat”. Now, given what I just said what money is, which would you rather spend your dollar on?
It is so very important to make sure to “vote with your dollar” and buy ethical, buy sustainable, and, when possible, buy local.
“Buying local” goes well beyond food politics. When you buy local, your money is going directly back into growing your community. Spending your money at your local merchant who carries local products has so many more benefits than buying something at a big box store that has been shipped in from China. When local merchants make more money, their businesses grow, and when their businesses grow, more jobs are created. Supporting local businesses helps to make your community more prosperous and self-sufficient and decreases its dependence on outside sources.
Taking an active interest in the way we buy may seem daunting at first. It's not always convenient and it means doing your research and sometimes going out of your way. Just remember, by going this route, it's another part of taking back control of the food you eat and the types of products you use. You'll no longer be chained to corporate interests- it's liberating.