Local, Sustainable, BeneficialLocal, Sustainable, Beneficial

By Claire Davidson, St Paul Minnesota

Much like Robin’s belief in American-made products, obtaining your food from local growers and farmers’ markets is equally essential to “living the green life.” Aside from being eco-friendly, purchasing American-made furniture and locally grown produce are both practices that promote economic growth and sustainability. In today’s economic climate, there is nothing more important than buying locally.
I live in Minneapolis, where I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by socially conscious, organic food suppliers. Local cooperatives like The Wedge, which became the state’s first certified organic retailer in 1974, have consistently bought from local farmers to supply fresh and organic products directly to the consumer. Having enjoyed over forty years of success in a highly metropolitan area, The Wedge is proof that sustainable food practices matter just as much to the urban city dweller as they do to the small-town farmer.
Whether you’re purchasing what will become your family’s next meal, or a great new piece of American-made furniture from Robin Wade, here are some tips on how to get the most out of buying local:


Be Patient
So much of our busy lives today revolves around how quickly we can get our needs met, but we often don’t stop to assess how well these needs are being addressed. Sure, your stomach’s growling and you need a quick fix, and fast food sounds increasingly appealing the hungrier you get.  But to truly satisfy your body’s need for fuel, you have to supply it with the proper nutrients. Simply taking the time to prepare your meal from fresh ingredients is one of the first steps to having a better diet. If you take a little extra time, you can visit a local farmer’s market and obtain fresh vegetables for a salad you prepare later that day. Sure, it takes a little extra, but ultimately this process is more rewarding.  Similarly, at Robin Wade, large slabs of wood are sometimes given years to dry to ensure the finest quality and best product for the consumer. The more appreciation you have for the process, the more you can enjoy the final product.


Take Only What You Need
With many families buying in bulk from mass retailers, the problem of overconsumption is spreading rapidly. If you buy local, fresh food from your neighborhood co-op you are less likely to over-purchase, which leads to less waste. How many times have you simply bought too much of something, only to see what remains get tossed in the trash? As stewards of this planet, we owe it to ourselves to be more aware of how much we are purchasing, how much we are consuming, and how much we are wasting. This is why it is essential to buy only what you truly need and will consume. Similarly, at Robin Wade the belief is that our forests should not be aimlessly cut down to mass-produce furniture and contribute to the problem of overconsumption. As a sustainable company, the goal is to only take what is necessary. Felled trees are saved from the landfill and turned into meaningful works of sustainable design.

Know That You’re Contributing to Local/Small Business
Perhaps the best thing about buying locally is that it benefits both the environment and the economy. As Americans, more and more we must see these two linked together if we want to create sustainable, eco-friendly and economically beneficial practices. To find a farmer’s market in your area you can visit the USDA’s website and enter in your zip code at the bottom of the page:

Local, Sustainable, Beneficial