I realize that as an individual, my influence is limited to the things that I say, the places that I work, what I choose to purchase and how I live my life. I have made changes in the things that I say and do wherever I am and this has had a lot of positive impact on me in the past couple of years. Last year, I decided to make every attempt to purchase local, sustainable, organic products, preferably as close to home as possible. This includes fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats as well as clothing, utilities, electronics, furniture, mechanical things and shoes.
I was amazed to find that it was much more difficult than I thought to purchase things in local chain stores that were made in the USA or that came from local farms. That really tweaked a nerve so I started shopping for things made in the USA online.
The first thing I did was to join a local farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in late winter/early spring. I went to www.onestrawfarm.com and signed up for their full share, not realizing how much food that would be for one person to consume. Three grocery bags brimming to the top of local organic produce that is in season and the freshest and tastiest you will find, every week. I don’t usually have the time slot open to do the local pickups so I drive out to the farm which isn’t too far from my house. The nice thing is it brings me back out to nature and reminds me that all of the farm land hasn’t been sold into housing developments in Maryland yet.
I have been able to find local meat and eggs at some of the specialty health/grocery stores but know I can go online at www.localharvest.com and look for farms that will provide these things for me if I want to get it direct from the farmer.
I found paper that comes from sustainable and recyclable material such as banana leaves at the local Target store and use that for taking notes in classes at Tai Sophia Institute. I found highlighters that are refillable and I use pens that use refillable inserts so that I am not adding to the waste pile every time the pen runs out of ink. I am still waiting for manufacturers to come up with soy based inks that are non toxic refills to the pens. Maybe someday soon that will happen.
I have found clothing online when searching for items. Generally the selection is not as good as in the stores and sometimes it is more expensive but that is not always the case. I found shoe manufacturers like www.okabashi.com and www.softstarshoes.com that provide well made shoes here in the USA.
I am currently looking for bookcases and found that some wooden furniture is also still made here, is not made of melamine or plywood and can be purchased from some local retailers.
If you are interested I can share other links that I have found to local manufacturers. All of the links I have posted here I have ordered products from and would recommend. I also do a lot of purchasing of goods online from www.etsy.com which has vintage and handmade items for sale from very talented people all over the USA and the world.