The economy of buying local

The world is vast with its lands spanning left to right, in its species, resources and most importantly, us, fellow sapiens. The only issue with this picture is, we beings are growing in numbers exponentially and everything else, well remains constant or declining. We are at an age where we are fighting for resources as basic as water, clean air, and a place to live.

As parents, we are provided with a lot of choices, too many in fact. Decision making that is meant to be instantaneous now takes days because we look at the pros and cons of using a material, a fabric, price alternatives and much more based on preferences. What I’d like you to think about now, is how and where your products are manufactured and sourced from as well. Do not fret, this is not a lesson in Economics, rather just an opportunity for you to explore conscious consumerism.

The reason for buying local has never been stronger than before, with growing needs and deepening landfills, consumers play a very important role in determining the course of future generations. Indians have never been one for frivolous spending and wardrobes/closets the size of a master bed. We’ve always been stereotyped as miserly and looking for a bargain, but the point behind it all was, I think, less waste. We always handed down clothes, furniture, pots, crockery, knowledge and more. Growing up, sharing clothes amongst us cousins were common and it was never seen as “Eww, she wore it, so I won’t cause it's so outdated”. We valued the stories that came with it, funnily enough, my training potty was also handed down 6 cousins and we love how we all shared such funny stories with them.

I digress, but yes, we consumed cautiously and disposed of items very consciously. They had to be tattered and welded a few times and only then could our mothers and grandmothers salvage disposing of them. However, times have changed, trends change even more frequently, and our capacity to purchase has grown along with it all. Plastic is the bane of our times and landfills are polluted with clothes cause we just don’t fancy them anymore. It’s a sad plight, but rather than give you grief, here are some very practical and imperative reasons for why I think you must consider buying local, Indian made products.

We help create more local ownership and jobs, - farmers due to the water crisis have had no choice but to desert their livelihoods and come to the city in search of something else. Conscious, home-based organizations with ethical values would offer them the opportunity of alternative livelihoods. Do consider small businesses and brands that work with them.

  1. Better selection and service because local businesses always attempt to ensure they are providing solutions to a relevant need. With emphasis on handmade and community-made products we also get unique products.
  2. Support community groups, this ties in with the first. A lot of NGOs in India will also have a selection of products at your local Khadi Gramodyog, handicrafts store, etc.
  3. Reduce environmental impact with lesser added costs in transportation and packaging, manufacturing, etc.
  4. And the best of all, encourage local prosperity. What better way to empower our communities than to invest in them? 

Hoping to encourage you to look into your purchasing habits.

Blogpost by Rinu Ananth.

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