How supporting local benefits you and the community

Story by Mae Kroeis
Photo by Will Geier

There are obvious benefits to supporting local; it helps our local economy, reduces our carbon footprint, and it’s fun. Another benefit you may not have considered is that it contributes to our well-being and Calgary’s too.

Amy Armstrong, a native of Ontario who spent six years living in Calgary and continues visits often, believes so much in the importance of supporting local that she created Shop Local Canada, an online community that makes it easy to find and support local shops.

Shopping local is a win-win all around. Not only does the individual you’re supporting benefit greatly, so does their family and the community as a whole,” says Armstrong.

Here are five reasons why supporting local benefits our community’s well-being and our own:

1. It promotes kindness. A choice to support local is, in a sense, an act of kindness as your choice often involves altruism as well as a bigger investment of time or money. When you perform an act of kindness, you benefit from the “helper’s high,” a term in psychology that refers to the boost of good feelings you get as the giver of an act of kindness. 

2. It builds a sense of community. Supporting local makes you feel as though you are a part of something larger and that you belong.

“There’s just something inexplicable that happens when you get people together that have something in common, a connection that occurs,” say Nysha Murray and Laura Roberts, co-owners of the networking community, The Collaboration Team. “Supporting local is honouring that common ground and strengthening those connections we have with each other as humans that call the same place ‘home’. It’s powerful!”

3. You learn more about the people and products you’re investing in. When you know more about ingredients, process, sourcing, etc., you can more easily match your choices about the way you spend your time and spend your money to your values.Aja Horsley, founder & Queen Bee of Drizzle Honey, says their customers are directly supporting sustainable beekeepers and Canadian farmers.

“Every day consumers make a choice about where they spend their money; they can either encourage the restock of responsible, local products or those that maybe don’t support higher industry standards. Choosing local allows you to match your dollars with your values and we encourage all consumers to consider this before they purchase,” says Horsley.

4.It promotes a spirit of reciprocity. The more we support local, the more everyone is invested in the success and well-being of our city. What goes around, comes around.

As a supporter of all things local, knowing you’re helping an individual continue doing what they love is a mutually beneficial endeavour – you both feel amazing,” says Armstrong of Shop Local Canada. 

5. It helps develop Calgary’s character. When we support local, we help to ensure the success of all things that make Calgary, Calgary. When we chose to spend our time or money on local, we shape Calgary’s character, which gives it a uniqueness apart from other cities and mainstream culture. It only takes a visit to an art show, live band performance or maker market to witness the magic.  

Mae Kroeis is a Certified Professional Coach at Maek it Happen Life Coaching where she supports people to find and pursue their passions. Mae is also a freelance writer with a background in mental health promotion and Master’s degree in Public Health – Health Promotion. You can find her on Instagram  or at maekithappen.ca.