On the corner store

Today I chose to “buy local”. I walked down Kensington Ave, a street just around the corner of my house, but a part of it I rarely see cos it’s the long way home. As I was walking I thought I should do this more often so that people along that street start to recognize me like they do on Potter and H. and so that I can start building relationships further afield. What a great way to do this by being “forced” to walk along here once a week to get to the local corner fruit and veg store. Yes.

I was looking for butternut squash to make soup for dinner. As I came up to the store I saw a pile of the BIGGEST butternut squashes ever (well, you know) all hanging out in a crate with a handwritten piece of cardboard saying “$1 each”. Seriously! I’m guessing they weighed at least 3 pounds which would have cost me $3 in a national chain store. Deal. Yes.

As I looked around for a couple of other things I needed I noticed one of the guys who sometimes comes for food or a blanket was working in the store. YAY! We chatted for a couple of minutes and he seemed pleased to see me. I told him I was glad he was working there. He smiled. Yes.

Before I left, I snuck a look at the flowers. $4 for a bunch of mums was a little out of my reach but the owner came out, saw me looking and said, “Take them for a dollar each.” Then he looked again and said, “Never mind, you can have all five bunches for $2!” WOW. So many flowers in my house right now. Also, I think God had a hand in that transaction – when I came home and heard that one of our neighbors just found out she has cancer, I had a bunch in the kitchen to take over to her. Yes.

I didn’t drive to the store. I’m told this saves on carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Also, I’m guessing the veg I bought was sourced from local farms. Again, yay earth. This diagram had some interesting stuff to say about the benefits of buying local.

As far as I can tell, there are 6 major benefits to buying from local stores: Non-profit organizations tend to receive more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses; it keeps our community unique; it reduces the environmental impact of getting food to big stores and getting to big stores to get said food; it creates more jobs (small local businesses are apparently the largest employer nationally); taxes are invested directly back into the local community;  local business owners tend to live in the local community and are more invested in the community’s future. (http://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why)

Also, it is a great way to start building relationships – to know and be known. Today I became a presence in an area I don’t usually go to; I met someone whom I knew from a different context and got to have a conversation; I got good cheap produce; I saved on gas (that’s petrol for you Safas); I got many beautiful flowers for a fraction of their cost; and I started building upper body strength carrying all those bags home!


2 thoughts on “On the corner store

  1. Hey Val,
    If you want to explore how this can make a difference in a community and you’ve got some time to read, I’d urge you to explore some of the resources here: http://www.pluggingtheleaks.org/
    I’ve been meaning to do so myself and was prompted to revisit it by an associate who is looking to set up community based energy utilities in Africa.
    Keeping writing – your thoughts and words inspire.

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