5 Things To Do Before Starting A “Buy Local” Campaign

A Farmer's Market at Saline, MI (cc Dwight Burdette, 2010)

A Farmer’s Market at Saline, MI (cc Dwight Burdette, 2010)

As the holiday season draws to a close and the New Year looms on the horizon, it seems like a good moment to sit back, draw a deep breath and reflect on the months past. And time to start sorting out those receipts. Let’s face it. The year-end festivities have become one-long shopping extravaganza. The National Retail Federation estimates that the average shopper will part with $740.57, adding up to a whopping $586.1 billion nationwide. Family gifts will make up the biggest share of the budget, a good $420. Shoppers are likely to shell out over $100 on candy and food, $45+ on cards and flowers and $50+ on decor. (Yes, that is right, all that holiday decor adds up to a $6.9 billion industry!) Continue reading

“Made In USA” Claims: A Quick And Dirty Guide

“Made in USA”, Lupor Metal Products, NY (CC Joe M., 2007)

Have you ever bought a product because it said “Made in USA”? I have, because I believe in buying local. Because I hoped that my money would go towards creating jobs and help businesses grow, creating local economies that are largely self-supporting. I looked at the label that boldly stated that it was manufactured in this country and I trusted the company. Ah, the innocence! Little did I know that claiming to be “Made in USA” is a territory marked with loopholes, misinformation, ambiguous labeling and outright lies. “All-American” goods like Converse sneakers and Levi’s jeans are made overseas. Good old American cars are from Mexico. Coors is equal part Canadian, Brazilian and South African as it is American. New Balance is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the advertising watchdog, for making “American Made” claims, as was Craftsman. The list is long and saddening. Continue reading