We hope you are enjoying the weekly “5 Local Brands” feature — brought to you by Naturally Chicago and SPINS — highlighting local companies that subscribe to our Good Food and Natural Products values. This week we feature:

🍴 Uncle Dougie’s: Clean-label barbecue sauces in a variety of delicious flavors, packaged in convenient squeeze bottles.

🍴 Surf Sweets from WholesomeAll-natural, organic, allergy-friendly candy!

🍴 Manna Organics: Scrumptious organic, sprouted and sourdough breads, kale chips, and nut butters. (Manna founder Markus Schramm is a former Board member for FamilyFarmed, Naturally Chicago’s parent organization.

🍴 Racconto Italian FoodsStock your pantry with the authentic flavors of Italy.

🍴 amafruits: Superfruits from the Amazon, in purees and sorbets

In a sense, our Buy Local call is second nature to the Naturally Chicago community — it is something that most of us prioritize. Naturally Chicago exists to help galvanize the local Good Food and Natural Products community and accelerate growth… something that is always important, but never more so than during the current economic crisis, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, that has put so many small businesses at risk.

Nonetheless, it never hurts to spell out why buying local is important.

According to the Retail Merchants Association, for every $1.00 you spend with a local merchant, .45 is reinvested in the local community, compared to .15 when you buy at a big-box store. Said another way, buying local has three times the local economic benefit than buying from non-local companies.

Here is an excellent point-by-point summary of specific benefits of buying local from the Localism website. Points 5 and 6 are especially cogent right now:

  1. Buying locally strengthens communities. Local purchases keep the wealth in our neighborhoods, increasing the prosperity for the people around us instead of going to a far-away corporation.
  2. Buying locally reduces the fuel necessary to acquire goods for our homes, businesses, and bellies. Why buy food that travels thousands of “food miles” if we can buy fresh, local produce here?
  3. Buying locally demonstrates community pride. By patronizing a local hardware store instead of a big box alternative, we contribute to helping a local business stay in business in today’s challenging economic climate. Customer service is more personalized, and we get to see the same familiar faces each time we visit.
  4. Buying locally gets us out of the house or office and outside onto the street where we interact, connect and network with others who live and work around us. In doing so, we expand our own community sphere.
  5. Buying locally increases our knowledge of available and productive resources in our community, which could serve as a lifeline in the event of a disaster. While we like to focus on the positive, we live in a world where disasters happen. Having a strong and sustainable local infrastructure and food network is not just smart. It’s essential.
  6. Buying locally enables us to invest directly into our local economy. By contributing to a local business we help to preserve existing local jobs and create new skilled jobs. Local businesses are also the most ardent supporters of local parks, libraries, events, and the great area amenities that make communities unique.
  7. Buying locally builds trust and positivity, opens minds and hearts, and makes us more independent as a community. A more connected community is safer, more resilient and self-reliant in times of uncertainty.

End of sermon. Have a great week — and BUY LOCAL!