The importance of buying local



By Jess Zsiga |

I am from the most densely populated county in Florida, and despite the exception of a few blocks of downtown St. Petersburg, Pinellas County is surprisingly limited on options for buying local.

So, when I made the move to Flagler, I was prepared to have to travel to obscure areas of town and struggle to find trusty local businesses due to my experiences in the metropolis of my hometown. I found a welcome contrast in St. Augustine, which despite its drastic difference in size, boasts an impressive repertoire of local businesses that are dedicated to the practice of environmentally sustainable business.

A vast array of St. Augustine restaurants and eateries acquire their goods from local growers and producers, which in turn keeps the flow of money within the community, and supports other small businesses, ultimately building a network of social relationships and sustainability throughout the local area. Some of my local business favorites who practice these sustainable ideas include The Floridian, Rype and Readi Farmer’s Market, Grower’s Alliance and The Kookaburra coffee, and Crave Food Truck.

The Floridian is a restaurant that prides itself on cuisine that is “southern with a twist.” Everything is fresh and locally sourced, from their seafood and dairy products to the produce used in their dishes. It’s located in a blue house on Spanish Street, just a short trip from Flagler, and certainly worth taking a night off from D-Hall.

Similarly, Crave Food Truck is a locally sourced and owned beacon of delicious food. Their selection of wraps, smoothies, and more are made fresh daily, and Crave works hard with nearby farms to keep their business local. This is a great place to stop for lunch with friends or grab a quick snack. It’s Flagler-alumni owned as well, so students get a discount.

If you are in the market for produce, farm-fresh eggs, and home-baked goods, Rype and Readi Farmer’s Market is the place to go. A quaint little shop masquerading as a barn, Rype and Readi is perfect if you want to get fresh food or look at some sheep and goats. Everything is grown locally at the Rype and Readi farm or is locally sourced and organic. There is no doubt about where their products come from and what is inside of them, which is a great feeling for customers who are dedicated to buying as locally as possible.

Buying local has incredible positive effects on communities and through the purchase of food, goods, and services, supporting resident businesses builds relationships, lowers the individual and local carbon footprint and allows more money to stay in your community.

When a community focuses on sustainability and promotes locally sourced products, consumers are offered a more authentic and eco-friendly experience each time they search for a product. Keeping it local promotes awareness of the world around you and provides a sustainable income for the community- regardless of size. Establishments do not have to be large and renowned or be located in a huge city to have peak sustainability–St. Augustine carries a much wider range than much of Pinellas county, despite its significantly smaller size. With so many excellent options for supporting local businesses in St. Augustine, it’s hard to go wrong with the downtown scene.

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