Shawnee’s Greenthumb Popcorn is made in Miami, FL and distributed all over the sunshine state. Her product is organic, vegan, gluten free, and local. Shawnee is a Miami native that believes in keeping her hard earned money in the neighborhood because it has a better chance of returning to her or someone she knows. Shawnee explains, “If you spend your money at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, or any giant, your dollars go to an international cloud that has a slim chance returning to benefit your community. Purchasing locally produced goods and services is a way to recycle the funds locally over and over. The same dollar can stay in the same zip code for months.”
Aside from the financial benefits of buying local, more Floridians fear the health hazards that have been linked to preservatives, flavor enhancers, pesticides, and genetic modifications. Although long trade routes have benefited manufacturers with access to cheaper labor, controversial additives needed to survive these long distance journeys have proven dangerous. Consumer quality control has be co opted by the FDA and USDA and the average american consumer has trouble decoding the scientific jargon that is printed on the ingredients label. Shawnee says, “local only consumers get to know their vendors, demanding quality is the responsibility of the consumers.”
According to the Institute For Self Reliance, “Studies have found that big-box retailers, particularly Walmart, are depressing wages and benefits for retail employees, and that median incomes have risen faster in places with more small businesses compared to those dominated by big businesses.”
Many “local only” consumers point out that local products and services are more unique; cookie cutter business models result in a cookie cutter quality and personality. National and international sales plans must find a common ground in order to cater to a wide range of tastes, a local vendor can fine tune a product or service to a specific local demand.