I FINALLY took two minutes last week to join Think Local First DC. As many of you now I'm a fierce proponent of buying local and supporting local businesses. I may pay a little more to use a local printer and not have the magazine printed in Canada or China (You would not believe some of the print sales and paper supplier calls I get.), but I think it is worth it to be able to meet my printer in person and have deliveries come from just a few miles away not trucked in from another country. I've managed to set up relationships with local businesses and freelancers for almost all aspects of the magazine's production. You may have noticed our cartoonist is in the UK and we manage our whole relationship via online files so that is not too guilt-inducing. I have been actively seeking a local garden humorist over the past few years with no luck in matching Chris Madden's talent - so far. If you know of someone who might fit the bill, drop me a line.
But back to local. Why focus on supporting other DC region businesses? First, as a green gardener we want to help the environment. Supporting local businesses cuts down on sprawl and wasted transportation energy. Second, we are investing in our own future. We want DC to remain a unique, thriving community with a variety of local businesses we can call on when the need arises. Third, we get better service. Yeah, I said it. Our local quick printer does not give me the attitude I get when I walk into Kinko's where the kid behind the counter literally rolls his eyes that he has to get up and take down the details of a job order. Our local quick printer owns her business and actually is happy to see me and my business walk through the door. And she always has a few minutes to spare for local community gossip and to share what new, local restaurants to try.
I could go on and on about the superiority of local, but Think Local First DC has some great lists on why to shop local first and how to do so that you can explore on their site. Forthose who strive to plant local and eat local, this is just the next natural step. If you are a local DC business and want to join too, please tell them "Washington Gardener Magazine" referred you and sign up here.