Choose to support a local family business this holiday season

Jessica Johnson

Staff Writer

For many of us the first place we check when looking for a gift for our loved ones is either Amazon or another large online shopping site. Amazon and other online shopping, though convenient, often comes from halfway around the world, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, which is one of the biggest threats facing our generation.  Shopping from local stores for gift and purchasing gift cards to local farm to table restaurants, helps support your local economy while also helping the environment

Sam Handy, managing partner of Grazers in Williston couldn’t be more proud of supporting local farmers and his farm to table restaurant. When starting Grazers seven years ago, the farm to table movement had just taken off. With no farm to table options outside the Burlington area Sam and his other partners knew that they wanted to bring the opportunity of local, clean food to the people in Williston and the surrounding area. “What’s cooler than knowing your grass fed burger traveled less than 25 miles? Or that the veggie burger you are eating was made by a Vermont business 10 minutes down the road? Or your produce was grown right down the road?  You are directly impacting people in your community and allowing them to be successful.” said Handy when reflecting on why it was so important to him to start a local farm to table restaurant. (paragraph) Farm to table restaurants have become some of the most prominent restaurants in the state of Vermont, and have become a staple to the state economy and state reputation. Buying and eating local has quickly become the expectation for Vermonters, with many being advocates for the betterment of the community and environment alike. “Supporting the local economy has to be the most important part.  We are also extremely proud of the reputation we have built in the community.  People support us because we support local farmers, cheese makers and beer producers.  The food is also going to be more fresh and less processed so it not only tastes better but it is better for you.” This holiday season, support your local restaurants like Grazers by purchinging a gift card, it not only helps local businesses but also is healthier for the consumer and the environment in the long run.

It’s easy for many of us to forget about picking up a gift or two for your furry friends during this holiday season. You can support local businesses when shopping for them as well. Rescue Pup Cookies is a local dog cooking business located in Underhill, VT run by owner Julia Johnson who strives to provide your dog with the healthiest snacks. “The toxic chemicals that are put into foods to preserve them, along with using toxic fertilizers on our fruits and veggies, so many people and animals, are overloaded with toxic chemicals.” says Johnson “I dove into researching everything on how to make our products as healthy as possible for our customers and our dogs. Being organic is also very important to us, our chicken’s and chicken eggs that we use for the cookies will be organic certified soon along with our home grown pumpkins. We use ingredients from Maine, Oregon, New York and New Hampshire; all USDA organic certified”.

 When thinking about great gift ideas, try to support and shop at your local businesses and restaurants for gifts for the entire family. This way you can reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses, along with supporting local families. Consider businesses like Grazers and Rescue Pup Cookies who are ever so passionate about supporting other local businesses and can guarantee the cleanest and healthiest meal possible for you, your family and four-legged friends.

Illustration by Grace Filloramo