How price vs. value creates different economic realities.

For those uneducated in the arcane world of economics, understanding how our purchasing behavior impacts the local economy can be like visiting well, an arcane world.

Prices, we know. We live and breathe them. But value is not so straightforward. If we only make purchasing decisions based on lowest price, we may miss out on real value.

Sonoma County GO LOCAL Cooperative’s mission is to get as many people as possible to grasp the importance and power of personal purchasing choices.

With food, that comes down to two choices:

1. To buy food that is grown or produced nearby from a locally owned retailer or restaurant, or;

2. To buy food grown and produced outside our region from a nationally owned chain grocer.

What difference does it make? A big difference.

Sonoma State University economics professor Dr. Robert Eyler did an analysis of this in 2011. He found that spending $100 on locally grown produce and locally made goods at a local independent grocery store, farm market, or CSA generates $121 for the area economy. The money circulates more cycles because all the folks making the transactions are local.

That same $100 purchase at a non-locally owned store for goods and produce not grown or created nearby generates just $60 locally. Your money leaves our community in order to pay folks who provided the goods and own the store but live elsewhere.

Turns out, we really can grow our own money—as long as it stays close to the tree.


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