When Ed and I bought our first and forever home almost 11 years ago, we were just starting out in our careers and had very little money to spare. In fact we were able to purchase our home due to the first time homebuyers credit and the fact that we were buying the smallest and oldest house on the block, luckily our preference anyhow. Our home was not insulated (oops, oversight on our part during the late spring inspection) and had propane heat which was expensive at the time and we were not into burning. There was also a small wood burning stove in the basement that was not hooked into the ducts, but the small but mighty radiating heat and energy from the trees that give us so much is what we used for the first few winters. We would go to bed with winter hats and sweatshirts, nighttime temps hovered around 55 degrees, and we joked that we forgot what each other looked like without layers and layers of clothing on.
All this is to say that we were pretty broke, but because of learning about the impacts large corporations can have on the environment, local economies and the very laws that promote voter, women, and earth suppression, we still maintained as thoughtful consumerism as we could, and still do. No Walmart, no McDonald's or Burger King, no Monsanto products, etc. Why? Because a Walmart not only has a gigantic footprint for every store built, they also at least in our region purchase "sub-prime" land and develop it and their building envelope includes roads, traffic lights, etc. Sub-prime is viewed through the lens of a developer, and is actually the wetlands that serve as a filtration system for wildlife and human drinking water,
storage for the water table during extreme weather and storms, and as nurseries for young wildlife. And when a corporate store is built the money is usually taken out of the community. We visited family in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and I can't remember the town but there was a general store, hardware store, and of course lots of local farms. I could see the money in the town being passed for lettuce and bread, then tools and supplies, coffee and handcrafted mittens and hats. But all of the doors and windows were shuttered, and instead there loomed a large Walmart beneath the once star-filled sky the next town over. And don't even get me started on the devastation McDonalds has caused to the rainforest.
Easier said than done if you are broke, right? Welp, we actually were very broke our first several years at our house, and instead we would shop second hand, make gifts for birthdays and holidays, and save up to buy quality necessities instead of cheap and having to replace it when it would ultimately break. We would take the time we could be relaxing at night and make lunches for the next day instead of grabbing fast food or lunch. We have stayed true with our children's toys as well, purchasing or accepting second hand wooden and sturdy toys, and selecting plant based "plastic" or wooden toys with sustainable origins. I am not
perfect, and certainly have shopped at Target or Lowes in the past decade. And since kids and Covid I definitely have picked up a regular Amazon shopping schedule, though we still purchase from researched origins. But I LOVE shopping local, and try to organize and plan time and money to prioritize supporting local artisans and businesses.
There is so much talent in our region, and people actually making things closely to "the old ways" in our area and within our friends group. I wanted to spotlight some of my favorites this holiday season, when we shop at these places we are DIRECTLY helping women, the earth, and local families without things going through the cogs of Washington or even state government. I hope you check them out!
Jupiter's Labyrinth, Dover NH: Herbal and reiki based healing and products
Jenness Farm, Nottingham NH: Goat milk soaps and other products
Cheryl Richardson, West Newbury MA: Renowned life coach and author
Jacquelyn Benson, Kensington NH: Historical Fantasy author with strong women leads
Lead with Nature, York ME: Nature based training, mentoring, and consulting
Kate Donovan Photography, Amesbury MA: Gorgeous and unique wedding, lifestyle, and branding photography
Snow Lotus Studio, Nottingham NH: Yoga in a post and beam woodland setting
Vanity Hair Studio, Portsmouth NH: Hair and Makeup, organic products
Vernon Family Farms, Newfields NH: Humanely raised produce, meat, and outdoor events
Hug Patrol: Made in USA sustainably sourced filler weighted blankets and wraps
Wyldflower Company, USA: Unique dried flower jewelry, sustainably sourced
Eight Legged Octopus, Dover NH: Thoughtfully curated gift shop and benefit corporation focused on people, planet and place
Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth NH: Amazing craft brew and food using local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible, huge supporter of the community!
Maine Beer Company, Freeport ME: Great beer, and 1% for the Planet business
Good Juju, Newmarket NH: Curated handmade products by over 40 local artisans
Lovebirds Donuts, Kittery ME: Vegan craft donuts, sooo good!