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Shopping for the Long Game: Local, Fair, Eco



We are in this for the Long Game. Whether you know it or not, you’re involved in choices each day that matter for the longer term. A few examples:

Buy local.
Buy Fair Trade.
Consider the planet.

What is the Long Game?

As a self-care activity, I spent daily time at the downtown YMCA this winter. I needed consistent exercise for the routine and for my own physical, mental, and emotional health.

I managed to go at fairly regular times and began seeing the same people. When I asked if one person was training for an event, he said, “Not really. I’m in this for the Long Game.”

I appreciated the thoughtful answer. I had given myself a goal to keep me motivated – the St. Patrick’s Day 5k. It would be a great accomplishment I could celebrate by attending the parade and festivities afterwards nearby in the Delano District. It would take a little preparation and then would be done.

But some people can see the longer term and take steps to make it better. That seems like a healthier perspective.

Shopping for the Long Game

Related to this, I’ve been talking to people about our shopping choices. We need to think beyond ourselves, beyond today, if we want to change the problems in the world. Buying from local farmers, buying global fairly made goods, and finding eco-friendly options are some major parts of this.

In the spring, many of us come out of winter hibernation and get onboard with some movements and trends. We show up at the farmers’ market once or twice. We visit a locally-owned boutique. We get excited about a Fair Trade bracelet. We buy a reusable grocery bag at the store.

These are all good things. AND they cannot stop there.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that one visit to the farmers’ market does not keep local farmers in business. One try of a new local restaurant does not keep its staff employed.

Shopping local means BUYING local too. Over and over and over again. Choosing a handmade local gift over Target. Remembering to look during your lunch hour because small local shops can’t always stay open late. Thinking ahead to find a Fair or Direct Trade option.

Commitment to Community

This takes commitment to our community, local and worldwide. It may even take sacrifice. (Not a favorite word in any circles.)

This probably also involves putting down more roots in your community, wherever that may be – getting to know your farmers, restaurant servers, handmade artisans. In our own Wichita, Kansas, we have a booming sense of community pride and shopping local, and we need to keep this momentum going.

As we each invest in things that create long-term, Long Game results, we can see the slow and steady work blossom into new and beautiful community.

In the end, we might be contributing to a more local, more fair, more eco-friendly world for future generations even more than for ourselves. But if we consider the Long Game, this work is worth it.

What these movements need is my eyes, your eyes, all eyes on the Long Game. Supporting change means we KEEP buying the local food, finding fair clothing, reducing our plastic waste.

As it turns out, maybe none of this is trendy or exotic or sexy. Maybe it’s not one glorious morning in the sun of the St. Patrick’s Day 5k, followed by a giant party in Delano. Maybe it’s the slow and steady work of overall health and paying attention to our lives.

Buy local.
Buy Fair Trade.
Consider the planet.

None of these are quick fixes. No one person can tackle them all. But YOU have the power to choose one thing, then maybe a few, and eventually maybe a lot of things will change.

You have the power to look ahead and make choices for the Long Game. Use your power for good.

We’re on a mission to add mindful consuming into life, bit by bit. Won’t you join us?



 Katy Munden Penner is our Founder and Content Strategist. She loves to eat outdoors, travel and meet Fair Trade artisans, and run occasional 10k races. 


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