31 Days of Living Local

Four Simple Ways to Live More Local {31 Days: Day 2}

 1. Participate in Local Perks

My favorite free places supported with my local tax dollars and available because my community supports and values them as resources? The parks and the libraries.  I can get a free state park pass or zoo tickets from my local library.  I bet you can, too.  My three-year old was devastated by the closing of her preschool early this fall, but story time at the library once a week helps her feel like she still has a “school” setting.

In my county, there are three different city parks that offer me the opportunity to wear my kids out before naptime without burning through a tank of gas just to enjoy the great outdoors. We have a walking loop in the green space downtown that helps me burn calories without worrying that a car is going to run over my preschooler. But a few years ago, I never took the time to discover these places, much less to enjoy them. Then one day, I realized that I was paying for these opportunities without ever utilizing them, and if a facility is being underutilized my county budget would reflect that.  So now we go to the park, we ride bikes in the greenway, we lose library books and find them again on a regular basis because I’ve come to value these perks of living locally.  What perks are hiding in your hometown?

2.  Make Friends With A Farmer

Farmers are invaluable.  Farmers know the land and the seasons and changes of habit like no one else. Sometimes I think Farmers are more in tune to the heartbeat of creation than any of the rest of us because they understand it’s fragility and complexity in a way no one else does. And if you’re friends with a farmer? He will share all of that philosophy and knowledge with you.  But also?  He’ll probably share vegetables and free-range eggs and grass-fed meat, and he’ll invite you to bring your kids over to pet the animals or feed the chickens or pick some more purple hull peas. He’ll be your personification of sustainable living.  Find a local farmer just by asking around the farmer’s markets or searching facebook pages or visiting the county fair or researching your local Farm Bureau.

3.  Give Gifts of Local Flair

I’m blessed to live in an area that is frequented by artisans and small businesses.  Local potters and painters and crafters abound, so when I want to give a gift that is from my heart, I usually look to the locals.  Last year my cousin’s wedding gift came from Hickory Flat Pottery and every year for my birthday, my mom and I visit the annual Arts and Crafts show at Unicoi Lodge and add to my collection of Steve Turpin pottery. My good friend is my family photographer, and another keeps us dolled up in the art of a southern monogram.  Maybe it’s a small gesture to buy local, but it has a big impact.

By the way, I’ll be hosting some giveaways of amazing local (to me) businesses throughout this series, so you might want to subscribe to the blog using the button at the top of the sidebar!

4.  Tour like a Tourist

If you really want to know about the treasures hiding in your local area, pretend you’re a tourist.  Check out websites that offer activity ideas and make a local bucket list.  Follow twitter feeds for your favorite local places and actually commit to trying something you’ve always thought was “just for the tourists”. There’s a reason they keep coming back, you know. The best part of playing tourist when you’re local?  Chances are there’s a discount for the local area which means you’ve not only saved on travel expense, now you’re pocketing some extra change for your next local adventure. (Like when my husband talked me into ziplining during our anniversary staycation.)

My favorite places for planning locally in Georgia?

Explore Georgia (on twitter and instagram @exploregeorgia)
GA State Parks and Historic Sites
Georgia Magazine (a free subscription for all EMC members, do you get yours?)

What are some of your favorite ways to live local and enjoy life closer to home?

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