As 2020 is thankfully nearing an end, it’s time for reflection and celebration as a new year begins. Usually, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I choose a word for the year. I like to use the word as a theme for the next 365 days.
One year it was gratitude; another year I chose the word patience. I like the idea of a resolution like eliminating sugar or breaking a bad habit. However, I found that once I broke the streak, I quickly gave up for the year.
In comparison, if I chose a theme instead of a resolution, then I gave myself more grace, and there’s naturally more room for growth.
This year I chose a theme — “Made in America.” In the last several months, I kept coming across surprising information about how much we rely on other countries for a multitude of products.
While reading about Christmas trees, I learned that over 85% of artificial trees are produced in China. A government that persecutes Christians is exporting the most recognizable symbol of the holiday.
I was also surprised to learn that over 80% of the global down supply for things like down feathers pillows and down filled winter coats is from China. The feathers are a by-product of geese and ducks used for food supply demands. China breeds the most ducks and geese in the world.
While preparing dinner one night, I read the fine print and learned the “wild-caught” salmon that I purchased at Aldi was actually harvested in Asia and then shipped to the United States.
Not always easy
After this year’s presidential election, we are facing obvious division within our country. I believe both the morale and the economy of our country would benefit from consumers focusing on buying products made in the United States. I realize this might be next to impossible for certain items.
As a runner, I am very picky about my shoes. There is only one company, New Balance, that sells a shoe “Made in America.” The style of the shoe is a retro model that is heavier and more of a walking shoe. I might have to give myself a gray area for items that are necessary without many options, like my running shoes.
It’s very shocking to think about where all the items currently in my home were produced. I do have furniture that was locally made, but most of my clothes were produced in another country. I might have some crazy outfits if I start weaving my own cloth and sewing my own clothes. This is an exaggeration of course, but I do believe if we all make small changes in our actions as a consumer, it would help our local economy.
Another idea is to look for items at a thrift store. My purchases at a thrift store still support a non-profit and my local economy while minimizing waste.
I have been thinking about purchasing a new couch for many months. I’ve looked at them many times during quarantine and the months that followed. I am certain there are many other people like myself who, as a result of spending more time than ever in their homes, have started thinking about redecorating or remodeling. A lingering thought kept returning to me that I should search for one made in the USA.
Fortunately, I found many options made in North Carolina, an area historically known for manufacturing furniture. The price is higher than similar products made in Asia, but I believe the craftsmanship should be better. The production time is longer ranging from 2-6 months to receive the furniture. The American companies are competing with mass produced furniture with two-day shipping options. I have determined that I waited this long, I can wait six more months.
Seasonally, I prefer to grow my own fruit and vegetables or purchase them from local farmers. Not only do locally grown fruit and vegetables provide healthy nutrients and minerals, my purchases support farmers in the community. Some studies indicate that consuming local honey alleviates allergy symptoms. There is some debate, but even without a health benefit, purchasing local honey keeps my money in my area.
Buying beef and poultry directly from farmers allows consumers like myself to have conversations about the care and feed of the animals. Buying locally naturally drives down consumerism due to limited but better quality products.
My theme this year seems more of a challenge than years past but the benefits are exponential.
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