There are many reasons to go shopping. We shop for groceries and toiletries, we eat out at restaurants, we buy gifts and purchase our next form of entertainment. How far do you go out of the way to accomplish these everyday tasks? Most individuals do not mind driving a few miles out to West Acres Mall just to finish this list of errands. Instead of making your usual drive out of town, I suggest that the next time you are in need of groceries or a gift for your friend, you decide to shop locally.

There are many benefits of shopping local, one of which is supporting your community. Let’s take Prairie Roots Co-Op, located at 1213 NP Ave. in Fargo, for example. This establishment is completely community owned, and all money that the co-op makes goes back into the Fargo-Moorhead community. By shopping locally, you are also able to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats from area farmers, which helps reduce your carbon footprint. The co-op also collaborates with Ugly Food of the North, an organization that makes sure less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables have an opportunity to be sold, cutting down on food waste in our community.

The Fargo Theatre is an even shorter distance from campus, located right on Broadway in downtown Fargo. This means that it is only a short drive, but I would recommend that another way you can lower your carbon footprint is by biking to the theatre instead. By watching movies at the Fargo Theatre, you are supporting the community and keeping a historic theatre running as well. The theatre is a nonprofit that relies on donations from the community to stay in business, and students even receive a discount on ticket prices. Another perk of the theatre is that they often show independent films, most of which you would never have the opportunity to see in a big box theatre. This notion not only makes the theatre unique, but it also encourages and helps smaller artists as well.

Zandbroz Variety, a novelty store just down the street from the Fargo Theatre, offers a large array of gift options, ranging from books, greeting cards, locally made jewelry, and art. The store has been operating downtown for over 20 years and is definitely a favorite of mine. In the very back of Zandbroz there is a used book room. This room holds books that are pre-loved and marked down. It is not difficult to walk in looking for one thing, but come out with many.

People may argue that shopping locally tends to be more expensive, and this is usually a correct assumption. Shopping locally tends to be more expensive due to the fact that local businesses are not able to purchase their merchandise at such a cheap price, whereas big box retailers are able to buy much more product for a lesser price. Small stores also battle with competition against big box stores like Walmart or Target, especially if the price is cheaper for the same goods at both stores.

Despite the price, shopping local is the more socially responsible option. When you support a local business, you are not only supporting creators and artists, you are also supporting your community and lessening your carbon footprint. Though shopping locally may be more expensive in some cases, I believe that it is more important to show our local shops some much deserved love.

So next time you find yourself in need of some groceries, something to do, or a gift to be purchased, please consider shopping locally to do your part in giving back to those who help support our community.