The “farm to fork” food movement has hit the pet world, and the environment is better for it. By choosing to buy pet food and other products locally instead of ones imported from another country, you are reducing environmental harm while also stimulating the local economy and helping the people in it.
The closer to home that products are manufactured, the smaller environmental footprint they create because they require less fuel-guzzling and carbon-polluting transportation to reach you. The production and shipping processes also require a great deal of packaging, much of it nonrecyclable, if the products are being transported to far-flung markets.
Locally produced pet food and treats will be fresher and, in most cases, better quality: Vendors that sell directly to pet guardians require less additives and preservatives to retain the quality of their product.
Although it’s not totally feasible to purchase all pet food and toys in your hometown, there are simple ways you can get involved in the locavore movement (locally produced food):
• Visit your local farmers’ market for dog and cat treats and vegetable trimmings for your reptile, pig, rabbit, and other small pets.
• Ask your butcher for locally sourced meat and scraps, if your pet is on a raw diet.
• Buy hay for rabbits and pigs at a local farm feed store instead of at a pet supply store.
• Make a connection with a local farmer for bales of hay.
• Ask store staff where the product originated.
Even if you shop at big-box and department stores, you can still source local products. When you’re looking at items, pay attention to where something is manufactured and the country it originated. There are many great North American companies that are producing nontoxic merchandise, and foods with wholesome ingredients.
Vote with your dollar: Ask the store manager if he or she can stock more local pet products. If more consumers request products that haven’t traveled a long distance, the stores will respond by stocking them. Make your consumer dollars count!
Shopping local is one of ten easy steps to a greener lifestyle outlined by Darcy Matheson in her book, Greening Your Pet Care. They’re easy to follow and will ensure your house is more environmentally friendly and safer for your pet.