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CCRW Supports Local Sustainable Businesses

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Protecting quality of water and quality of life in Coastal North Carolina

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Supports Local Sustainable Businesses

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) understands the value and importance of shopping local. It is the preface for creating the local Eco Gift Guide in 2020. While CCRW prepares to launch the Eco Gift Guide for the second year, staff reflect on why they feel so strongly about buying locally.

“Shopping local, sustainable businesses is not only good for the environment, it makes our communities more resilient.”
-Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director
Buying locally is as trendy as boots in the fall, pumpkin everything, whimsical charcuterie boards, and vintage thrifting. It’s the reason why community and farmers markets are all the rage. It’s the reason why all the cool-kids on Instagram promote all their fav local artists, musicians, creators and makers. Shoppers love the idea of knowing where their products are coming from and supporting their neighbors.
So, how does supporting local businesses help the environment?

Supports Local Workforce

By shopping locally, we are doing our part to support the local workforce. If you buy gifts locally, you’re helping to keep your neighbors in their jobs. Without the support from you and the local consumer demand, these local businesses may not exist. Many of the employees would have to seek work elsewhere, and likely outside of the community. This would add to roadway congestion and increase the overall carbon footprint. In Coastal Carolina, we rely on locals to support businesses in the off-season. Tourists head back to school and work at the end of the summer, when the gift-giving season begins. By shopping at local sustainable businesses, including restaurants, bars, local artists, and experiences (Charters and Tours), during the off-season, we help sustain that business throughout the year.

Reduces Our Footprint

One of the most important ways buying locally helps the environment is by reducing your carbon footprint (the miles products spend in the shipping process, etc.). By shopping locally, you are purchasing goods produced, made, and grown in your local community by your friends and neighbors. Did you know that when you shop at the grocery or retail chain store, much of what you buy travels over 1500 miles before you start to drive it home.

More Accessible and Transparent

Local sustainable (eco-friendly) businesses are able to operate in the heart of their local communities. Local markets, for example, are smaller than traditional grocery stores and therefore they are able to set up their shop right in the heart of the community, making them more accessible.

At our local community and farmers markets (like Island Produce, an Eco-Gift Guide member since 2020) consumers are able to easily access lots of local homegrown produce without leaving their own community. Customers can also learn about where their products are made or grown here in North Carolina. Island Produce owner, Jen, takes the time to visit each of the farms in NC to touch and feel where the products are grown and learn from the farmers.

“I just love our local candle-maker, Alexia at Sea Oats Candle Company (Eco-Gift Guide business since 2020), and her magical way of making my home, office, and car smell amazingly nostalgic each season” – Eco-Gift Guide User

Fresher and Saltier

By buying and eating local, consumers are able to enjoy produce that is super fresh. For our local fish markets, we’re talking super #FreshAndSalty! Many local producers pride themselves on keeping their product organic, hormone free and pesticide free, which is also great for the environment. Our Executive Director, Lisa Rider, loves shopping at our local markets, because the products are fresh and brought directly from farm/ocean to table, which creates less waste. “Most of our markets prefer you BYOBag or they provide paper bags, which is ocean-friendly.” We live in the best place imaginable for fresh and local seafood. Eco-gift guide alumni, Oysters Carolina, owned and operated by Coastal Carolina Riverwatch board member, Ryan Bethea, gives farm-to-table a whole new meaning. He harvests his Harkers Island oysters the same day that they are delivered to your doorstep.

Protects Local Land & Wildlife

Did you know that buying-local also helps to protect local lands and wildlife? Because your local sustainable farm is owned and operated by local (and in most cases generational) farmers and producers, they aren’t being sold to local developers, which reduces important habitat for wildlife. When small sustainable farms are bought out by big business producers, those big business (and in many cases foreign owned) industrial and factory farms incorporate inhumane and non-eco-friendly farming practices.

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Accessing the Eco-Gift Guide

Our 2021 Eco-Gift Guide includes some of our favorite local businesses committed to protecting clean water in coastal North Carolina. Each business has been carefully curated for its story, and alignment to Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s values. As a patron of these businesses, you will not only be conserving resources by supporting your local economy, but also reducing your carbon footprint.

The Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Eco-Gift Guide will be available in digital format, via a dedicated website that is user-friendly. Desktop and mobile versions will be accessible for those shoppers who desire to either shop at home, or on-the-go.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Members receive VIP First Access to the Eco-Gift Guide, followed by the newsletter subscribers. Full access to the Eco-Gift Guide will be available to the public October 18, 2021.

Business Involvement

If you are a business owner, or part of an organization that serves or supports our coastal communities, and feel that your business values align with those of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, and you wish to join the Eco-Gift Guide, please contact Shannon Arner, Marketing Specialist.
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Click to feature your Local Eco-Friendly Business

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