Keeping it in the neighbourhood: Buy local

Buying local is one way to become more sustainable without much effort.

Guest blogger series: Crawling Toward Sustainability

This is the 10th in a series of guest blog posts in which Emma will track the progress of her office to become more sustainable. Next up, small office recycling solutions

Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside are, even in light of the social and economic problems, vibrant and thriving neighbourhoods full of fantastic businesses and merchants. BCA has always been located in this part of Vancouver, and we enjoy being an active part of the neighbourhood.

One simple but significant way in which we stay plugged into the community—and practice sustainable city living—is by buying local.

Buying local is easy to do every day. Instead of going to Starbucks, we buy our coffee and sandwiches at the Wilder Snail, Benny’s Italian Market or the Union Market. We shop for groceries and supplies at Sunrise Market and Rice World, and we get our celebratory Friday afternoon beer at the Astoria Hotel.

We turned to local businesses during our renovations as well. Of course there were the requisite trips to Canadian Tire and Home Depot, but we bought all our paint from Vancouver institution Ted Harris Paints, conveniently located just a few doors down from us on the 700 block of East Hastings in Strathcona.

By getting our paint at Ted Harris, we ensured that the money spent would stay in the neighbourhood to benefit a flourishing business in the community. It was also an environmentally sustainable choice because we didn’t have to drive to pick up extra buckets or brushes, and because Ted Harris sold low-VOC paint, which contains fewer nasty chemicals like formaldehyde. Plus, the name of the colour we painted our front façade is “Witching Hour.” Very cool!

Buying local is not only a great way to become more sustainable without a lot of effort, it also helps you learn more about your city. There are hidden gems in neighbourhoods like Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside that deserve your business, so consider seeking out local merchants the next time you need a bucket of paint or a really awesome sandwich.