• Natania McLeod Roberts

The Need to Shop Local


How on earth did it get to 2020? It feels like Friends only just finished a few years ago and we only just got the iPad. The world has changed drastically in the last twenty years. Gone are the days of showing up at your neighbours unannounced. For some, it would seem more convenient and organised. But for others, the change brings a new type of isolation.

We are connected to everyone online, yet everything is distant and less personal up close. In the darkness of this tragic pandemic however, several things have shone through across not only America, but the whole of the Western world:

The need for human connection, person to person, face to face. Then, the need for us to support our local community: to be able to buy local and rely on it in times of trouble.

And of course that, animals will take over when humans are not around.

The first two needs go hand in hand. When we know our local community, we have access to human connection at a much quicker pace. Having access to these people, we come to know them, and want to support them and are able to rely on them. While it is great to reach beyond our local area and we can often source help as well as merchandise, we might not otherwise find where we are; knowing what and who is a stone’s throw away can be convenient, therapeutic and comforting. In light of this, below are several local businesses in New York and New Jersey that we have decided to feature for the month. If you live in the area, we recommend checking them out! And if you're looking to support our survivors, we'll keep you updated on our upcoming markets. In the meantime, make sure to check out our designs on our Etsy shop :)

Featured Shops:

  1. imagiNations, Chester NJ. Instagram: @imaginations_nj imagiNations is a boutique where many of our participants' designs were featured and sold in the past. Only selling local or fair trade artists items; imagiNations keeps making sure that everyone benefits with each transaction.

  2. Sweet Generation, East Village, NYC. Instagram: @swtgeneration Sweet Generation is an artisan bakery creating beautifully handcrafted pastries - but they are more than just a bakery. With every purchase of their award winning cupcakes and pastries, you are supporting their internship program for young people from marginalized communities, teaching job readiness skills in our creative bakery space. Rated the Best Cupcake by NYC VillageVoice, you can order online here: www.sweetist.com/bakeries/sweet-generation.

  3. Radical Women in BedStuy, Brooklyn. Instagram: @radicalwomenbk Radical Women was started by the original female singer of the Black Eyed Peas, Kim Hill, before they hit international stardom. The local store hosts clothing, accessories, and beauty products. They bring in young designers and are evolving with their community. It is a place where you can do more than just shop. It is a safe haven of women. Prices vary from low end to mid range. You can read more about them here: https://www.brownstoner.com/brooklyn-life/brooklyn-boutique-radical-women-384-tompkins-avenue-next-of-kim-hill-bbenga-akinnagbe-black-eyed-peas/

Find More Local, FairTrade, and Sustainable Shops to Support!

  1. Start Small Think Big Start Small Think Big helps under-resourced entrepreneurs create thriving businesses in underserved areas so owners can build wealth for themselves, their families and communities. They do this by activating and engaging a top-tier network of professional volunteers who provide high-quality legal, financial and marketing services, at no cost to under-resourced entrepreneurs who are of color, women, members of other disadvantaged groups, and/or low-income with business revenues under $1M. Check our their website for some beautiful local businesses to support, from food to clothing to quarantine essentials!

  2. donateNYC donateNYC helps New Yorkers give goods, find goods, and do good, with tools that make it easy to donate or find used goods. By donating and reusing goods instead of discarding them, New Yorkers can greatly reduce waste, conserve energy and resources, save money, and help provide jobs and human services for New Yorkers in need. donateNYC is an essential part of NYC’s Zero Waste Goals. donateNYC also provides vital support for New York City’s reuse community, helping nonprofit organizations and local reuse businesses increase and promote their reuse efforts. Check our their directory for local reuse businesses to support and food exchanges!

  3. NYC Fair Trade Coalition The NYC Fair Trade Coalition is a grassroots organization that promotes fair trade businesses and retailers in New York City and educates consumers on the importance of fair trade. It partners with ethically-aligned businesses, retailers, NGOs, and citizens in New York City to host events and engage the public in dialogue. It offers its members advertising support through its social media channels, coordinates sales events, and fosters networking among ethical and fair trade businesses. Shop Fair Trade today!

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We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing survivors of economic hardships, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking with an avenue for creative expression.