Raise Local!

A 'Buy Local' craze is driving millions of people to farmers markets every weekend.  I'm hoping a 'Raise Local' craze will keep millions of kids in their neighborhoods.

Buy Local” is a big trend in food buying, especially here in Northern California where progressive politics is very popular and local food is plentiful and very high quality.

Proponents say it’s great for your health because non-local foods are less fresh, so they are often laden with chemical preservatives. They also say it’s great for the environment because natural resources are consumed are emitted to transport and package non-local foods, and pollution is emitted as well.

My wife and I agree, so we buy all our produce at the Palo Alto Farmers Market or the California Avenue Farmers Market every week.

I want to propose a new Local mantra that has a lot of the same benefits: “Raise Local!” Your kids will be healthier, and you’ll improve the environment as well.In particular, the benefits are:

  • Healthier Kids, because they’ll exercise more walking and running around the neighborhood than they would getting driven around everywhere.
  • Safer Kids, because far more children die in automobile accidents every year than they do from accidents associated with roaming around the neighborhood.
  • Happier Kids, because they will have more fun playing and connecting with other neighborhood kids.
  • Happier Parents, because not having to drive your kids around and not living their scheduled lives will give you more freedom to do things you want to do with your lives, with less stress.
  • A Better Environment, because less driving will lead to fewer natural resources used and fewer pollutants emitted.

What do I mean by Raise Local? Well, for everything you do with your kids, try to do it nearby, within walking distance. My recommendations for a Raise Local lifestyle are as follows:

  • Send Your Kids to a Neighborhood Schools that they can walk to. Walking to school can be a key cornerstone of kids’ neighborhood relationships and activities.
  • Tell Your Kids to Go Outside and Play. Turn off the screens – televisions, game consoles, and computers – and get them outside playing. After a few times outside, they’ll figure it out, especially if neighbors do the same with their kids.
  • Encourage Your Kids to Play Pickup Sports With Neighborhood Kids. Organized sports, especially non-local leagues that have parents driving hours each weekend, waste an awful lot of time and energy. Besides, they usually end up destroying family meals, which are fundamental to happy, emotionally healthy, high-achieving kids. Do your kids have the potential to make a career in sports? Really?
  • Try Neighborhood Play Instead of Summer Camps. Many parents drive their kids to various summer camps all summer rather than letting them play in their neighborhoods. Summers in the neighborhood can be more fun and a lot easier, provided there are other kids and some stay-at-home adults watching out the window.
  • Ride Bikes as a Family rather than driving somewhere for a family outing. You’ll all get fit, have a great time, and save the environment (at least a bit).
  • Socialize With Your Neighbors. Most of the time, they’re OK, really. Besides, they’re *real* convenient. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try block parties or progressive dinner parties.
  • Shop Local. Do you live in a place where you can walk to stores rather than drive? Check out your home’s walkability score. If you do, walk to shops when you can, rather than drive, and take your kids with you. You’ll run into neighbors on the way, and increase ties to the community around you.
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