Originally published in 2012: My 12-month journey to buy only Made in the USA products including USA-grown produce and support local economy and jobs.
Shop USA 'Til You Drop by Barbara L. Steinberg
For many years I have pursued Made in California products as part of my travel expertise. I embraced Joanne Neft's locavore mentality and her love of Placer Grown products. Promoted farm-to-table. Agritourism. My friend Jane's incredible SavorCalifornia.com. Supported local farmers by receiving Farm Fresh to You farm boxes from the nearby Capay Valley. Supported numerous cottage industries from art glass and handmade bags to jewelry and gift cards. I consciously looked at the "Made in" labels (most of the time) when out shopping for this, that, and the other thing.
I have resisted buying fruits and vegetables out of season -- they are almost 100% of the time from outside the USA. I have mostly resisted buying Made in China. But made exceptions for other countries. I began to wonder, "Can I get what I need...everything I need...if I only shop Made in the USA?" So I began Google searches for Made in the USA. Made in America. American Made.
I started with a search for new socks. Yep, I really, really need new socks. And, without getting too personal, also need to new underwear. This has been more of a challenge.
The stuff is out there. In many cases, you really have to work to find it. Or make a decision that you aren't going to find exactly what you want and maybe you can do with a little less. That's the thing about our addiction to foreign-made products -- we want what we want, when we want it and nothing less. We want dozens of style choices. Hundreds of colors. And we want it inexpensive. Or not too expensive.
Anyway. Today is day one of my committing to Made in the USA. Everyone I have told seems very excited about the idea. The question is, "Will they join me?" I hear Diane Sawyer did some feature on this. Guess I need to watch more television. Still, I think I must be on the right track. I mentioned this to my friend Mo at her birthday party in Sonoma County. She in turn told me about a new store that just opened in Healdsburg: Silo American Made Modern. Seriously! A new store that sells nothing but...wait for it...Made in the USA products! Cool.
So on my way home from Guerneville, I took a slight dogleg to Healdsburg to see Silo. I liked what I saw. So much so, that my new Facebook profile photo (featured here) was taken Silo. Love the sweater wrap from East Coast-based, Willow USA!
I have new socks on the way from a company in North Carolina. The underwear may be resolved. Stay tuned. What's interesting about all of this is that I really hate to shop. But the idea for me still it that I'm buying really only what I need. And I will have to figure out some exceptions in case of an emergency or something like a new computer. Can you get a Made in the USA computer? Guess it could be made here but the parts are from who knows where?
I will rely on the kindness of others to direct me to amazing products -- Made in the USA -- and look forward to hearing lots of great stories. Which leads back to my first love and that would be telling other people's stories. This new page is very basic, but I didn't want to wait. After all, it day one of 366 days of Made in the USA. A Leap Year gives me one more day to figure this all out.
I will continue to favor my Made in California roots, but am excited to venture beyond these borders to all thing Made in the USA 2012.
"Purchasing just 1% more of Made in the USA would equal 200,000 job!"