athens, georgia: buying local in the neighborhood
by Grace FERZELY
of SHADES OF GRACE
Last weekend I participated in America’s favorite past time, capitalism. It was gorgeous outside, I felt better than I had in days, and my friend Cory asked if I wanted to go to the Community Winter Market at the Jittery Joe’s Roaster. I’ve been making a real effort to not spend toooooo much money lately (hello tax szn), but when someone says ‘community market’ to me… I can’t resist.
We stopped by the market, walked around the neighborhood, met up with more pals and made a day of it. Here’s some snippets of our Saturday mixed into a bunch of propaganda and excessive hyperlinks to encourage you to buy local in Athens, Georgia (and beyond).
COMMUNITY WINTER MARKET
The Community Winter Market was recently founded by The Culinary Kitchen of Athens, a new initiative headed by the incredible Rashe Malcolm of Rashe’s Cuisine. Rashe took advantage of the farmer’s market off-season to get together butchers, growers, makers, bakers, musicians and more to serve the community. I’ve only been a couple times so far but it has been a delight getting to patron these locals.
Treats purchased: the most delicious vegan cupcakes from VTasteCakes, a beautiful aventurine stone pendant necklace from Absynia, and at the previous weekend’s market I stocked up on teas from MEplusTEA. I’ve been making an extra effort to buy locally AND to buy from Black woman-owned businesses. This market has given me the privilege to support a number of these amazing humans and their work all in one place.
BUVEZ + LOTTA MAE’S
Lotta Mae’s and Buvez are both right across the train tracks from the Jittery Joe’s Roaster. They’re a local home goods shop and neighborhood cafe (thx Landon), respectively. They’re both fairly new to Barber St. but I really hope they stick around. I regularly frequent Buvez before walking over to ~real work~. They serve pastries and fresh bread from Independent Baking Co, coffee from 1000 Faces, and always have art up on the walls from locals (some is by their staff!).
I love buying friends and family gifts at Lotta Mae’s. It’s a bit of a higher price point, but so it goes when you are supporting ethically made and sourced goods… it’s worth it and it puts more money back into the local economy.
*Author’s Note: Lotta Mae’s vacated this ~physical~ location at the end of February. For now, you can still find them online! I’m sure their next space will be equally as, if not more, dreamy than this spot.*
THE DAILY CO-OP
The Daily Co-op: my neighborhood grocery store. I feel very lucky to live within walking distance to a community-owned grocer and mini-deli that supplies local produce, eggs, milk, bread, sweets, and so much more. A lot of their packaged foods can be expensive, but if you pay attention to their deals, you can shop pretty reasonably there. It’s so worth it to become an owner-member too—you get even more monthly specials (I am my mother’s child), case discounts on orders, and the opportunity to be a part… an owner… of an incredible local food supplier.
The co-op’s ‘global ends’ statement on their website pretty much sums it up: “A welcoming place to shop and work, intentionally sourcing food, nourishing a kind, engaged community.”
DOWNTOWN SUSTAINABLE FASHION: ATOMIC, COMMUNITY + DYNAMITE
I can’t talk about my favorite local places without mentioning a few of the downtown vintage spots: there’s Dynamite, the first place I thrifted in Athens about six years ago. They helped me realize the importance of community in buying local. I have Dynamite to thank for countless special occasion outfits, costumes, and the cuuutest accessories. They will always encourage you to look your best and embrace your quirkiness. <3
And speaking of community, the premiere shop for vintage, handmade, & sustainable fashion is Community Athens. Another great shop for local gifts and some of the best vintage/upcycled denim in town.
If you can’t tell, I’m very fond of this town and the people, businesses, and community organizations it’s made of. These are only a fraction of the places you can go in Athens, Georgia to support local and most of these are just within a mile of each other. I am very fortunate to be within walking distance of much of Athens’ local commerce. But that’s not the case for everyone, and it is a privilege.
We need to make these places more accessible to those who live out of walking distance and don’t have adequate transportation to get into town. In Athens, the push to implement fare-free bus service is a crucial step in this process. The social, environmental, and economic benefits of investing in our local communities are abundant. Let’s share the wealth. :)
I hope if you live here or come to visit, you’ll stop by at least one of these spots & mostly, I hope you’re encouraged to find your own favorite local spots whether here, in NYC, maybe Nebraska, or a town across the world.