So normally when I think of shopping or spending money I think of things like clothes, entertainment and such. However I have learned in the last year or two the huge variety of goods that are made locally.
First I noticed deviant art, patch together and etsy. People all over are coming together to sell handmade products. Not everyone manages to get their goods out in the open.
I would like to challenge people to find local artisan crafts to support, learn about and/or participate in! I thought I'd list some examples...
Track down pottery co-ops. Four or five or more people come together to make wonderful pottery and share costs. These range from city based workshops to rare wood-burning kiln in the hills of Vermont. These potters get together to share their work and it is a wonderful place to learn about their lives and styles. To see a pit fired pot (which are AMAZING, by the way) next to a pot painted in the fashion of ancient Greece next to a pot with glazes based on new age chemical reactions is really inspiring. But before you find these places it is as if they don't exist. Every pot you buy is another pot they can make. Some are functional and some are just breathtaking. Also every person that shows interest is inspiring to the artist.
Find art galleries or craft shows, or glass works! There are some amazing glass studios in some very random places. Vases, plates, jewelry- buying right from the creators ensures that you are supporting local people rather than a mass produceing factory.
Find farmers markets or pick-yourself fields, or butterfly farmers that selll the wings for jewlery! Or locally made maple syrup. Organic icecream, hand made clothes, shoe repair places, family run gyms/rockclimbing/iceskating, find family run ridding stables or comuunity run dog shows... theres a ton of choices.
Another very important local economy can be shepards and knitting stores. In vermont and Masechusits there are lots of small farms for sheep. In vermont there are great little spinneries. The great thing about them is that a lot of them use organic wool, organic proceses and petrolium free products. Usually wooll is flown to some other place, say Peru, then flown to the stores. Buying locally made yarns decreases the dependance on foreign oil and chemicals. If you don't live near a yarn store you can try to just buy things domesticly made.
I imagine that not a lot of you knit, but there are tons of ways to incorporate yarn into fiber arts and sculpture. Although i supose a lot of us here might not be interested in art. But I can challenge you to give it a try! Find a craft or a hobby that uses local or domestic products.
Local made products are all over the place so go and dig some up!