In my ideal world, each "village" would be inclusive for most needs/wants except for things that simply were not available - such as coffee beans. I imagine calling the seamstress to order my one new skirt per year and a new pair of dress pants for the boys. If we needed a new bowl, I would visit the wood worker and for my wool, the shepardess since our small homestead is too wet to raise sheep. People would visit us for new toys or rustic decor for their home or for gifts. Then there would be a hardware store and a general store. (We do have these!) Of course, several farms to get most of our food needs - straight from the farms. (We are blessed to already have the farms right in our town and then grow some of our own food as well.) So in my imaginary world there would be all these microcosm worlds spread throughout so that people could support local artisans, local farms and local small businesses.
You know many of us can choose to do some of this right where we are now - it just takes effort, time, and perhaps a bit more money. (or maybe it is a just a money shift)
Our family does buy new things - books a weakness of mine for one. I am not good at buying books at our closest bookstore (about 30 minutes away). They have a small inventory. I still buy many from Amazon and that is one thing I do not feel good about doing. I do get lots of books second hand, however, at thrift stores and yard sales and borrow from the library.
(We have had this one for two years now.)
Our family earns our living primarily through our etsy sales. We make goods for others to buy. All of what we make can be composted - simply thrown in the woods without harm to the earth. We do our best to keep our prices fair so that all income levels can afford to buy.
We also make toys that we believe in. Our rustic decor and gifts are also simple and generally useful.
Our wedding line gives an eco-friendly option while adding a touch of nature to the couple's wedding decor.
We do our best to keep our ideals in line with what we sell. Everything is made with our hands except for the burlap bags the building blocks come in and the cotton bags some other toys are packaged in.
Along these same lines when our family needs to buy something new and I can't find it locally (we don't shop at big box stores), I next look to etsy or other family businesses. We bought a beautiful handmade broom that was very expensive for us (but a good price for all the work that goes into making one). I simply cannot feel good about buying a $1.00 broom that is made of plastic and will have to end up in the landfill before long. In addition, it is something I use several times a day and just having something that I know was made in a sustainable way, by an individual making their living working by doing what they enjoy, and using this aesthetically pleasing broom, adds a bit of pleasure to the task of sweeping.
I purchased healing salve from Taryn since that was something I hadn't made myself yet. It is on my someday learn-to-do list. They are a family living by the works of their hands as well.
We also enjoy bartering. I bartered this beautiful hand dyed yarn in exchange for some our toys.
Since we don't shop at big box stores, we have the mindset that we may pay more for certain things, but we buy less things overall. And that is ok. We can all make a statement, no matter or income levels, by how we do choose to spend.
Thank you so much for all of the sharing here - it is wonderful!