Local Living Economies build wealth and keep cash in the community
Buying and eating food has become so impersonal in today’s convenience based society. Walking down the aisle in any major supermarket is disheartening to say the least. There might be a picture of a farmer on the wall but the fact is that most of what we buy is grown in factory farms, thousands of kilometers from where this food is consumed, over 2,400 kms in fact according to Barker & Mander in their 1999 report on the WTO.
Quality, value and assurance in the local economy
Buying local has become a leading trend across North America. In the last 15 years the number of operating farmers markets has grown on average 13% per year, growing over 200% since 1994.
In Vancouver we have seen growth in the local food space. Vancouver Farmers Markets have grown from the one site at Trout Lake to five sites across the city in 2010. It’s no surprise that consumers are becoming more interested in local purchasing. Consuming fresher produce provides a myriad of benefits and values for consumers.
When one purchases a product or service it generates profit for the business owner. If the owner(s) live in our community, they intern purchase other products and services from other businesses and the money recirculates. A local living economy builds an interconnected web of commerce that keeps money in the community. Michael Shuman, the author of ‘The Small-Mart Revolution‘, has been researching the value of supporting locally owned businesses. He claims every dollar spent at a locally generates two to four times more economic benefit, as measured in income, wealth, jobs, and tax revenue, than a dollar spent at a business owned outside of one’s community. Known as the ‘multiplier effect‘ its easy to see how this benefits our local community seeing value generated locally as oppose to filling the pockets of shareholders who could live anywhere.
What’s going on in Vancouver, BC?
LoCo BC is currently working on a Local First campaign planned to launch in Fall 2010 leading up to the Holiday and Christmas gift purchasing season. This campaign will raise awareness about the benefits of buying local. It will encourage people to shop in locally owned retail businesses.
LoCo provides a fresh approach, making it fun to feel good about your purchases. The good feeling derived from making local purchases exceeds the edorphin kick that you get from ordinary shopping experiences. The connections that you create when you buy local last far beyond the Holiday Season and are a step towards living a more meaningful life. Stay tuned for more info.