LIVING SUSTAINABLY: Shopping locally sustains community
By Dana Eardley, Local First
Local is a community and all of the opportunities we create together and the challenges we work to overcome. As an organization, Local First has a passion for encouraging people to live and work together in sustainable community.
Communities thrive when neighbors buy from locally owned businesses, and then those businesses invest in their neighbors as customers and employees. That’s part of a sustainable lifestyle that engages and enhances people’s physical environment.
Sustainability involves, in short, doing things that “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
So, shopping locally becomes a sustainability action by strengthening the local economy, preserving it to better serve future generations. Shopping locally supports local investment and helps enrich families, homes, civic organizations and businesses.
A study showed that of $100 spent at locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through payroll to local people, taxes and other spending. When $100 is spent at a national chain, only $43 remains in the local community.
Another study showed that if every person in Grand Rapids were to shift $10 per week to shopping locally, another 1,600 jobs would be created each year.
So, consider shopping locally! It’s important because it:
Engages – It creates and deepens relationships within a community, which becomes more vibrant through collaboration and mutual investment.
Humanizes – Physical and economic development occur on a scale that nurtures people and encourages beauty in natural and man-made environments.
Preserves – When more citizens are genuine stakeholders, protecting local economic and environmental value is of mutual interest.
Strengthens – When citizens and local businesses work together, it catalyzes positive development and the community has structural integrity to withstand economic downturns.
Invests – Sustainable local economies and ecosystems grow into markets.
Encourages – Intimate connections between customers and businesses facilitate innovation, interaction, and discovery, making for a more vibrant and resilient local economy.
Enriches – Reinstating success in customers, employees, and the local environment makes the entire community wealthier.
Dana Eardley is project coordinator for Local First, an organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting people living and working together in sustainable community, preserving and strengthening the social and economic bonds of the community.
PHOTO CUTLINES –
2016 Street Party.jPG – Holland residents celebrated at the 2016 Local First Lakeshore Street Party. The annual event celebrates local business, community and a vibrant local economy. This year’s party will be August 19 at Washington Square.
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.