Bringing Community Sustainability to Life
As a nation, we are celebrating the resurgence and renaissance of the “American-made” concept. From small towns to our bustling cities, new ways that businesses and the community as a whole can champion buy local initiatives and the path to sustainability – as well as reap the benefits – continue to grow.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – As a nation, we are celebrating the resurgence and renaissance of the “American-made” concept. From small towns to our bustling cities, new ways that businesses and the community as a whole can champion buy local initiatives and the path to sustainability – as well as reap the benefits – continue to grow.
The benefit of building a sustainable community isn’t a new idea, either. In fact, studies conducted as far back as 1946 suggest a strong correlation between communities that support smaller, locally-owned businesses and a better quality of life. In fact, from improved schools and parks to better street maintenance and sanitation services, more than 30 additional measures of well-being come with living in a town that supports area growers, entrepreneurs and civic organizations!
Creating Communities That Are Alive and Thrive
Your town is probably a lot more like you than you think! It’s a reflection of your personality to an extent…for example, if you love the water, chances are you live by a river or lake, if you’re an artist, you probably find yourself in a community that supports your creativity.
More importantly, like us, our towns need “blood” to thrive. In this case, however, what keeps our communities ticking isn’t red, but green in the form of cash flow through local business. This means that when dollars are not spent locally, but actually leaving the community to the big box off of the highway or online, it isn’t just small business that feels the sting, but the entire town.
Giving those businesses the tools to keep those dollars is crucial to the healthy circulation of where you call home. Local “brick and mortar” businesses, producers and growers need your support and purchasing power to compete head-to-head with outside big box and online competition.
Contributing to the “Triple Bottom Line”
Keeping and circulating dollars in the community through a buy local initiative is a great way to build community sustainability (one study from the New Economics Foundation estimated that buying local is twice as efficient to your economy than buying from outside) and naturally promotes a better environment, but there is still a third piece to the puzzle…
While the first two components offer primarily with the positive economic and environmental effects of buying local, the final angle of the triangle – commonly known as the “triple bottom line” – relates to the social impact of community sustainability. In a nutshell, what is being done to build and improve the welfare across the community, from employees and local producers to schools and causes?
Finding a buy local program that effectively “closes the loop” with services that not only provide residents and consumers with small business identification as well as incentives (like local offers), that directly donate to area schools and causes has been a proven, effective way to impact positive change.
A Group Effort
Supporting the businesses that are the backbone – and directly add to the complexion – of your town, means everyone needs to get involved. Just how imperative it is that we all work together – from the farmers in the field and the local co-op that sells their yield to the local business that supports school fundraising – so the entire community benefits from a strong economy.
This op-ed is brought to you by © Go Buy Local®, an organization dedicated to buy local initiatives that empower community sustainability. To learn more about how you can contribute to sustainability in your community, please visit the Go Buy Local Blog. Or, if you are looking for a great way to become a buy local champion where you call home, contact Go Buy Local about becoming a Community Leader.