Despite losing a contest to win a free book written by Amy Cortese: Locavesting: the Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It (Wiley & Sons, June 2011), I have been following her blog and website to keep up with her advocacy.
Locavesting is a term coined by Amy that enhances the Buy Local movement by encouraging people to invest in businesses within 50 miles of their home. To sum it up in Amy’s words:
The idea is to earn profits while supporting your local community. Locavesting is about investing in Main Street, rather than the casino known as Wall Street, and creating a more inclusive and just form of capitalism.
I ran into an interview she had with Fast Company’s Danielle Sacks. In this interview, Amy is asked:
In your reporting, did you find evidence that communities that invested locally were more resilient during the recession?
Here’s the answer she provided that inspired me to post this blog entry:
Yes, absolutely. One of the best examples is Hardwick, Vt., where community investing has been unfolding for a decade. It started when the area’s new generation of farmers and entrepreneurs began getting together to help each other work through business issues. Many of them, such as Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds and Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens, were experiencing rapid growth and would run into cash flow problems, so they began lending money to each other to get through lean times. Around 2005, Stearns raised $1.1 million from a group of (accredited) local investors, all within 50 miles. Other community investments followed. Claire’s Restaurant, which showcases food grown or raised by the area’s farmers, sold prepaid “food coupons” to 50 residents for $1,000 apiece, which entitled them to $25 off a meal once a month for four years. It’s sort of modern day barn raising. All of this mutual support and reinforcement has attracted more entrepreneurs to Hardwick, like the Vermont Food Venture Center, a shared use facility for food producers and startups, which has relocated to Hardwick from Burlington to be part of the action. In the last three years, while most of the country was struggling with unemployment, Hardwick created 100 food and agriculture-related jobs, increasing local jobs by 25 percent.
Real world samples like these inspire me to continue my advocacy for the Buy Local movement.
I enjoyed some time hanging out with my nieces’ earlier today thanks thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was a bit disappointed tough, when they couldn’t answer my question:
why do you not have to go to school today?
It’s quite amazing how President Obama took his oath on Dr. MLK’s Bible and, as he did during his first inauguration, President Abe Lincoln’s Bible. I read an article on Yahoo on President Obama’s inaugural on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and here’s my favorite part:
The commitments we make to each other–through Medicare, and Medicaid and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
The president also warned in the approximately 2,000 word speech that the country cannot succeed if a “shrinking few” succeed economically while the middle class suffers.
I didn’t realize how important medicare and social security is when my mom had to rely on it during her illness. Still, despite how much medicare covers for medical bills, as well as the amount of social security my mom receives, she barely has enough to pay all of her hospital and medical bills. We need to give more to our retired senior citizens and I’m glad President Obama included that in his speech.
“As consumers we are very weak,” so what else can we do to help change the world? We are going against a very powerful and well-structured institutions. We agree with Stacey Mitchell that we need to change the underlying structures and work collectively.
Stacey Mitchell believes that buying local is only the first step and that we need to transform the “buy local” trend to political action. As we mentioned around election time, voting is one way to make a difference. Now that elections are over, it does not mean that we have to stop here. Marc and I want to do more than buy or patronize local businesses. This is one reason why we are working on I LOB Resources but we realize that we can do more. What are your thoughts on this? What can you do to help build a better economy?
Happy New Years from Shift Local! We thank you for supporting us last year and joining our quest for a more vibrant local community. We promise that 2013 will be more fun and much, much better for our local community – especially here in the Bay Area.
Unfortunately 2012 brought an unexpected surprise when my mom’s face was bitten by what is still unknown today. It was a painful and life-changing four months from July to October. I couldn’t get myself to do anything and I’m sad to say Mari and I lost touch with the small business owners we met during the cash mobs.
This put a halt to the plans we had for Shift Local, such as featuring more independent locally-owned businesses and introducing their owners to the community they are investing in. We want to run contests and give away Shifterficates to promote the products/services from these businesses. Basically we hope to engage those who understand and support the Shift Local journey and provide an opportunity for more personal interactions between owners and consumers.
However we have been pushing hard the past two months to launch www.ilobresources.com
Mari, Jay (our 3rd teammate) and I have been developing this website to act as a portal for independent locally-owned businesses (ILOB) to not feel so “alone” while starting, running and growing their business. We also plan to provide all the resources they need to obtain needed capital, enhance their expertise, expand their knowledge and strengthen their weaknesses.
Many of these ILOB owners have difficulty networking with other ILOBs, keeping up with the trends and challenging themselves to keep learning so that they build a sustainable business.
If you know any independent small business owners that could use our help, please send them our way. Our business model is based on disrupting the current system of marketing, consulting, financing and social media management support – a lot of what we offer is FREE (seriously, check our site, no “selling” involved, our use of “free” is not a marketing gimmick).
Once again, Happy New Year!!
“Walmart now captures $1 of every $4 Americans spend on groceries. It’s on track to claim one-third of food sales within five years. [As a result,] Walmart has dramatically altered the food system — triggering massive consolidation, driving down prices to farmers, and leaving more families struggling to afford healthy food.”
Here is the infographic from ILSR: