We apologize for the lack of posts but Marc’s mom has been very sick for the past month but she is now finally getting better so thank you to our friends who kept her in their prayers. We’re slowly getting back into the groove of things and we thank our readers for your patience.
I just read an article by Stacy Mitchell of ilsr.org where she explains that local ownership makes “communities healthier, wealthier and wiser.” Mitchell cites several studies that shows how supporting local businesses benefits the community:
Shift local, get healthy: A recent study by Troy Blanchard, Charles Tolbert, and Carson Mencken, published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society showed that “counties with a vibrant small-business sector have lower rates of mortality and a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes.”
Shift local, get civic action and participation: Another study by Blanchard and Todd Matthews, found that “residents of communities with highly concentrated economies tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments.”
Shift local, see decline in poverty, infant mortality and crime rates: Research has “linked the regional market share of large retail chains with higher rates of poverty, infant mortality, and crime.”
Mitchell explains that local businesses help communities thrive because business owners’ “personal and financial interests are tied to the community’s well-being and, as a result, they are often active in various civic endeavors.” This is one reason why Marc and I target owner-managed and independent businesses because we know that they are more likely to give back to the community.
Mitchell also points out that “strong entrepreneurial culture and local control of economic resources have more capacity to solve problems on their own and are more resilient and adaptable in times of distress.” In other words, let’s not allow the big box chain executives dictate the way our communities run.
Lastly, Mitchell believes that “local businesses nurture social capital is by creating environments that foster social ties. People shopping at farmers’ markets and traditional Main Street business districts are more likely to run into neighbors and engage in a greater number of conversations than those navigating the aisles of a big-box store.”
Of course shifting local alone won’t solve all of our community’s problems and these studies only show a correlation between buying local and the positive effects discussed above. Shifting local is just one small way we can support our community and we should not stop there in order to create a greater East Bay. So let’s all shift local, and nourish our community.