Here is an update on what America’s local, living economy movement is doing. Do YOU discern a groundswell of interest here? To me there’s a strong resemblance to Leigh Baker’s approach with www.balance3.com.au. This BALLE newsletter says the movement has reached a tipping point and they are looking for financial support to continue the crusade. Good luck to them!
“The year 2007 has been monumental for the growth of local living economies. As the effects of climate change and rising fuel costs intensify, and major industries continue to export quality jobs, the need for building strong, self-reliant local living economies has become more urgent.
BALLE has almost tripled in size over the last two years, now with 54 local business networks across North America representing small towns, urban centers, rural areas, and entire states. These networks, with BALLE’s support, are bringing economic control and greater self-reliance to their communities, reducing dependency on long-distance supply chains, and making great strides toward a sustainable future!
BALLE’s network of more than 15,000 community-based businesses and non-profit leaders is working cooperatively to address the challenges of our times.
These local entrepreneurs are digging in and asking the tough questions:
- How can I better serve the needs of my community?
- How can I work with business and government leaders to provide more local jobs and build community self-reliance?
- How can I adopt more green business practices and reduce my carbon emissions?
BALLE is answering these questions, through our annual conference, regional trainings, online resources, regular conference calls, and much more. But we can’t do it alone.
Here are some recent highlights:
* Sustainable Connections, in Bellingham, WA, discovered that 3 in 5 households in the area have changed their purchasing habits as a direct result of the organization’s Think Local First program.
* San Francisco’s BALLE network found that a 10% shift in consumer purchasing behavior from national chain stores to locally owned businesses would, each year, create 1,300 new jobs and yield nearly $200 million in city income.
* BALLE is connecting effectively with more low-income communities and communities of color. Local First DC and the Latino Economic Develoment Corporation, for example, are bringing localized economic development to Ward 1 in Washington, DC and Wheaton, MD.
* The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia recently held its sixth annual Social Venture Institute, which provides training to a diverse group of local small business owners dedicated to the triple bottom line.
* Many BALLE networks, such as Southern Oregon’s THRIVE, put on Eat Local Week festivities, key to building local markets for local agriculture.
* Local First West Michigan’s third annual summer street fair to celebrate “Independents Day” drew 7,000 people this year.
* Cambridge Local First distributed all 20,000 copies of their directory of 250 local businesses in just 10 months.
* Charleston, South Carolina’s Lowcountry Local First is building community-supported agriculture relationships and playing a key role in the protection of the region’s local agriculture.
* BALLE board and staff are speaking internationally about this work, and the organization has recently been highlighted by the New York Times, American Public Media’s Marketplace, CNN Money, NPR, Orion, In Business, YES! Magazine, Utne, Inc. Magazine, and many local newspapers and radio and television stations.
BALLE is demonstrating that sustainable community economic development really works. By organizing on the local level, working in cooperation, and uplifting local, green, and fair businesses, BALLE is at the forefront of 21st century economic development.”