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The BIG Blog

Still Local First, After All These Years

By August 16, 2016February 12th, 2021No Comments

On a recentlocal road trip across the country my friend picked up a copy of a local magazine featuring local business stories to bring back for me. “It’s what you do,” he said.

With Local across the front of the cover, how could I resist? I skimmed through the magazine and discovered it was co-authored by Local First Arkansas. My heart got all fuzzy with localist love.

And just a week later, in my social media feed I spotted a throw back to an article from 2006 in the New York Times about the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) making the case for “Buy Local” and the Local First networks that grow healthy local economies in communities across the US.

A few months ago I marked 10 years of my career in the localist movement. I may not be running a Local First network anymore but I want to acknowledge those who do.

Imagine running a nonprofit while trying to help local businesses grow and succeed. Imagine raising money while trying to be a small business technical services one-stop shop. Imagine educating the public on the very unsexy economic multiplier effect from one dollar spent in your town. Imagine testifying at city council sessions against big box store developers. Imagine planning events that benefit the community and businesses, alike. Imagine wrangling volunteers and board members to get behind a new Hire Local campaign when a corporation comes to town. Imagine all the money that stays in  your community from all the local business promoted and supported by Local First campaigns.

That’s what Local First networks do. If you have one going strong in your community, tell them you love local and what they do.

Find one here at BALLE’s website, or here at the American Independent Business Alliance another national organization still going strong to support the independent businesses that are the backbone of our local economies.

Here’s to you, Local First Networks, and network leaders for still going strong after all these years!