Are you a locavore?

I’m glad the Dayton Independent Restaurants are working together (finally) to market themselves- it’s a great start. But, it’s more than just restaurants we should be considering- it’s everything from produce to pet food- buying local keeps money in our market.

Advertising Age – Farmstands Vs. Big Brands
In San Francisco, Jennifer Maiser, who with three friends coined the term “locavore,” runs a blog at eatlocalchallenge.com, where consumers sign up for annual month-long challenges. In August 2005 it drew just 500 participants, but that number grew to 800 in May 2006. Ms. Maiser expects 2,000 for September’s challenge.
This cooperative spirit is vastly different from the cage-rattling style of a group like, say, WakeUpWalMart.com, according to Ms. Bartz. “We’re kind of giving up on changing big business and instead are focused on taking the business away from it.”

Proving its worth
The movement points to several studies to try to prove it can make a big impact on a local economy. A favorite stat: Every $100 spent at a local firm leaves $68 in the Chicago economy, compared with just $43 when $100 is spent at a chain store, according to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, published in October 2004. The study also found that for every square foot occupied by a local store, the economic impact topped $170, compared with $105 for a chain store.

So is there any defense for big brands against a mainstream shift toward “local”? Yes and no, according to Michael Shuman, author of “The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition.”

“Going local is becoming a very important advertising hook,” he said, noting that many nonlocal marketers are trying to take advantage of the appeal the concept has with consumers. For instance, HSBC uses the tagline “The World’s Local Bank.” Mr. Shuman said the buy-local trend is vastly different from the “Made in America” efforts of the past. “That is more of a protectionist mantra and doesn’t achieve the goals of localization,” he said.

The article has examples of local grocers featuring local farmers- and this is in Columbus OH- not San Francisco.

While we’re still busy letting developers turn our farmland into McMansionville- we’re heading for a long term problem when our larger infrastructure can’t be supported by our population- and when the cost of shipping food becomes hyper expensive due to our reliance on gasoline.

We are overdue to draw that no-more-growth circle for services- like Portland OR did years ago- but, our politicians are all bought and paid for by developers and sprawl proponents- hopefully, you can all do your part by making an effort to support local businesses with your heart and wallet.

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