Living La Vida Localvore

Many cities today are coming out with campaigns to encourage their residents to "buy local" – but what does this really mean?

A "localvore" is a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally. There are a lot of good reasons to eat locally grown and produced food: expending less resources packaging and transporting it, supporting the local economy, being healthier without processing and preservatives, being safer and being honest about the food source and the growing/producing process.

Buying local goes well beyond food. Today, more than 150 groups from Austin, Texas, to Portland, Maine promote the idea of "local first" or "buy local" campaigns, encouraging people to buy from independent, locally-owned businesses. Aside from feeling good about supporting local businesses, there are economic benefits too: An economic impact study found that 55.3% of revenue from locally-owned businesses goes back to the local economy versus 13.6% from national chains. Many of these businesses try to set themselves apart by being actively involved in the community.

If your city doesn’t already have a "buy local" campaign, here are six ways to start one in your community:

  1. Talk to groups,
  2. Advertise,
  3. Publicize,
  4. Recognize,
  5. Reward, and
  6. Entertain.

Build awareness, host networking events, reward people for their loyalty, and eventually, people will change their buying habits and be glad they did.

Buying local is a change in attitude, and it can change the community.

Written by Jeff Khau, an Analyst at RSG