Read through this list brought to you by members and supporters of Local First Alliance, a program of Vital Communities, to learn about how anyone and everyone can get more involved in their local economy.
1. Move your banking to a community bank or credit union, and invest your money in tangible assets like land, or with organizations like the Cooperative Fund of New England that invest in community control.
2. Rent out a room in your home, or swap space for gardening, child or elder care, or carpentry.
3. Use a locally owned provider (if available) for home utilities. Choose locally owned contractors, hardware and houseware stores, and lumber yards when making home improvements.
4. Minimize what can't be localized (especially energy and waste) by weatherizing your home and channeling reusable items through re-use centers like COVER's ReCover Store.
5. Choose locally owned grocery stores and food co-ops. Join a CSA and visit your local farmstand or farmer’s market regularly. Make a point of shopping at your town's general store at least once a week!
6. Get fashionable by buying clothing at places like Revolution in White River Junction that support local independent designers, re-created clothes, and inspired local ownership!
7. Browse online, but buy your books from our independently owned, tax-paying booksellers (new or used). If you're in college, talk to your college professor about buying textbooks through a local bookstore.
8. Don’t vacation - staycation! Take time off and be a tourist in your own hometown. Go on a Valley Quest. Encourage visiting friends and relatives to choose locally owned hotels, inns, and B&Bs.
9. Credit card interest saps millions from local wallets and local communities every year. Pay off debts. Try life without credit cards or refinance through a local bank. Get involved with a time bank or barter system.
10. Prioritize gifts of time and money to community nonprofits and charities. Locally owned businesses donate two to four times as much as their non-local competitors to local nonprofits and charities. We can too!
11. Don't assume that local will cost more – compare prices and see. Buy from businesses that take responsibility by passing on the "good" costs of living wages, lower carbon footprints, or planet-friendly production practices.
12. Turn off the TV and talk to friends and neighbors. Make “neighbor” into a verb again. Organize with your neighbors to start a time bank, church supper, or pool funds for neighborhood or community improvements.
13. Play local! Rediscover local sporting events, playgrounds, pools, parks, games, films, plays, puppet shows, dancing, libraries and music being offered around town. Start a reading group on the new economy.
14. Whenever possible, find ways to repair, reuse, or refurbish what you own locally. Celebrate the artists and innovators making creative, practical, revenue-generating use of what you throw out.
15. Get involved with Local First Alliance and share your own ideas for thinking local first! Join the community conversation at www.facebook.com/uvthinklocalfirst
If there are things you didn't see on this list that you think should be included or have any fun ideas and stories to share about your local experiences around the Upper Valley please comment on this post or get in touch with us at LocalFirst@VitalCommunities.org. We would love to hear from you!
Local First Alliance is a program of Vital Communities, a
nonprofit organization based in the Upper Valley that brings together citizens,
organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice
and regional approach are essential. Go to VitalCommunities.org to learn more
about how we strive to make our region a better place to live, work, and play