Awareness. Action. Advocacy.

Localism connects and empowers locally owned merchants, organizations and schools. Learn about our mission, initiatives, platform and insights. Or contact us if you want to say hello!

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Why Localism?

It’s a fair question to ask.

Does it really make a difference to spend our money with locally owned merchants, to support local farms, to dine at independent eateries… to avoid the major chains? Or is it just an ideal hipsters and hippies hang on to? They say we’ve never been more connected, more globally minded than now. But have we lost the connection with our neighbors and our community?

With the click of a button we can have nearly anything shipped from anywhere, without having to speak to anyone. Big corporations are applauded for their ability to distribute products at prices that seem to make them more accessible for everyone. It also feels like progress when a major chain opens up a nearby location, touting new jobs. But something unsettling happens when a “retail giant” moves into town: ¼ of the surrounding local businesses go out of business. Further, when you factor in the overseas manufacturing required to offer low prices, retail giants actually destroy three local jobs for every two they create. This results in a domino effect; skilled jobs disappear from the local economy, and the most vulnerable among us become dependent on the low cost-giants.

From small towns to major cities, a local shift is happening.

But a quiet drum beat is getting louder. A local shift is happening in small towns and major cities.

Communities who have chosen to support local merchants have begun to see this domino effect reverse. Multiple studies show that over twice the money stays in the local economy when we eat at independent restaurants rather than chains. These local restaurants prefer fresh organic food from regional farms and farmers markets, which is driving up demand. After a 70 year decline, small farms are making a comeback as the local food movement opens up opportunities for agri-preneurs. Farmers markets are becoming more popular as well, partly for their social appeal. In fact, customers are seven times more likely to have a conversation with another customer at a farmers market than at a major supermarket.

Independent retailers keep even more in the local economy, causing three to four times more money to recirculate locally. As these businesses grow they create skilled jobs rather than just clerk roles, and hire professional services from the surrounding community such as accountants and web designers. The domino effect continues to reverse as these local business owners and employees re-invest in the community by supporting local arts, charities and schools. Instead of watching our community move toward dependence on big corporations, we can encourage our neighbors to make a shift toward local self-reliance. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to advocacy.

We’ve launched a campaign to get this good information out there, and programs that directly benefit the local community. Become a Localism advocate for your town. Your community is your opportunity.

This is Localism!

DW Ferrell
Executive Director


Learn about our initiatives and platform, or visit our blog.

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More than three times the money recirculates locally through indie retailers.

Initiatives

Local Merchants

We are actively building a network of locally owned merchants in select towns, and offer a program that encourages residents to buy local. We've invested in the development of tools and technology that can give independent businesses an edge over major chains.

Local Schools

We provide a social platform for school districts that unites students, parents and faculty around the events and conversations that make school life memorable. We also build fundraising tools that connect the school community to the greater community.

Local Food

We highlight the economic, health and community benefits of the local food movement. This includes independent farms, edible gardens, farmers markets, grocers co-ops, producers of unique foods and beverages, and the restaurants that serve them.

Localism Campaign

The Localism campaign informs and inspires people to choose local merchants over chains, support local charities and schools, and equip advocates. Advocates like you help spread awareness of the benefits of Localism by bringing the campaign to your town.


Learn how we are putting these initiatives into action with our platform.

Platform

Localism provides a platform for the local marketplace, with apps and services for each Localism initiative. Each project starts with the question “what if?” and ends with “let’s do this!”

 

“Wouldn’t it be great if there was a mobile gift card that could be used at independent merchants?”
 

Local Merchants

Gift cards have been the most requested gift in the U.S. for seven years in a row. Why should should major chains be the only beneficiaries of this trend? Introducing The Local Gift Card, a gift you activate and send from your smartphone. It can be used at select local shops, eateries, venues and services, with more merchants being added daily. The Local Gift Card is currently available by invitation only. It is part of the CLIQUE® network, the Cooperative for Local Independent Quality Urban Establishments.

 

“How can students, teachers and parents build a stronger community in high schools? How can they feel more connected?”
 

Local Schools

Student engagement declines with each year of school. To increase engagement the Tools for Schools project connects students, teachers and parents. It works by integrating the technologies that teenagers readily embrace: social media, text messaging and smartphone apps. Students can share tweets and Instagram photos on a campus social feed, while parents, faculty and the community stay up to date on school activities, academics, athletics and the arts. It also provides realtime access to grades and event schedules. The system employs patent-pending privacy technology to safeguard students.

 

“What’s the ‘local food movement’ about? Where can I find reliable information?”
 

Local Food

In its initial stages, the Farm Fresh campaign serves to spread awareness of the economic and health benefits related to locally grown, organic food. We are also working with other groups to help increase exposure for regional food systems, grocers co-ops, farmers markets, healthy alternative products, and eateries that serve organic, locally sourced food. Watch the Farm Fresh campaign video below, and pass it along!

If you are interested in participating, please contact us.  We are also hiring to support projects that are in production.