Take the 10 Percent Shift Challenge to Boost Your Local Economy

fall salads photo

Photo: Sara Novak
Local economies could certainly use any sort of a boost that they can get right now and we all know the benefits of buying locally for the planet. In these times of economic hardship consider the benefits of buying locally on your community's own economy. The 10 percent shift is an initiative which pushes the individual not to do buy cheaply in bulk, funding the Walmarts of the world, but rather to fund local producers.The 10% Shift Campaign is part of a 'stimulus plan' for the Lowcountry of South Carolina but it's a challenge that can be followed across the nation. The alliance is hoping that area consumers will pledge that at least one out of 10 shopping excursions will take them to locally owned stores.

Just by commiting 10 percent of your shopping budget to local merchants, the effort could generate about $140 million in total new economic activity, $50 million in new wages and more than 1,000 new jobs, according to Lowcountry Local First and its national affiliate, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, or BALLE. That's a lot of dough in a smaller community like my own.

The China Widget Means Less Dough at Home
If you're already buying ten percent locally, consider upping the local quotient by another 10. "When you buy a widget made in China, it must travel to your community (which consumes energy), and most of the money you spend ($57 of every $100, according to a 2004 study) goes to manufacturers, suppliers and marketers who operate far away. When you buy a widget from a store in your community, more of your money ($68 of every $100) stays put, and it stimulates more local economic activity," according to a story in the Post and Courier.

More on Buying Locally:
Slow Food Founder Carlo Petrini On Local Eating
Living On The 100 Miles Diet
Dave Pollard's Environmentalist's Travel Guide