Originally Published in The Somerville TImes, May 12, 2008

The Somerville Local First coalition officially set up shop last Thursday, hosting a launch party at Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club in Davis Square attended by dozens of enthusiastic business owners, residents and city officials.

Somerville Local First joins more than 60 ‘Local First’ campaigns formed around the United States and Canada and united under the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies network (BALLE), according to Steven Jones-D’agostino, Executive Director for the Sustainable Business Network of Boston (SBN).

Joe Grafton, a Somerville resident and Executive Director of Somerville Local First, began arranging the coalition in February 2007. More than a year later, Grafton, who left a lucrative corporate career to found SLF, stood on the Johnny D’s stage to kick off the SLF launch party.

“We are here tonight to make Somerville one of the capitals of the Local First movement,” Grafton told the crowd.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone stood to commend the gathered local business owners as “pillars of our economic foundation.” He also praised the DeLellis family, who have owned and operated Johnny D’s for nearly 40 years…READ MORE