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The 10% Shift: Rethinking “Local”

Jul 18 4:29 pm

The concept of “local” is not so unfamiliar, especially in the realm of food. In recent years, famers’ markets have gained tremendous popularity (although by no means do the majority of Americans shop there) and the local food movement has been covered by all sorts of media. Michael Pollan’s 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma discussed the merits of eating food that has been grown and prepared locally. His book generated a huge amount of support and controversy. Now considered a pivotal piece of literature on the food industry, it was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by The New York Times.

Yet only more recently are Americans starting to discover the multiple meanings and applications of the concept of “local.” In March 2008, Somerville Local First was founded to promote “local” in the gastronomic sense, but also in the economic sense – to spread the message that patronizing local businesses is not only good for them, but helps keep economic activity within the community. The New England Local Business Forum (NELBF) was formed in the fall of 2008 and quickly adopted the 10% Shift as a key campaign. It had become clear that the idea of shifting a higher percentage of one’s spending to Local Independent businesses (privately held and locally operated) would actually translate into new jobs, new economic activity, and stronger local communities. Studies have proved it and experts have agreed with it time and time again.

The 10% Shift campaign is unique because it is sustainable and all-inclusive; it is not a temporary strategy that will boost the economy in the short-term and then leave it to flawed practices and institutions a few months or years later. It is also a solution to an economic problem that carries no political agenda or causes partisan division. It is a lifestyle change that can be practiced, and practiced easily, by virtually everyone at least in some degree.

10% Shift is not seeking to just make a difference for one segment of the country, one ethnicity, or one region – it will help all Americans. Shift today.

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