Shopping | Sustaining local economies | SierraSun.com

Shopping | Sustaining local economies

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun File PhotoElizabeth Giorgaras decorates a Christmas tree at The Pharmacy in Truckee's Commercial Row last year. 'Shop local' are the economic buzzwords this holiday season.

The Local First movement, gaining popularity in communities across North America, may be the guardian angel of independent retailers this holiday season.

Last year, when the U.S. economy was just beginning to wobble, independent retailers in cities with active Local First campaigns reported larger increases in holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns. In all 50 states, many local store owners held their own and even saw sales gains, with a reported average gain in sales in 2007 of about 2 percent, businesses in cities without Local First campaigns saw an increase of less than 0.5 percent.

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, or BALLE, with local business networks in 65 communities in the U.S. and Canada, including Sierra Nevada Local First and its network in Truckee and North Tahoe, trains and supports its networks. It also advances a new approach to sustainable community economic development based on local ownership of community assets such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, green building, zero-waste manufacturing, community capital, and independent retail, building what it calls “living economies.”

“Local, independent businesses and banks of Main Street are the economic drivers that carried our communities for generations,” says Doug Hammond, executive director of BALLE. “They create the real wealth that sustains the places we call home.”

The Tahoe City Downtown Association has launched a program to promote local businesses and people during this holiday season. They are sponsoring a Shop Local Week and have partnered with North Tahoe Business Association for a Shop Local Contest. Learn more by visiting http://www.sbcouncil.org/ThinkLocalFirst.

Truckee/North Tahoe Local First 2nd Annual Kick-Off

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Wed., Dec. 3, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee Campus. Featuring a sustainability film series. Tom Linzey’s “Turning Defense to Offense: Challenging Corporations And Creating Self-Governance” and Michael Pollan’s “Beyond The Bar Code: The Local Food Revolution.” Panel discussion features Kristopher Hansen, Philosophy Instructor for Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee Campus, Steve Frisch, President of Sierra Business Council, and Jenny Bossin from Slow Food Lake Tahoe. Reception and light food and beverage to follow presentations. 11001 College Trail, Truckee.

Local First Brunch at Sawtooth Ridge Cafe, Tahoe City

Sunday, Dec. 7, brunch served between 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy bountiful choices from Sierra Nevada farms! Join Truckee North Tahoe Local First at Sawtooth Ridge Cafe for a fantastic brunch featuring specials sourced from local farms and ranches within a 100-mile radius of the area.