Its time for the rule-sy post
The days are truly flying by. It has been 6 days since my official experiment has started, one year buying only from locally owned businesses. To this point it has been a breeze, I have bought almost nothing (its easy when the pocketbook is limited!), so far a couple of grocery items from my place of work NOWBC – an online farmers market that is cooperatively owned! I have also ventured down to the East End Food Coop, another cooperatively owned business, really great stuff!
But I feel like I need to further define this venture, as it won’t be much fun if I don’t have at least some set of rules to follow. I have also chosen to rule-ify the blog, so I make sure to keep on top of it, and hopefully make it somewhat enjoyable to read.
I will try to come back and update these rules as they need updating, but for now, here are the basic rules:
1. 80% of all purchases to be made in my community – Burnaby, BC. It is so important to me to support our local businesses, and especially the business owners in my own community. I would imagine a great majority of Burnaby business owners are also Burnaby residents who really deeply care for the city they live in. If I am going to sacrifice my dollars, they should be going to these people.
2. Remaining 20% of purchases will be bought from local businesses owned in the city I am visiting. This sounds convoluted, but i feel the idea is sound. We have seen a shopping revolution – online shopping now account for a huge percentage of our purchases. I still think it is great to support the small businesses online (and I am starting to accumulate a bunch of great ones which I will share), but my thought is that if I spend my money outside of my community, or one I am visiting, it is gone forever. The chance of my dollar spent in California ever returning to Burnaby are slim to none. Maybe the rule should state ‘no online shopping.’ My hope is that I can get Burnaby businesses to support some of the great online retailers, bringing their product into their store! More to come on that.
3. I will do all that I can to develop a local currency in Burnaby. Local currencies have seen success across North America. These are non-interest bearing moneys meant to be spent at local businesses, but also with our local residents, each with their own unique set of skills, which leads to Rule 4.
4. I will learn new skills by hiring ‘local experts’ – I have always lived by the words ‘learn how to do something useful, or at least know someone who can’. To this point in my life I have lived on the ‘know someone who can’ side of the equation. This year I hope to change that. I am also very keen to start a skill sharing group (closely tied to the Local Currency)
5. Blog Rule #1 – I will blog on an important topic relevant to the local economy each and every Friday. These will be issues that I think are important, and hopefully issues that will come to light as I participate in the experiment. I would also love to hear your issues, concerns and questions. I am no expert, but I do hope to learn much about developing strong local economies as I delve further into the issues.
6. Blog Rule #2 – I will do my best to feature great local businesses. I will try to feature a new local biz every two weeks (and hopefully more often as we move forward). This is going to be the toughest / most rewarding part of the experiment, toughest because I have always found it hard to build relationships (I’m a pretty shy guy), but rewarding because I am sure these stories will be uplifting and inspiring!
Let’s leave it at that for now. I need to work on writing in a more concise manner, and I apologize for these first posts, my hope is I will grow as a writer, and Dec. 2012 look back on these posts with a sigh.