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Local Businesses that meet local needs

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Source: Local Futures

There is a desperate need today for livelihoods that provide a sense of purpose and positive contribution, and that build up and sustain local economies and environments. One way to achieve this is through local businesses oriented around providing for the genuine basic needs of the local community. Doing this successfully is a big challenge when so much of economic policy is skewed towards the big and the global, but with devoted community support it is possible.

Take action

  • Transition from a ‘deadlihood’ to an ‘alivelihood’ with the help of the article 52 Alivehoods by Manish Jain of Shikshantar and Swaraj University, which includes a list of eco-careers for resilient local economies.
  • The book Raising Dough, by Elizabeth Ü, is a guide to financing socially-responsible food businesses.
  • The Community-Supported Industry initiative of the Schumacher Center for New Economics provides a number of resources to “co-imagine, co-develop, co-finance, and patronize “import-replacement” businesses” to create environmentally-responsible products for local markets.
  • Explore the range of skills that will take center stage in a degrowth economy with Upskilling for a Post-Growth Future Together by Donnie Maclurcan of the Post-Growth Institute.
  • Assess how the skills you already have (or want to acquire) can create value for your community, and consider growing these skills into a livelihood or business.
  • Teaching others what you know is a way to pass on these skills and keep them alive in your community.

Get inspired

  • Kerry McCurdy in New Zealand turned a passion for bee-keeping into a thriving business, first as Backyard Honeybees and now as Beezthingz. Among other services, Beezthingz links independent beekeepers with farmers in need of pollinators.
  • Chris Holmgren in the US expanded his woodworking business, Seneca Creek Joinery, into a community-scale production facility that handles all aspects of wood processing, from dead tree removal to finished furniture. He works with the city government and local tree removal companies to ensure that no local wood goes to waste.
  • In Two Fold: A Community-Supported Bakery, Kirsten Bradley describes the extension of this successful model from agriculture to small business – in this case a local bakery – where community members subscribe for weekly local bread by paying in advance.
  • In this article on the Vikalp Sangam website, Sayantani Nath writes about two friends who started the first zero-waste shop in Goa, India to both tackle the plastic waste crisis, and strengthen the local food economy.

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