I signed on for the Ten Percent Shift this week, vowing to channel that portion of my household spending toward local business.
It shouldn’t be too tough as I already try to buy as much of our food as possible from local producers or stores.
There’s a satisfying feeling knowing this year’s Thanksgiving turkey will come from a yard within walking distance of my house, the steak on the grill recently roamed the hills of our region and the colourful chard steaming on the stove was picked that day by the farmer selling it at the Wednesday market downtown.
I like meeting those who helped bring my critter/kale to maturity as well as placing my money in their hands to churn back into their proverbial family soil.
Sponsored by CUPE B.C., the online campaign (www.tenpercentshift.ca) points out that spending $100 at a business not locally owned translates into $57 leaving one’s community “to corporate offices around the world.”
Had the $100 been spent locally, the site says $68 would stay here, giving us all more bang for our buck.
The key goal of the campaign is a return to stronger local economies, according to union spokesman Clay Suddaby.
He says around 1,000 people have taken the ten percent pledge, which doesn’t compel Shifters to any hard commitments, but does offer a checklist of ideas to consider while shopping as well as the option of filling in a detailed breakdown of your personal spending (shelter, food and drinks, transportation, retail, health, vacations and finance) so as to calculate how much you’d need to dedicate for ten percent locally.
There’s also a spot to promote locally owned businesses under Local-First Finds, which for Kamloops is so far limited to Fresh is Best Salsa Company and Westside Apiaries, but I hope to learn of more that I can opt to support.
Another important part of the campaign is a request for local businesses (in retail, food or drink) to fill in a survey that will help calculate the percentage of locally-owned stores versus chains in various communities.
Civic Economics has been hired to analyze the results and Suddaby says the more surveys received, the better the ability “to drill down and do a focused analysis of the potential shift” of local spending benefits.
A 2008 analysis by the American firm of the pharmacy, grocery, restaurant and bank sectors in Grand Rapids, Mich., found a ten percent shift toward local spending would inject $137 million into the economy, create 1,614 jobs and add $53 million in local wages.
CUPE B.C. hopes to unveil the B.C. survey results early next year at a local economies summit in Vancouver where politicians, municipal staff, activists and advocates can gather and tap into ways of “taking charge of their own economies.”
There are just shy of 1,700 CUPE members in Kamloops, so many may already be spreading the news about this initiative, but it’s definitely a case of the more the merrier.
I’m not one for jumping on any old crusade, but this seems a great opportunity to capitalize on a free data analysis of our community’s local economic potential as well as a chance to raise awareness about local spending.
The numbers will only be meaningful if we get meaningful participation. Are you willing to make the ten percent shift?