Local First Arizona Steers Policy for National “Buy Local” Movement

2013 Conference Infographic - EstellaLocal First Arizona staff and board members will attend the 2013 Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE) Conference to be held June 12 - 14 in Buffalo, New York. The Local First Arizona delegation will include six Phoenix staff members, one Tucson staff member, one board member, and two Committee Members for Fuerza Local, Local First Arizona’s outreach program to Spanish-preferred business owners. BALLE is a nonprofit organization that works to create real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions that work, and driving investment toward local economies. Every year they host a national conference to bring together individuals and organizations involved in the “buy local” movement to network with leading visionaries, learn best practices for operating a Local First organization, and discuss the latest developments in public policy and economic development. Local First Arizona Founder and Director Kimber Lanning serves on the BALLE Board of Directors.

Lanning will present at two of the 2013 BALLE Conference workshops. The first session, titled “Local First Grows Up: Localizing Procurement by Governments and Anchor Institutions,” will look at what it takes to encourage state and local governments to adopt a “Local First” policy with their procurement and purchasing habits. Last year, Local First Arizona was successful in guiding the City of Phoenix to adopt their new purchasing policy, requiring that contracts for goods and services costing less than $50,000 must first be offered to a company based in Maricopa County or Arizona before offering the work to an out-of-state company. LFA has also worked with the City of Phoenix to develop a database of local businesses to serve as a resource for Phoenix and other local governments.

balle conferenceThe second workshop Lanning will speak at, titled “Towards a Localist Policy Agenda,” will look at developing a unified and shared framework for individual groups to pursue policy changes at the local, state, and federal levels. The goal of this session is to explore a shared “Localist” policy agenda that individual advocacy groups can adopt and support.

Representatives for Fuerza Local will also present at the 2013 BALLE Conference. Carlos Velasco, Director of Fuerza Local, will join Francisco Cervera, Committee Member of Fuerza Local, on a panel titled “Local First 2.0.” This discussion will focus on what some Buy Local coalitions have done to move beyond the original framework of promoting the “buy local” message. Local First Arizona is the first organization in the country to successfully launch an outreach campaign to the Spanish-speaking business community, and has already built a strong membership base and continues to grow its influence. Velasco and Cervera will discuss how they have built Fuerza Local and how other chapters around the country can bring this type of campaign to their hometown. Additionally, Cervera will present at the session titled “Let There Be Capital: Creative Avenues for Funding Business.” Cervera is the CEO and Co-Founder of eMoneyPool, an innovative company that uses the power of cooperation to help individuals, organizations, and businesses borrow and save money by paying in to an online money pool that is self-organized.

“Local First Arizona has been very active in steering national policy for the Buy Local movement,” said Kimber Lanning. “As North America’s largest coalition of independent businesses and as the first organization to launch a campaign like Fuerza Local, Local First Arizona serves as a role model for many other local business coalitions across the nation.”