Making small changes to how we do our shopping can result in big changes for our city.  According to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Localism is not just about shopping more in the city where you live; it’s about building a more sustainable, relationship-valued economy. It’s about supporting locally owned businesses where you actually know the merchants you’re supporting, finding opportunities to buy locally made products rather than imports, and taking a moment to think about how the products you buy might be impacting the health of your family, your community and planet.

Just as we know that more dollars stay in Oakland when Oakland residents get hired on Oakland jobs, we know that when you spend your money at independent local businesses, more of those dollars stay here and benefit our town. According to BALLE, independent retailers re-spend more than 3 times as much money back into the community than chain stores. It’s also about recognizing there’s an economic value in relationships and even civic pride.

I’m a localist. I buy my e-books at The Laurel Bookstore — not Amazon. I wear Lesley Evers dresses and Oaklandish t-shirts, drink Cerruti Cellars wines and keep an Oakland Grown card in my wallet. It’s not just about capturing more sales tax for City of Oakland services (which is great); it’s also about generating prosperity for people I know and who love what I love – and that’s Oakland.

Last year, City Attorney Barbara Parker and I made it easier to become localist lenders when we sponsored the legislation making Oakland the first city-trustee on the KivaZip micro-lending platform. Since then, Oakland has recommended three innovative local businesses to receive crowd-sourced, interest-free loans from people like you. Pollinate Farm & Garden and LOAKal Art Gallery & Boutique already have their initial $5000 loans fully-funded. Owl n Wood boutique owner Rachel – who wants to start her own line of colored denim pants — is 64% there.

Lenders are people like YOU – lending amounts as small as $5 to help a local Oakland business grow. Consider becoming a KivaZip lender to an Oakland business today by visiting !

Please don’t think I’m suggesting you stop shopping at Target or buying on-line (two things I certainly do). I just ask you consider the value-proposition of localism. Oakland is rich with entrepreneurs and makers. Your community and your spirit can prosper when you do a little more spending in locally-owned businesses.


Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.
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2 Responses

  1. Michele

    Familiar city hall pol “hard” at work. As R2 noted pure Jean Quan style. Make a gesture in the direction of a serious Oakland problem (not enough jobs for minorities and especially those who’ve been cycled through the “justice” system). So Quan, or Schaaf in this case, can say she’s “working hard” on a problem.

    Working hard on jobs means: 1. Giving a number for the jobs needed by Oaklanders with no work or not enough work. 2. Developing multiple real programs (not tokens based on third-world microloan programs) to deliver those jobs in Oakland where they are needed. 3. Setting goals and reporting in a timely fashion how those goals are being met.

    Schaaf solving Oakland’s unemployment problems? Or public safety problems? No more chance than Quan.


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