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For every $1 you spend at a locally owned business, more than 68¢, versus 43¢ spent at a national chain, remains in Milwaukee. Locally owned businesses maintain Milwaukee''s unmistakable style. When you''re in Milwaukee, you know it!

Living Local

Money is power. Living Local helps ensure that economic power stays here to the greatest extent possible, sustaining vibrant, livable communities and healthy ecosystems in the process.

Local First Milwaukee is a member network of BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE represents 80 communities in 30 US states and Canadian provinces. BALLE brings together independent business leaders, economic development professionals, government officials, social innovators and community leaders to build local living economies.

The Guiding Principles of Living Local

  • Think Local First: When we buy locally produced food, products and services, put our capital to work through local investments and support local arts and independent media, we improve the health of the environment, strengthen community and contribute to a functional democracy.

  • Increase Self Reliance: When we build the entrepreneurial capacity to produce basic needs like food, water and energy as close to home as possible, we increase personal, community and regional security.

  • Share Prosperity: A fair and equitable distribution of resources is critical to the quality of life we seek. This occurs when people have meaningful, living wage jobs, opportunities for broad-based business ownership, fair trade practices and living returns from capital.

  • Build Community: Local economic exchange connects producers with consumers, investors with entrepreneurs and lenders with borrowers, all of which builds community. Community life creates a sense of place and belonging that promotes security and happiness. Collaboration, cooperation and fair trade between communities create a human-scale architecture for a sustainable global society.

  • Work with Nature: Integrating our activities with natural systems creates real and lasting prosperity. Each decision we make affects the vitality of our ecosystem the health of all species and the availability of the resources which support life.

  • Celebrate Diversity: We should celebrate and nurture the natural diversity of the human family, ecosystems and economies. Diversity increases resilience, propels innovation, cultivates peace and fosters beauty and joy.

  • Measure what Matters: We ought to measure success by the things that really matter to us – knowledge, creativity, relationships, health, consciousness and happiness – rather than continuous material growth. So we employ business metrics that support this philosophy, such as living wages, living returns and the triple bottom line.


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