6 Ways to Build Local & Sustainable Habits

If you’ve been following the Local First program for a while, you know we’re all about creating opportunities to support local and amplify our membership base. It’s these businesses that keep our money close to home, employ our neighbors, and hold themselves accountable to our community. And while we may sound like a broken record, we’ll keep saying it: They need your ongoing support.

We’ve learned that building a People First Economy takes more than a single action, one time. But it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as changing everything all at once. We encourage you to instead think about a single action as the beginning of forming a habit. A good habit.

New habits take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form (European Journal of Social Psychology), which is why we’re going to provide resources all year long. 

Need some inspiration? Here are six local and sustainable habits to include in your New Year’s Resolutions!

1. Move Your Money


Make an impact with your financial habits. When you choose a local financial institution, your dollars go even further. It’s your deposits made locally that support our community banks and credit unions in lending to neighbors and businesses, investing in our communities, and ultimately keep our money close to home. Access to capital supports the growth of resilient, placed-based economies. Ideally, these economies meet our basic needs, build wealth and social capital, work in harmony with our ecosystem, and encourage joy. Resolve to Move Your Money to a local financial institution this year and be part of the solutions supporting our local community. Read more. 

Move Your Money is generously supported by Lake Michigan Credit Union, Northern Initiatives, and Bloom Credit Union

2. Celebrate Independent Business 


Local is more than a gift during the holidays or a sweet treat out, it’s also the independent businesses we employ for services such as lawn care, financial, real estate, and photography. These businesses employ our family and friends, strengthen our economy, add character to our neighborhoods, and contribute to our pride in and sense of place. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the type of community we want to build and sustain. Resolve to celebrate our diverse business community by thinking local when it comes to the products and services you routinely use. Read more.

Independents Week is generously supported by Downtown Holland, Verhey Carpets, and Frames Unlimited.

3. Nourish our Community 


Food is communal. For food to make it to our plates, it flows from the farmer’s hands to processing centers, where that food is collected. These items then move to regional distribution centers, where it’s then sent to local retailers for hungry consumers to purchase. Ideally, waste is then restored to the land through nutrient managers (such as composting services). We need each other to support the development of a nourished community! Resolve to support the local food economy by making intentional food purchases from farmers, grocers, restaurants, and more this year! Read more.

Nourish Our Community is generously supported by the Michigan Good Food Fund and Taste the Local Difference

4. Gift Local. Gift Good.


As we build back better from the ongoing pandemic, businesses are depending on us for ongoing support before, during, and after the holiday season. Make it easy and make it count by taking advantage of our community resources. By searching the Local First Online Directory and B Corp Directory you can find unique gifts made locally and sustainably. Our business community is here for you, providing solutions while still recovering from supply chain issues and staffing challenges. Resolve to gift local and gift good throughout 2022, it matters! Read more.

Gift Local. Gift Good. It Matters. is generously supported by Bridge Street Market.

5. Listen to the People First Economy Podcast 


Did you know we host a podcast? The People First Economy Podcast is here to bring you insight into how we, our businesses, and our partners are all working towards building and participating in a People First Economy. Tune in to hear from the people behind some of your favorite businesses as they share stories, ideas, and the tools they’re using to develop products and services to build a better business future. Listen now. 

6. Encourage Sustainable Business Practices


Nearly 150 businesses across the state have made a commitment to measuring their impact through our sister program, Good For Michigan. Why are businesses taking this step? Companies that track their social, environmental, and economic impact are 63% more likely to survive a recession (An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations). They also have greater revenue growth and higher employee satisfaction.

These companies are modeling sustainability as a journey to improve their jobs, our planet, how they show up in a community, and how they keep themselves accountable. Resolve to support businesses making strides and building a better business future. Learn more. 

Local & Sustainable Business Search Made Easy 

Unsure where to start? Use the Local First Directory and B Corp Directory to vote with your dollars and support values-aligned businesses. Making as little as a 10% shift in your spending to local and sustainable businesses can have a tremendous impact on the place we call home! 

Circular Economy Image

Think Local First! // Piensa Local First!

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Thank you for resolving to shift your habits in 2022! Happy New Year from all of us at People First Economy! 

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