Local First Ithaca Presents Community Capital Week June 5-10

Get ready for a week of innovative, interactive presentations on creating a vibrant, Local Living Economy!

We start the week off with the Alternatives Federal Credit Union's Annual Meeting, Tuesday June 5, at 5:30 pm at the Hangar Theatre. The guest speaker is author and economist Michael Shuman. In addition to Michael Shuman as keynote speaker, the meeting will also include the presentation of the Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business, Volunteer of the Year and Youth Member of the Year awards, celebration of the International Year of the Cooperative, tabling by local coops, yummy food and more! 

The following day, June 6th, Michael Shuman will be leading a full day workshop on Revitalizing the Regional Economy from the Inside Out Part 2- Community Capital: Investing Our Money in Our Local Economy. 

You won't want to miss Ithaca Hours 20th Anniversary Celebration, also on Wednesday, June 6 at the Space @ GreenStar, from 5:30-8:00. It's Free and open to the public! Celebrate 20 years of Ithaca Hours with a sneak peak of the new Ithaca Hours logo, a short presentation on the digital payment system, a community crowdfunding exchange to benefit Ithaca Hours and local not-for-profits (5:30), a potluck dinner (6:30), a meetup for the developing Hour Time Bank of (7:00) and what's being done to revitalize the local currency that's known around the world. Come for part or all of the evening. 

Thursday, June 7, The SEEN presents Co-ops: Power to the People, from 5:30-8:00 at La Tourelle, 1150 Danby Road. $5.00 for SEEN members and students and $10.00 for non-members. Ithaca Hours are also accepted. An informative panel presentation by leaders and members of several local cooperative businesses will share their experiences starting and running different models for cooperative ownership, membership, and community participation, and their impact on the local economy.

  Finishing off the week, Local First Ithaca will be livestreaming workshops from New Economics Institute (formerly the E.F Shumacher Institute) Strategies for a New Economy conference. Stay tuned for more info on the schedule of speakers and location.


The Guide To Being Local

        Premiers this Friday, February 10th!


Our long awaited Guide to Being Local will appear in area businesses this Friday and, let us say, It Was Well Worth the Wait!

128 pages of Local Stories, local initiatives, why local matters, Coupons for your favorite local businesses AND a pull out Eat Local Food Map! In keeping with our philosophy, the Guide was conceived, designed and printed locally. 

To celebrate our Guide, we are partnering with GreenStar in a community wide, 10 on the 10th, Local Lover celebration. This Friday, February 10th, look for events and specials all over the Ithaca area!

As if that wasn't enough to celebrate, we're having a scavenger hunt on the 10th! 10 Guides will be hidden around Ithaca. Follow the clues and win your own Guide to Being Local.

Watch the local papers, listen for clues on WVBR and WICB and fan us on Facebook for the latest on events and clues. Local Lover fun!





4th Annual

Local Lover Challenge!

It's time again for the Local Lover Challenge. The Challenge runs through the holiday season, culminating in our Grand Prize drawing the week after Christmas. 

Choose local and independent this season! Let’s build an annual tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding gift-buying experience.

Participating Businesses

15 Steps     3 D-Light     Alternatives Federal Credit Union       

AJ Foreign Auto    Alphabet Soup       

Angry Mom Records/Small World Music           

August Moon Spa     Autumn Leaves     Avanti       

Bellwether Hard Cider     Benjamin Peters     Bodyworks      

Buffalo St. Books      Cobbler’s Cottage        

Decorum Too      Diaspora       Evolution      

Felicia’s Atomic Lounge      

 Finger Lakes Reuse Center    Finger Lakes Running Co.     

Garden Gate Delivery      

Gnomon Copy       Good To Go! Trumansburg Market      

GreenStar Cooperative Market        

Handwork     Holiday Spirit Store       Home Green Home       

Homespun Boutique    House of Shalimar      Ithaca Bakery      

Ithaca Carshare     Ithaca Farmers’ Market     

Ithaca Grain & Pet Supply      

Ithacamade     Jillian’s Drawers      Life’s So Sweet       

Loose Threads       Mama Goose     Mighty Yoga      Mimi’s Attic      

Northstar House      Oasis Natural Grocery    Quilters Corner     

Rasa Spa       Red Feet Wine Market     Rogues Harbor Inn

Sea Change Chiropractic      Silk Oak      Sparrow's Fine Wines

Spirit and Kitsch      Sustainable Passion   The Bookery      

The Cat’s Pajamas      The Frame Shop on Buffalo St.

The Jewelbox       Toko Imports        TShirt Express


Shift Your Shopping!

Let’s build an annual tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding gift-buying experience.

If you join us in shifting those dollars to locally owned, independent businesses, we’ll all generate 2-3 times as much economic activity in our community than if we had spent our money at a national chain.

This holiday season, Local First Ithaca is joining with local living economy alliances around the country to promote the "Shift Your Shopping" campaign. For more info check out http://shiftyourshopping.org/2011/


Local First Ithaca


An Evening with Michael Shuman

"Revitalizing Our Regional Economy

from the Inside Out"

Tuesday, October 25th, 7pm.

at the Community School of Music and Art

330 E. State St/MLK



Local First Ithaca is pleased to present an evening with Michael Shuman.

As the federal government runs out of plausible stimulus solutions to the nation’s persistent unemployment crisis, a new set of options is beginning to emerge at the local level across America. The real solutions, argues economist and author Michael Shuman, already exist in our local communities.

Shuman is the author of three books: Going Local (1998), The Small-Mart Revolution (2006), and Local Dollars, Local Sense (2012). He shows that the key to creating jobs is to abandon ineffective traditional economic-development policies that emphasize the attraction and retention of nonlocal business and to support local businesses through sensible policies promoting local investing, purchasing, entrepreneurship, and partnerships. 

This event is made possbile through a grant from the Park Foundation and additional contributions from GreenStar Cooperative Market. It is free and open to the public.
 Be prepared for a lively and engaging evening!

Registration is free. To register or for more info visit:




Hello Etsy Ithaca Conference

                              A summit on Small Business & Sustainability


Local First Ithaca, BALLE and Etsy Collaborate 

Hello Etsy: A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability is a hands-on gathering for all small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies.

Date: Sunday, September 18, 10 to 6 pm

Location: Southside Community Center

Local First Ithaca is thrilled to be hosting a DIY Summit in Ithaca at Southside Community Center. We are in the midst of working within our community and planning out a great day for attendees. The day will consist of streaming keynote sessions from Hello Etsy locations around the world, as well as live, in person workshops.

 Workshops will include:

Branding on a Shoestring

Social Media Bootcamp

PR Strategies for Small Businesses

Intro to Product & Promotional Photography

Beyond Branding: Crafting your Narrative

Building a Starter Website

Plus, more to be announced. 

There will also be a Big Picture track on creating a Sustainable, Local Living Economy. These will include Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, Judy Wicks on Building Community through Local Living Economy and Tom Greenham of the New Economics Foundation on Business As If People Mattered.

As an added bonus, we will end the day with a Community Mixer! Sign up now and stay tuned for news of our full scedule of events.


Hello Etsy Ithaca is brought to you by Local First Ithaca, Downtown Ithaca Alliance, GreenStar Cooperative Market and Ithaca Localistas (our Ithaca Etsy Team).


Local Grain+Local Flour=Local Bread!

Wide Awake Bakery

Sells Breadshares

Wide Awake Bakery, in Mecklenburg, is taking a different route from oven to table. Instead of looking on your local store shelves, Wide Awake is selling their bread through "Breadshares". Like a CSA share, a breadshare gives you bread each week, either picked up with your CSA share or at a distribution spot in T-burg or Ithaca.

Their breads are primarily made with local, Farmer Ground Flour and baked in their wood fired oven. The ultimate local loaf! Make sure to check out their website for loads of information delivered with a hefty dose of enthusiasm and humor. http://wideawakebakery.com/

So far, Sweetland Farm and Westhaven Farm are two CSA's that are offering their breads, with more to come. This Tuesday saw the first distribution in T-burg at Good to Go Market. This Friday, April 8th, will be the first one in Ithaca at Ithacamade, located in the old Bishop's building next to Mama Goose. Stop by Ithacamade from 3-6 pm to taste some delicious samples and sign up for your share.

Then, while your in the neighborhood, stop on over at Felicia's for old time night. The ultimate springtime, local evening. We can't wait!


Local First Ithaca & Friends Present

the 1st Annual

 Take Off Your Clothes For Earth Day

Clothing Swap-O-Rama!

 Saturday, April 23, 10-6pm

At GreenStar’s The Space

 Clean out your Closets for Earth Day! Learn to upcycle old clothes into fabulous, new garments, quilts, toys, purses… Attend one of the cool Workshops- Learn how to silkscreen, use a sewing machine, make a headband, purse, Try your hand at Button Making and lots more!

Keep Clothing out of the waste stream, Learn a new Skill and Create Community. Stitch n’ Bitch, here we come!

Interested in volunteering, teaching a workshop, helping pull it all together, have lots of fun? Let us know by emailing us at localfirstithaca@gmail.com

Proceeds to Benefit Sew Green & GIAC’s Teen Program Poppin Collars


The movie "The Economics of Happiness" coming to Ithaca soon!

Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet, life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work.

 The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, an unholy alliance of governments and big business continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

 The film shows how globalization breeds cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness; how it structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl; how it is decimating democracy. We learn about the obscene waste that results from trade for the sake of trade: apples sent from the UK to South Africa to be washed and waxed, then shipped back to British supermarkets; tuna caught off the coast of America, flown to Japan to be processed, then flown back to the US. We hear about the suicides of Indian farmers; about the demise of land-based cultures in every corner of the world.

 The second half of The Economics of Happiness provides not only inspiration, but practical solutions. Arguing that economic localization is a strategic solution multiplier that can solve our most serious problems, the film spells out the policy changes needed to enable local businesses to survive and prosper. We are introduced to community initiatives that are moving the localization agenda forward, including urban gardens in Detroit, Michigan and the Transition Town movement in Totnes, UK. We see the benefits of an expanding local food movement that is restoring biological diversity, communities and local economies worldwide. And we are introduced to Via Campesina, the largest social movement in the world, with more than 400 million members.

 We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents, including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Samdhong Rinpoche, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Michael Shuman, Zac Goldsmith and Keibo Oiwa. They tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need tolocalize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness challenges us to restore our faith in humanity, challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.


Business Member Evening at Felicia's

This Wednesday, March 30th, Business Members of LFI are invited to join us at Felicia's Atomic Lounge, from 6-8pm for Local Drinks, snacks and discussion. This is your opportunity to hear what LFI is up to, give us feedback and get to schmooze with some of your local non-profit & business neighbors.

Wednesday is Locavore Night at Felicia's with Local Beers and Locavore Cocktails $1.00 off. Snacks will be provided.

Not yet a business Member of Local First Ithaca. Feel free to stop in and see what we're all about!

Nationwide Survey Shows IBAs / Local First Campaigns Are Providing Huge Boost to Indie Businesses

For the fourth year in a row, a nationwide (US) survey of independent businesses by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) has found those in communities with an active "buy local" campaign run by an Independent Business Alliance or Local First group experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to those located in areas without such an initiative.

Responses from 2,768 independent businesses, including retailers, service providers, restaurants and others found those in places with a Buy Independent / Buy Local (BIBL) initiative reported revenue growth of 5.6% on average in 2010, compared to 2.1% for those elsewhere.

Among independent retailers the benefit was even more dramatic: a 5.2% increase in holiday sales for those with BIBL campaigns serving their community, while retailers elsewhere reported an average gain of just 0.8%.

Business owners active in these community initiatives also reported a wide range of benefits, including greater customer loyalty and more awareness of the needs of independent businesses among city officials. Survey responses were generated largely by announcements from trade associations, AMIBA, BALLE, and ILSR. See thecomplete report for participating organizations, details, and many useful graphs (6 pp pdf).

Huge thanks to the New Rules Project at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for their invaluable research and the many organizations that helped make this possible! You can donate to ILSR here.

Now "Fixing the Future" on PBS

Episode: Fixing the Future

Host David Brancaccio tackles one of the toughest challenges facing Americans today: How does our country create jobs that pay well and build prosperity? Brancaccio travels across America uncovering innovative community and small business projects, many of them BALLE communities (Business alliance for Local Living Economies), like Ithaca.

If you missed the airing of this show, watch it now.

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.


We did it! $30,000. of Ithaca HOURS given away by GreenStar in less than 3 days!

So much fun, enthusiasm and good will. Thanks to GreenStar's staff, Council, Asha Sanaker, Joe Romano, and Ithaca HOURS for partnering with Local First Ithaca to put the HOURS back in circulation and support our local economy. Let's keep it moving!




PBS Special "Fixing the Future"

Featuring BALLE and Local Living Economy Success Stories

Begins airing November 18, 2010

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.


Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.