Localism 101

Localism is about building communities that are more healthy and sustainable — backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient. Localism is about building the New Economy, right where we live. The result is more wealth and jobs per capita, and greater personal accountability for the health of the natural and human communities of which we are a part. The goal is real prosperity — for all.

Localists recognize the necessity of looking at the systemic relationship between these sectors. Localists also recognize that while our focus is primarily on our own communities, our vision is global. Each of us is crafting a piece of a larger mosaic — a global network of cooperatively interlinked local economies.

Indicators show that in localist economies more wealth and jobs per capita are created and that there is greater personal accountability for the health of the natural and human communities of which we are a part.

Localists often refer to the building blocks of a local living economy. These include our vital regional industries such as agriculture/food, energy, manufacturing, retail, building, transportation, capital, tourism, the arts and the creative class. When these are transformed into localized, sustainable, green and community focused industries, the entire economy is transformed.

Localists look at the interconnected relationship between these sectors. With a focus on the whole economy, we don’t prioritize or isolate the viability of local farms from the prosperity of the grocers to whom they sell, or the importance of energy efficiency from investing in local energy production, or “green” buildings from the health of their occupants.

Localists also recognize that while our focus is primarily on our own communities, our vision is global. Each of us is crafting a piece of a larger mosaic, a global network of cooperatively interlinked local economies.

Are you a Localist?

  • Support your community, support yourself: Local businesses are owned by your neighbors. They’re more invested in the community’s future and are less likely to leave.
  • Invest in your community: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business — rather than a nationally owned business — significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the very community you live in. And in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in healthy local communities.
  • Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat, where we have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. As Richard Moe of the National Historic Preservation Trust says, “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.”
  • Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses make more local purchases and generally set up shop in city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
  • Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
  • Better service: Local independent businesses often hire people with a better understanding and passion about the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
  • Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  • Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

Source: Country Wisdom News, Dec. 2012.

The Localist Program & Membership

You love this community. Now, get to know it better – –
it’s history, culture, and opportunities to get involved.


  • A new and growing membership and program for Local First, connecting our community with exciting opportunities to live the local lifestyle across the county and region with unique localist meet-ups, special events, newsletters and special news and education.


  • If you’d like to host an event in 2017 for a growing community of Localists, or be featured in one of our Member Stories let us know. It’s a great way for our Localists to get to know you and your business.


  • You, your customers, your neighbors, kids, and cousins. The Localist program is for anyone that wants to be a part of the movement to create a more self-reliant economy and celebrate living in our fantastic community.


  • Local First wants to help build an economy that values people, the planet and prosperity for everyone. In order to work together, we need to get together to:
    • build friendships
    • share ideas, experiences and inspirations
    • support one another as we create the future we want for ourselves and our children

What can I do to help?

  • Send us ideas for a Localist event or activity; help us plan a better party! Or better yet, host an event, give a behind-the-scenes tour, or just talk with us about how to connect Localists to your advocacy effort, business or organization.
  • If you are a business, lend us your most fun employee to be part of the Localist Planning Committee that will think up fun, creative, and unforgettable events and activities that could only take place in La Plata County.
  • Join as an individual member, a Localist here! Sponsor staff members to become Localist Members and grow the movement.
  • Odds are, you already have a voice in local issues, so join with us to make our advocacy count, for La Plata County.

You can now support Local First as we enhance and illuminate the growing movement in our area by      …joining as a Localist member!

  • You’ll receive our Monthly Localist News in your inbox connecting you with special events, announcements, and news of the Localist Movement, as well as how Localism is moving in La Plata County!
  • We’ll add you to the facebook group, ‘La Plata Localists’ so you can connect with other Localists, join the conversation, get the inside scoop, and even get more involved with Local First!
  • We invite you to join our Advocacy Team, working to encourage policy and planning conducive to helping local independent business thrive, which in turns builds our local economy. See more about our advocacy projects and email us at office@local-first.org for the next date & time!
  • Invite a friend to join as a localist with you, and share the program with your employer to encourage other employees to join!

… if you’re a die hard Localist and advocate or just love to plan fun things, join our core group of volunteers! Our volunteers plan Localist events and activities, special member meet-ups and presentations, advocate on issues that affect our local economy and local businesses, and get plugged in where they are best suited! Volunteering with us is a great way to connect and make a difference in this place we all love to live.


 Localist Apparel

Copy of 2V2A1166

“Represent” as a Localist with one of these stylish, soft and locally-printed t-shirts available at these great locations!

Introducing the Upcoming 2018 Be Local Coupon Book Theme:


Top 10 Localists

Can you believe it?!  This upcoming book will be our 10th year of publishing the Be Local Coupon Book! And the 10 year Anniversary of Local First in existence! To celebrate this monumental achievement and raise awareness and interest around what it means to be a “Localist,” we called for your nominations of the Top Localist(s) of our community! Think of the trailblazers, the pioneers, the ones that put in the hours, and invest in what matters for our local community.  We know there are so many worthy, hard-working local-frenzied individuals that get the vision, see the future and take the steps to get there. Once chosen, we will feature the top 10 Localists in the book and even have a Localist Celebrity Dinner to celebrate their monumental accomplishments as part of the 2018 Book Launch Party in November 2017!