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"According to Susan Witt, Executive Director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, "buy local" campaigns serve another function: alerting a community about gaps in the local market. This is the way product innovations get made."
"Buy Local"—you see the decal in the store window, the sign at the farmer's market, the bright, cheerful logos for Local First Arizona, Think Boise First, Our Milwaukee, and homegrown versions across the states. The apparent message is "let's-support-local-business", a kind of community boosterism. But buying close to home may be more than a feel-good, it's-worth-paying-more-for-local matter. A number of researchers and organizations are taking a closer look at how money flows, and what they're finding shows the profound economic impact of keeping money in town—and how the fate of many communities around the nation and the world increasingly depend on it.
Read more via Time Business & Money
1. Get the Same Services at Lower Cost
Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.2. Put Your Money to Work Growing Your Local Economy
Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.3. Keep Decision-Making Local
At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also memberowners.4. Back Institutions that Share a Commitment to Your Community
The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks and credit unions are involved in their communities. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community's deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.5. Support Productive Investment, Not Gambling
The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.
This was produced by the New Rules Project's Community Banking Initiative.
Locally-owned businesses return about 80% of each dollar to their community. And each dollar spent at a local business will return up to five times that amount within your community through city taxes, employees’ wages, and purchases of materials, supplies and services at other independent businesses.
Chains and franchises, on the other hand, contribute roughly 40%, and as little as 20% of sales back to your community. And many big boxes, such as Walmart or Home Depot, are given tax-incentives by local governments—costing you far more than the discounted price you think you’re paying.Keep reading via Elephant JournalPhoto Courtesy of Local Works: Examining the impact of Local Business on the West Michigan Economy via Elephant Journal.
Four blocks from my house on the north side of Chicago is an independent toy store that has bailed me out with a last-minute birthday gift more than a few times. The knowledgeable proprietors peddle geodes to German-engineered wind-up trains, bug-collection kits to theatrical costumes. Perhaps more important than their inventory, they've kept alive that elusive remnant of the retail experience—service. They gift wrap for free year-round.
"Indie shopping" is a conscientious effort to patronize independents, or locally owned businesses, over chain stores when it's possible to do so. "Buy Local" campaigns draw the support of like-minded citizens and community groups, particularly as businesses and consumers continue their slow crawl from recession. The pro-indie argument usually centers on community benefits, from social interaction to tax revenues. There's an impact on the wallet as well. Keep reading via US News
"Locavesting": Investing In Main Street Instead Of Wall Street via Fast Company
What if you didn't send your money to a faceless investment bank, but instead gave it to a local business? We spoke to author Amy Cortese about local investing, where people keep their capital within 50 miles of where they live. Keep Reading via Fast Company.