Who is behind the Buy Local North Central Florida campaign?

Blue Oven Kitchens Inc. and Forage.  Blue Oven Kitchens Inc. is a not-for-profit kitchen incubator serving North Central Florida.  Its mission is to foster a whole-system approach to the sustainable growth of the North Central Florida food system.  Blue Oven provides and promotes foodways, foodshed, food economics, and food safety research and education; and incubates low-income and disadvantaged food entrepreneurs. Forage’s mission is to be a center for educating and inspiring people to value healthy food, land, and community and to create a place where people can transform their environment and themselves by exploring the natural world and engaging in the meaningful work of farming and food systems.

What is a “local” business?

Those who study local economics and wish to maximize its impacts generally agree that “local” businesses are independent, meaning that they are not part of a franchise.  To participate in the Buy Local North Central Florida campaign, businesses must be “local” (and therefore independent) but they must also be privately owned (not publicly traded), and at least 51% of the ownership must reside within the ten-county area of North Central Florida:  Alachua, Marion, Levy, Gilchrist, Columbia, Suwannee, Union, Clay, Bradford, and Putnam.  The motivation behind these requirements is to harness as much of our local spending power as possible so that our region can increase its prosperity, jobs, sense of community, and quality of life by not exporting its wealth and by encouraging small business.  Many “buy local” campaigns all across the country have similar requirements.

What are some additional resources I can look to if I want to learn more about local economics?

  • The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE):  www.livingeconomies.org/
  • US Small Business Administration, Advocacy Small Business Statistics and Research, Frequently Asked Questions:  http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqindex.cfm?areaID=24
  • Friday, Dr. Swint, “Small Businesses Are the Estuaries of Our Economy”.  Sept. 23, 2010.
  • McKibben, Bill.  Deep Economy:  The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.  Holt,  New York:  2007.
  • Shuman, Michael H. The Small-mart Revolution:  How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition.  Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco:  2006.
  • Shuman, Michael H.  Local Dollars, Local Sense.  Chelsea Green, White River Jct., Vermont:  2012.
  • Tasch, Woody.  Slow Money.  Chelsea Green, White River Jct., Vermont:  2010.  www.slowmoney.org
  • Talk to your local business owners.

Why should my business join this effort?

When your business joins the Buy Local North Central Florida campaign, it becomes a branded “local and independent” business that is recognizable to the public.  This is important because your business then becomes an example and an educator for our community about the importance of buying local, and what supporting local sustains.  Each time your customers shop with you, they will know that they are supporting not only a business they care about, but also their local economy and community at-large by extension.  As a member of this campaign, your business obtains access to the logo and other marketing materials, as well as exposure through our website, email mailing list, Facebook page, press releases, events, and other marketing materials.

How do I sign my business up?

You can download the Introduction Letter and the Agreement on our “Get Involved” page.  If you would like more information or to talk with someone, please email Val@blueovenkitchens.org.

Where do I get a discount card?

Alachua County:

  • Libraries (all branches)
  • Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) 530 W. University Gainesville
  • Alachua County Manager’s Office and the Growth Management Office

Bradford County:

  • Cooperative Extension Office, 2266 North Temple Avenue, Starke, FL

Levy County:

  • Cooperative Extension Office, 625 North Hathaway Ave, Alt. 27, Bronson, FL

Marion County:

  • Cooperative Extension Office, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, FL

Suwannee County:

  • Libraries (all branches)

More to come!

How do I know what discounts businesses are offering?

If a business has a $ next to its listing on our “Business Listing” page, it is offering a deal for holders of the card (or those with it on their phones).  Businesses should display discounts at their store fronts and/or have trained their staff to know what discounts are being offered.  Discounts may change daily.  We have developed this system of discount to allow for maximum flexibility so that businesses can be creative with their offerings.  We do not post the discounts here.  You can also call the business (contact info is in the listing) and ask about how they are participating in Buy Local NCF.