Background: As early as the end of March some of us in PAUSE (People of Albany United for Safe Energy) noticed that greenhouse gas emissions were going down around the world due to Covid 19. We thought this was a very good thing but knew unless direct action was taken to keep them low they’d pop right back up again. This pandemic has brought to the fore our vulnerability to the just-in-time global supply lines. The usual abundance at the supermarket became thin pickings. Local shops became shuttered and were in jeopardy of never opening again. Municipal revenues took an immediate hit from lowered taxes and increased demand on services. Question: What could PAUSE do to help? Answer: Start an online directory and public awareness campaign. We call it Buy Local, Grow Local.
Buy Local: Buy Local is a special online directory. It’s purpose is to serve under supported businesses and agricultural resources in the Capital Region. We aim to match users with the businesses they seek with an emphasis on sustainable and locally responsible establishments. While the focus is on sustainable and socially responsible businesses we also wish to include any small business within the four Capital District counties – Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga.
Grow Local: Because of sheltering in place we realize that we can’t always depend on national and global supply chains for our food. That’s why lots of people are looking to grow their own, in a spirit reminiscent of the Victory Gardens of World War I and World War II when American families grew 40% of the vegetables they ate. Luckily we have plenty of wonderful resources in the Capital Region to help! Whether you want to make a raised bed, join a community garden, compost your food scraps, learn how to preserve what you grow, try beekeeping, raising chickens or other DIY food skills, our website can help you find the local support and mentoring you need. And please support our farmer’s markets and local farms! The Grow Local side of our website will featured sustainable organizations, and a link to a list of local farms and farmer’s markets.
Here are the basics:
Who: County and municipal officials along with local businesses and BIDs, food pantries, garden and agricultural organizations, and environmental groups
Where: Capital Region of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties
What: Buy Local, Grow Local: an online resource and public awareness campaign
When: Before a return to business as usual after the Covid-19 crisis
Why: 1) Support local business owners and workers, and increase local business revenu. 2) Enhance each community’s resilience to crises through local goods and food production. 3) Lower greenhouse gas emissions caused by shipping products/food long distances. 4) Encourage sustainable and socially responsible business practices.
Can you help? Yes, indeed. The website needs to be populated with businesses and farms before we can open it up to users. As soon as the website is built I will need YOU to help us with outreach to locally owned shops that you favor. If you’re willing to help, please contact Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we need to hire a professional website designer because the demand for high traffic and flexibility is great. Whatever you can contribute, please go to our Facebook fundraiser page under Buy Local Grow Local fundraiser. If you aren’t on facebook or would rather send a check, please email me and I’ll send you the address. Any of these contributions to Buy Local, Grow Local will be very much appreciated.
The People: Buy Local, Grow Local is a campaign of PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy. The 5 member organizing team consists of environmental activists who are all members of PAUSE. Tina Lieberman (Albany) is co-founder of Zero Waste Capital District. Diana Wright (Albany) owns FoodScraps 360, a residential compost pick-up service. Sandy co-founded People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE). Francis Magai (Troy) is a local farmer and studies environmental science at HVCC. Matt Oill (Schenectady County) works with multiple environmental and social justice groups in the Capital Region and studied computer information systems at Schenectady County Community College.
Published in June/July 2020
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