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Finding Economic Development At Home

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There are many ways money leaves our local economies.¬†Energy is one of the biggest “exporters” of local income. It helps if your utility is locally owned, but over 90 percent of what you pay for gasoline leaves the community.

The average chicken you buy in the grocery store has about 2,000 miles on its odometer when you buy it. Most groceries are shipped in from long distances.

When people go elsewhere to shop they are, in effect, “importing” the goods they buy. The money they spend is lost to their own community’s economy. Similarly, if essential services are not present locally, they must be imported. This includes, for example, medical and dental services, recreational activities, and mechanical services.

abstract image of a leaking faucet

What can your community do to increase the amount of money that stays in the local economy? Here are some starting points:

1. Find out where people are buying goods and obtaining services. You can learn more about the “leaks” in your economy by meeting with your neighbors and asking them to think of all the things people spend money on outside the community. Some communities also do simple customer surveys. This will give you a “retail profile” for your community. …

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