Notes meeting Jan 14th

 The first follow up meeting of  group since October workshop was recently held at the Commons conference room in the annex of Building 50.  15 people attended, including a few first timers.

To summarize quickly, 6 good ideas were put forward in an interest to promote locally owned/operated business in our area.  I will bullet list these, then give more detailed desciptions below that:

  1. Pledge $10 week to buy local
  2. Wear a wrist band (Big Rapids) showing support for local – receive a discount 
  3. Integrate with Grand Vision website- map of where to buy local
  4. Guidebook list/how to guide of local business/how to live “green, sustainable…”
  5. Game of puzzle pieces collected at local business- play to win a reward for shopping local
  6. Earn a sticker to show support for local- put on your window or car bumper- desire to belong

  After a potluck dinner, we reviewed the progress made by Bay Bucks Currency – over $19,000 in circulation since 2005 – where Bay Bucks recently approached Traverse City Light and Power to accept this beautiful alternative script in payment of electric bills.  TCLP said they would consider written requests from customers to accept Bay Bucks. Where a specific number of requests was not stated, this nevertheless seems like very good news, a goal for us to work toward, and leverage with a key player in our economy.

It was recently written in a letter to the editor, and I won’t quote the dollar amount as I have not verified the data, that TCLP is sitting on large amounts of cash reserves.  If this is close to accurate, they could well afford to transact in a new currency, without fear of where they have to immediately spend it, since they could save it just as they save federal dollars.  In the meantime, more businesses will be enticed to accept it if they can in turn immediately  spend it when paying their power bill.

Well done Nancy Belton, Mo Charbonneau and the Bay bucks crew!  Lets spread the word to TCLP ratepayers, write a letter to the editor, ask around at work – post a notice, here is a chance to get some local spending power momentum.  Be on the lookout for Bay Bucks directory update, probably online, listing where else you may acquire/spend Bay Bucks, in addition to Oryana Natural Food Market, Bay Area Recycling Services, Edible Grand Traverse Magazine, Pleasanton Bakery, and Odom Reusable Building Materials. Dear reader: if you accept them and I missed you, please comment below. (

The Taste a Local Difference program by Michigan Land Use Institute is celebrating its 8th anniversary promoting local farms, vineyards, cider and beer makers and restaurants in a 10 county area including 250 providers.  Program manager for TLD, Janice Belton reported a recent survey indicates 85% of farms and others listed in TLD have seen an increase in business since its inception.

Not resting on their laurels, TLD recently launched a campaign asking individuals to pledge spending $10 on local food and drink.  Janice generously offered to list locally owned and operated  businesses in the back of the directory once “local” was defined in a careful manner. More very good news for localists!  Well done Janice and MLUI.

The NW Mich. Sustainable Business Forum, run by Patty O’Donnell of the NWMich, Council of Gov’ts. has been in existence for a number of years.  The forum is modeled after others in the state, and conducts educational workshops on sustainable business practices – waste reduction, green practices for the hospitality industry, energy forums, and green business practices overall.  This program covers a 10 county area also.  Patty offered to conduct follow up meetings in half day workshops if we would like.

…..Meeting notes to be continued tomorrow.