Local First

Local Independence Day

Posted on July 10, 2009. Filed under: Local First |

Local First then 25 has gone well the first week and a half.  The only hiccups so far were the farmers market not being open, gurgling stomachs on the way to Traverse City, and lack of convenience on the way to the golf course.  Over the holiday weekend we had a packed schedule and it was fun exploring some locally owned Michigan businesses.

We started the weekend early on Saturday morning with the 75th Hollyhock Parade.  Little did we know when we bought our house the parade started at the intersection two houses down from us.  Despite the close proximity to our home the parade was a great way to start the weekend.

Parade TruckParade Start

We celebrated the parade on our front lawn with coffee and donuts from Meijer.  We are lucky to have the local super store in Grand Rapids.

Parade Donuts

After the parade we loaded up the car and headed to Traverse City for wine tasting.  On the way up we were starving.  We couldn’t stop at one of the hundreds of fast food places along the highway, so we waited to eat until we got to Sutton’s Bay.  We were starving and choose a local pub downtown.  I didn’t realize Sutton’s Bay had such a beautiful downtown.

Pub

After lunch we visited two wineries before heading south to go camping.  We visited the Leelanau Cellars (we’ve bought their wine at home before) and Shady Lane Cellars.  We recommend both for an inexpensive day trip.

Leelanau CellarsShady Lane

We finished off the evening camping at a friends.  We got all our camping gear from Meijer.  Every newly married couple needs a new tent right.  We’re told we will eventually make it into a camper. 🙂

Tent

Now reflecting on the weekend, I realized it’s the first holiday weekend I’ve ever spent buying everything entirely local.  McDonalds, Burger King, and Target have always been my first choice.  Spending it entirely local just made it that much more exciting.

Check out Local First’s Member Directory to find everything you need locally.

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My first few days of eating local.

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Local First | Tags: , , , , |

We began the journey of buying local a few days ago.  We were hesitant on where to start, we had no groceries and typically shop at Meijer.  After a quick Twitter survey and debate, and looking at Local First’s Member Directory we decided Meijer is in fact a local business, although it is in multiple states.  While we were shopping we focused on buying Meijer products, which are mostly packed and distributed in Grand Rapids, and other Grand Rapids made products.

In the picture you can see the meal we made of grilled pastrami sandwiches and chips.  Everything on the plate is a Meijer product.  The El Matador tortilla chips are my favorite and are made in Grand Rapids too.

Local Food 002

Shopping at Meijer was easy, it’s where we typically shop.  Buying mostly Meijer products was a little challenging, but the hardest part was not buying our produce and meat there.   I decided it would be a bigger impact to buy both our produce and meat at smaller local shops.

Today, I took off to visit the Fulton Street Farmers Market for the first time.  I have been to many farmers markets, but haven’t visited this one yet.  Much to my surprise there were no stands set up when I got there at 3:00 pm, although the website says it doesn’t close until 4:00 pm.  It’s just going to take time to get used to the flow of local businesses.  Any tips on when to go and what booths to visit would be much appreciated.

Local Food 004 Local Food 003

Although there was no one at the Fulton Street Farmers Market, the day wasn’t a total loss.  I had time to browse a few shops in the East Hills Business District and finally found my wedding thank yous.  I made the great find below at Yours Truly!

Local Food 005

More stories of my local buying journey coming soon.  If you are looking for a local business to buy that special something, check out the Local First Member Directory.

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Local First, then 25

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: Local First | Tags: , , |

Local-First-image001As I am approaching my first quarter century of life I have decided to give back one more time.  I volunteer and I give money to local organizations, but I thought it would be great to do something a little bigger.  So, for my 25th birthday I decided it would be great to make an impact on our local economy in Grand Rapids and Michigan.

To make the biggest impact my husband and I decided it would be best to buy and eat only local for 23 days in July (the first 23 up to my birthday).

While buying local, we also decided we would like to promote the efforts of Local First, an organization that promotes local business ownership, social equity and environmental kinship through education, support and collaboration in West Michigan.

To help support Local First, I am asking friends and families to give to them instead of gifts to me, even if it was only going to be $3 on a card. A link to give through PayPal will be up soon!

As we buy local we are also focusing on companies that are members of Local First.  You can see a full list here: http://www.localfirst.com/members.

While taking on the challenge, I will be blogging about the experience and the great local stores and restaurants I visit.  Keep on visiting for up-to-date information on how we’re doing buying and eating locally.

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