Humanity is facing an urgent and significant crisis–a towering rise in inequality. This great inequality is not only morally unacceptable, it also hinders economic growth and community development. Building strong local economies combats inequality because it creates and maintains wealth in local communities, and pushes us to rethink how our economy is built.
Developing local economies is particularly important for low-income communities and communities of color, who suffer from underinvestment and a lack of resources. Local economies can be strengthened by creating demand for goods and services through the large purchasing power of local institutions.
In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest school district, uses its purchasing power to support small businesses and farmers, and encourage high-quality job creation. The district’s strong purchasing power helps create jobs and develop community resources. Changing how demand is created and where supply is provided keeps opportunity localized, which allows low-income communities and communities of color to participate in green entrepreneurship, job creation, and wealth building.
Source: J. Minjin Cha, “LA School District Uses Its Spending Power to Support Local Farms, Workers’ Rights, and Kids’ Nutrition”, Yes! Magazine, October 17, 2014,http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/los-angeles-school-district-uses-spending-power-local-farms.
Student Researcher: Adaeze Iroka (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)