Buffalo First on Food
Founded in June of 2006, Buffalo First encourages consumers and business owners to spend their money locally.
It has successfully launched its simple concept, and its presence can be seen in over 140 local businesses and at public events across the city. The Buffalo First website offers the explanation behind its mission. Aligned with the international organization, BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Communities), Buffalo First is committed to developing self-reliance and economic sustainability in our city. The first step is to encourage consumers and business owners to spend their money locally.
To show the impact of local spending, Buffalo First's website sites examples from recent studies, “ … one study in Austin, Texas shows that for every dollar spent at a national bookstore in Austin only 13 cents was re-spent in the local community. Other studies say that one dollar spent at a locally-owned and operated store will keep 68 cents in that area.”
Buffalo First's members include many types of businesses, especially retail establishments and restaurants focused on buying as many of their goods locally as possible. Restaurants like Amaryllis, Betty's, Shango, Tru-teas and Caz Coffee Cafe have eagerly joined, and in some cases are even represented on Buffalo First's board of directors. Retail food operations such as Premier Gourmet, the Lexington Co-op, Queen City Farm and Guercio's have jumped on board and appear on the premier member list.
Buffalo First's mission is not only to stabilize the city's economy, but also to grow the local food shed, a conceptual definition used to describe the origins and destinations of food within a particular bioregion.
“This really gets to the heart of everything,” Amy Kedron, co-founder of Buffalo First told Buffalo Rising. “First, buying from a local family farmer as opposed to a factory farmer provides support and jobs to the local economy. Second, the average item at the local supermarket has traveled 1,500 miles. Like people, food gets tired after traveling great distances. Buying your produce from a local farmer means that the food is healthier and fresher. Considering the cancer rates in Buffalo, it's essential that we have access to food that's as healthy as possible. Thirdly, it's healthier for our planet. The amount of oil that it takes to transport your food to you--especially if all of the components of your meal have traveled that distance--is pretty astounding; more so if you think about the fact that we eat three meals a day, seven days a week.”
If you operate a business that qualifies as "local" under Buffalo First's guidelines and are interested in becoming a member, check out their website. Or, if you wish to lend support as an individual, consider attending Buffalo First's Second Annual Buy Buffalo Bash on November 14th, a fun event that includes local food and drink, music and an auction.
Stay tuned to Buffalo Rising Online and Buffalo Rising Magazine in the next month or so as we shift some of our focus to featuring articles about the eating local trend, community supported agriculture, farming, and the Niagara region's overwhelming bounty.
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