What is Localism?

The Town has spent the last few months researching and writing a whole new business support strategy.  And one of the things to come from this research has been a discussion paper on Localism.  You can read the whole discussion paper here.

The term ‘localism’ can mean different things to different people but it is associated with a range of ideas from economic, social and other perspectives, including: buying local, locally produced food, local business investment, local education, local culture and stories and local entrepreneurship.  An description and explanation we like is provided by BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) www.bealocalist.org

“Localism is grounded in the belief that relationships matter, most. The way we interact with where we live — who we do business with — how we connect with people, other life, the land — all of it matters… Localism can start with the simple commitment to buy local — keeping your dollars where your heart lives. It also means supporting your community to identify, launch and grow the businesses that are needed to serve your community. Taken further, localism encompasses our relationships with the people who grow our food, offer local goods and services, and invest in our enterprises.”

Localism has a Heart

Localism is a movement around bringing community values, environmental values, cultural values back into focus in business. Localism is more than the idea of keeping local dollars local.

It is the antidote to impersonal transactions, the narrow results, short term benefits, immediate results.

It isn’t the opposite of globalism.  Globalism isn’t bad in itself.  Globalism has brought us closer together as a human species, it has opened our eyes to natural remedies, it has improved choice and brought in healthy competition.  The Fair Trade products that we can buy in Coles here like coffee from Africa and Tea from a specific community in Sri Lanka is effective localism but on a global stage.  Fair Trade like localism ensures that the benefits of business are returned to the local community.

Localism is about commercial endeavor.  It believes where the community go the economy will follow.

Localism is community driven.  It is ground up, it is not introduced, funded, managed , controlled by government, by ivory towers, by invisible people.

For the Town of Bassendean, localism will be what the local community decides it will be.  it’s not proposing putting up a wall around Bassendean.  Rather it is outward looking, it is taking on the best practices, about learning from others and celebrating our great ideas. We want to champion them and support them.

Festival of Localism

On the 8 April 2018 we will hold a Festival to celebrate our great diversity of businesses and business ideas.  We’re calling it a Festival of Local Business.  The festival will not be an expo but rather a catalytic event.  It will be about entrepreneurship, giving inspiration, giving the confidence and the  permission for people to think they can do it. Taking the focus off the risks and putting it on to the achievements.

We’ll seek successful local businesses, those having a creative approach to business. We’ll be celebrating the achievements of the entrepreneurs.  We’ll feature those that embody the multiple bottom lines.  Going beyond the economic and extending to environmental, social and cultural values.

The event will be part of the Autumn River Festival.  We will be seeking sponsors/partners from banks and larger enterprises in this area as well. It will go for half a day and spread out from the Community Hall onto the lawn and onto Old Perth Rd.