The Number ONE Green Small City in America – Bellingham, WA

Live Love Local – from JoA for Possible Futures on Vimeo.

A Thriving Economy Where Businesses Promote Sustainability

Sustainable Connections brought together nearly 700 Bellingham businesses in every sector of the economy—farmers, manufacturers, builders, nonprofits, service providers and retailers with the common goal of creating a modeling a local living economy.

A Community Learns to Think Local

Sustainable Connections went to work in market development, asking the community to think local first and to support their local businesses for any of their services or product needs. Today more then three out of five households have said they’ve changed their purchasing behavior and were thinking local first.

Sustainable Connections helped each business get connected to the cutting-edge information they needed to be sustainable in the new economy. The businesses mentored each other, sharing ideas and cheering each other on.

The whole campaign was built on pride of place. The community was asked to care about their town and their neighbors by being more energy efficient and supporting local businesses.


Lower Unemployment, More Success for Local Businesses, and Booming Direct Sales of Food by Farmers

In the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Whatcom County had a higher unemployment than the rest of Washington State. Since starting the program, the county has had lower unemployment rates than the rest of Washington as a whole. That’s remained true even during the recession.

The Small Businesses Development Center found that Bellingham and Whatcom County also have higher retention rates for businesses. Further, the actual volume of direct sales to consumers by farmers increased by 8.7 percent in Washington State, but by 94 percent in Whatcom county—more than 10 times the level of the rest of the state.

For more information, see Sustainable Connections.

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