Local First Blog

Wrapping up 2016 at Local First

Oct 25, 2016 1:13:00 PM / by Local First

Every year, Local First continues to see the local economy grow by putting people first. As we wrap up another great year packed with educational programs and community-building events, we are inspired by the response of the people who are putting their money where their mitten is. As we look ahead to 2017, we ask for you to do the same.

In the coming years, we hope to take our work to new levels. However, our work can only grow so much without the support of individuals like you–individuals who believe in the power of relationships to create a resilient economy and a vibrant and sustainable West Michigan. Your tax deductible gift of $50, $100, $250 or even $750 or more will allow us to teach and show others how to become active participants in their economy. Each of these levels comes with its own gift – check them out


Thank you in advance for your thoughtful giving – we sincerely appreciate your support!


You matter,

Elissa Hillary, Executive Director

What we did in 2016

At the Annual Meeting in January, we honored businesses and individuals who help strengthen our economy by using their business as a force for good. During the ceremony, I shared some of my own personal experiences from the year and what it means to me to live on a human scale.

In March, more than 20 farms participated in Growers’ Fare, a collaboration between Local First, the West Michigan Growers Group, and MSU Extension. Over 200 people came to learn about community supported agriculture and what it means to support the local food system.


This spring, we kicked off our third INsight Series, monthly workshops that educate business owners about sustainable business practices. Panel experts shared their knowledge on topics that ranged from inclusion and equity to reducing energy costs.

In June, we brought hundreds of people together at a soggy Street Party in Downtown Grand Rapids. We ate, danced in the rain, drew on the sidewalk and made recycled arts and crafts. In August, and not to be outdone, the Lakeshore Street Party was dramatically introduced by a region-wide Tornado warning. Fortunately, the sun came out and attendees were able to safely enjoy the day’s events.

This fall, we hosted two Fork Fest events that helped build a human connection between 50 local food entrepreneurs and 900 attendees in Grand Rapids and the on the Lakeshore. We are so grateful for everyone who participated in this fantastic year of putting people first!


Local First

Written by Local First