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As founder of Local First Arizona, Lanning’s passion for local economics stems from her upbringing and real-world education. Raised by a family of entrepreneurs, Lanning left ASU after her first semester and opened a record shop, Stinkweeds, in Phoenix.
Her sense of entrepreneurship and economic justice awareness led her to create Local First Arizona in 2003. Last year, Lanning established Fuerza Local, an education program for Spanish-preferred local businesses.
“We work to educate the public on how the economy functions,” Lanning says of Local First Arizona. “For example, when you spend locally, the local business then hires a local designer, web developer, or accountant, which keeps more jobs here. The money you spend at local businesses stays in Arizona’s economy, and goes towards community needs like parks, libraries and fire departments. At Local First Arizona, we want to empower people to leverage their spending to create better lives for all of us.”
Local spending contributes to the sustainability of Arizona. Goods bought in Arizona don’t have to travel as far, which means less carbon output, fuel costs, habitat loss and packaging waste. Arizona’s “mom and pop” shops provide diverse products that enrich the local economy and give back to the community. In the end, shopping locally makes Arizona’s economy, environment and social systems self-sustaining and self-reliant.
“I believe the general public needs to be empowered; we control the economy,” Lanning says. “When I wake up every day, I am highly motivated to make people understand that simple shifts create better jobs for everybody.”
As part of the institute’s Sustainability Series, Lanning’s lecture will discuss how making simple purchasing changes in your everyday life can support Arizona’s local economy and sustainable future.
RSVP for Lanning’s lecture here: http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/rsvp/kimber-lanning-2013.