This year seems harder to navigate than last year. Don’t get me wrong, last year was rough. I was throughly sick of hearing “pivot”. At Dulse & Rugosa, we were dizzy from pivoting. However, we knew fairs and festivals were cancelled. People were comfortable shopping online. There was a lot of awareness about supporting small, indie and local businesses. This year, everything is so fluid. It’s difficult to make a realistic plan.
We were disappointed (to put it mildly) about the cancellation of the Common Ground Fair. Mid summer we sat down to make a “plan” for the coming months. We’ve all noticed the weird shortages of seemly random goods including packaging materials like boxes, glass bottles and certain ingredients. We wanted to purchase ahead of time so we wouldn’t get caught with a lot of out of stock products.
As we planned we factored in fairs. We thought about attendance, weather- the rain has been crazy here in Maine, what folks might be wanting, etc. We did a low, medium and high projection to help us decide what to order and to put a schedule together for production. In all our planning we forgot to add catastrophe.
That’s why this blog is all about ways you can help support small businesses and non profits during this time of upheaval. It’s time to actively “dollar vote”. Where you spend your money is a way to support local communities, encourage innovation, support living wages and help heal the planet. Where you shop and what you buy sends a direct message to business owners. Check out Green America for more info and a toolkit.
If you’re not a member of MOFGA now is a great time to join. Many non-profits depend on events to finance their work. This is the second year with no fair and that is a huge loss of revenue for MOFGA. MOFGA is all about helping farmers thrive, making more local, organic food available and building sustainable communities. Your membership supports all this work!
There are also ways to support small businesses without spending money. Joining mailing lists is a direct way you can help a business thrive especially as we head into the winter months. Follow your favorite businesses on social media and like, comment and share. While social media appears to be free there are many hidden costs and how posts get shown. It’s a bit like high school. Get in the habit of quickly “liking” a post or leave a comment or emoji to tell the algorithm this post is trendy. Then more people get to see it. I often think of social media as a black hole and love to meet someone who says they follow us and enjoy our posts. This gives me hope.
Leaving positive reviews really makes a difference. If you love certain products take the time to let others know by leaving a website review. Reviews on google and yelp can help new customers discover a business. Sharing products on social media is another easy way to spread some small business love. Simple acts of kindness to support small and indie businesses.
Anna Lappe wrote, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” At Dulse & Rugosa we want a world that is kind and focused on community and planet health. We all need to vote with our dollars whenever possible.