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30+ options for investing in our community

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Are you looking for ways to invest locally?  Here’s our list of some options right here in Rhode Island. (If we missed something that should be on the list, let us know!)

  1. Become a member of your local food co-op, like Urban Greens in Providence.
  2. Shift 50% of your big-box spending to independent, locally-owned businesses. 
  3. Purchase a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership. 
  4. Subscribe to Market Mobile or Munroe Dairy, subscription services that carry other local products. 
  5. Buy your weekly produce at your local farmers’ market. 
  6. Visit any of the great artisan markets Rhode Island has to offer, like the Providence Flea or Anti-Robot Club’s Marketplace.
  7. Look for crowdfunding opportunities from local, independent businesses. 
  8. Compost your food scraps, using a local start-up like the Compost Plant or Harvest Cycle
  9. Move your money to a local bank or credit union. 
  10. Ask your employer how much of their spending is with locally-owned, independent businesses. 
  11. Call a local taxi company or car service instead of Uber or Lyft. 
  12. Order takeout directly from your favorite restaurant, instead of using national platforms like GrubHub or UberEats, which take a huge surcharge off the top.
  13. Make a gift to support Bonus Bucks at Farm Fresh, which provide a 100% matching bonus for shoppers at farmers’ markets who receive federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  14. Volunteer with Hope’s Harvest to glean surplus produce for local farms. 
  15. Support local fishermen and women by buying Rhode Island seafood
  16. Support a local news outlet like ecoRI or The Public’s Radio, or subscribe to a locally-owned newspaper like the Warwick Beacon or East Bay RI Newspapers.  
  17. Join an “RI Buy Nothing” group to trade/reuse/exchange with local residents.
  18. Set up a recurring gift to Local Return and join like-minded individuals throughout the state who contribute monthly, quarterly, or annually, enabling us to build a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable Rhode Island.
  19. Donate your professional service pro-bono to groups and individuals when permissible (some ideas: lawyers donating legal advice/representation, financial advisors and brokers investing willing-clients’ assets into local/community-focused enterprises, grocers/restaurants donating food, mechanics donating labor for vehicle repair).
  20. Participate in your local flea market for second-hand purchases instead of big-box stores.
  21. Consider recycling metal components with a scrap yard/dealer or listing broken and/or unused equipment (lawnmowers, car parts such as hubs and calipers, etc.) on Marketplace, Craigslist, or a local community group.
  22. Looking for a unique gift idea? Buy from local artists!
  23. Become a patron of community theaters like Teatro ECAS or Wilbury Theatre Group.
  24. Take in a show at a local theater, like the Greenwich Odeum, Stadium Theatre, or Columbus Theatre.
  25. Donate or set aside unused land for community gardening or a community park, or begin cultivating and growing your own plants. Also consider setting aside yard space or window boxes to plant wildflowers for pollinators.
  26. Shop at an independent, locally-owned grocery store, like Dave’s Market or Brigido’s Fresh Market.
  27. Mixed-use property owners can donate vacant storefront space to “quality of life” tenants permissible within zoning ordinances. For example, multifamily property owners with commercial groundspace could donate space to a small grocer instead of leaving it vacant.
  28. Purchase from employee-owned certified enterprises.
  29. Donate unused books to a local library or community book exchange, or deposit them at Little Free Libraries you spot in your neighborhood. 
  30. Learn a trade by assisting Habitat for Humanity in building homes.
  31. Reserve space at local parks (especially underutilized parks) to hold community events, cookouts, movies-on-the-block, etc. This encourages municipal investment in parks!
  32. When possible, commute to work one day a week by RIPTA.
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