Kids lead a buy local effort in Northfield

Teacher Michelle Martin started talking to her fourth- and fifth-graders at Prairie Creek Community School in Northfield, MN, about the tough economy. That talk has turned quickly to action.

When the kids learned two local stores in Northfield were closing, “they became very concerned about the local economy. When another student’s mother lost her job at a downtown store and they learned that Tiny’s (our beloved hot dog joint) was struggling, they decided they had to do something”

That something was the “Northfield First”pledge. Martin, part of our Public Insight Network, told us:

“They’ve created a pledge they’ve called which people sign if they will look in “stores unique to Northfield” before they buy things elsewhere. They made posters for local stores and organized a rally on our town square. So far, over 150 people have signed the pledge.”

Northfield is an interesting place — small town Minnesota that’s home to Carleton College and St. Olaf College. It’s long had a vibrant, local downtown and the colleges have kept it somewhat insulated from recessionary swings over the years.

Besides the important economic lesson — the kids see how economic decisions affect a community’s health — the Northfield First effort appears to be changing behavior. Martin on Monday wrote us:

“A parent from another class came to me just today to share a conversation she had overheard at Kids on Division (a local kids’ clothing store.) The store employee was chatting with another customer and shared that things had been more busy recently. She then shared that about seven people had come in and commented that the Northfield First project was what prompted them to shop locally and think about where they were buying things.”

Tell us a story about what’s happening in your local economy.


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