So you live in Kitchener-Waterloo; work in Kitchener-Waterloo; and play in Kitchener-Waterloo. Then you are just who Juliana Gomez is looking for.
She wants you to be part of LiveLocalKW during the week of September 13-19, 2015: a one-week challenge where people pledge to eat, shop and play local.
“This is a great chance to grow our sense of community and belonging,” says Juliana. “I really want people to think about the role they can play in their city and intentionally connect with their region and all it offers,” she says.
In its second year, the idea initially came to Juliana when she was thinking about what she would tweet about if she ever got to take over the community-hosted Twitter account @peopleofkw. “I thought it would be cool to document a week where I ate, shopped and played local,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘Why don’t I get a bunch of people to do this with me?’ And the idea has grown from there.”
Last year, 150 people pledged to participate for the live local week and 47 businesses offered incentives and discounts to participants. This year, Juliana is hoping to triple those numbers. You can commit to the #livelocalKW week online (I did and it takes about 30 seconds to sign up).
“I hope that this initiative will support our local businesses and feed our local economy and culture,” she says. “But on a more deeper level, I genuinely believe we live happier lives when we feel a sense of community and belonging and this event can help move us in that direction.” Juliana sees this as an opportunity to create and nurture connections between people, businesses and organizations and a way to highlight that we all have an important role to play in our community.
Keeping the community connections strong, Juliana has arranged a pay-it-forward incentive called “Twoonies for Cheating.” If you happen to forget to shop local during your pledge week, you will be encouraged to donate $2 in support of FoodLink, a not-for-profit connecting Waterloo Region to local food.
So, what can you do? Pledge and #livelocalKW during the week of September 13-19. In the meantime, encourage others to sign up—both K-Dubbers and businesses—and start some social conversations about living local. And if you really can’t participate, then make a feel-good donation to Foodlink. It’s good for you, and your community.
P.S. Juliana’s favorite topic of conversation: stories about people’s lives.