March has been a busy month for local businesses in Oakland, California. They’re celebrating the start of spring and everything else March has to offer, and they’re encountering a new regulation: an increased minimum wage. Fortunately, Oakland’s buy local group, Oakland Grown, has fun events and awareness campaigns to keep the Bay Area’s local economy on track.
Oakland Grown works to promote the buy local movement on behalf of more than 700 area business members. With support the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and the Bay Area’s very own Sustainable Business Alliance, Oakland Grown provides networking opportunities, promotional support and industry research to these local businesses and causes. This month, Oakland Grown hosted its highly anticipated Bacon and Beer Festival for the second year in a row. As its name implies, the festival featured unique and savory bacon creations from more than 20 local vendors and a selection of beers and hard ciders from local breweries.
To organize the Bacon and Beer Festival, Oakland Grown worked with the local restaurant vets at Eat Boston. The duo behind Eat Boston created Boston’s first pop-up restaurants in 2012 and now travels the country helping other local food scenes raise money and awareness for their causes. The Bacon and Beer Festival, which sold out in advance of the March 15 event date, raises money for Oakland Grown. By working with Eat Boston, Oakland Grown not only brought entertainment to the community, but also a valuable learning experience in event planning and promotion for its members.
This month, Oakland Grown also faces a new challenge from local government. Back in November, the city of Oakland voted to increase the minimum wage and to require employers to offer paid sick leave. On March 2, the new minimum wage – $12.25 an hour, up from $9 an hour – went into effect. Oakland Grown has supported the minimum wage increase as a positive step for the city and its workers. Now that the wage increase is here, the group is stepping up its support for the local businesses that will have to pay it. Through its #Oaklandfairwages campaign, Oakland Grown encourages the community to help businesses meet the fair wage requirement by shopping at local businesses. Oakland Grown also sponsors resources for employers and employees, as well as a pledge to support Oakland’s businesses and workers.
Through regulatory changes and busy seasons, Oakland Grown maintains its support for the city’s network of more than 700 local businesses. For more information about Oakland Grown, visit www.oaklandgrown.org.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering at www.independentwestand.org/membership/. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local and find local businesses in your community at www.independentwestand.org/take-a-stand/join-the-movement/.