Forget Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is critical this year

Spend your money wisely, and locally:

While local businesses often rely on Small Business Saturday as the 'shop local' alternative to Black Friday, this year's event might be the most important one yet. Many small businesses faced a bumpy year and are still straining in the COVID-19 economy.

Around 60% of virus-related small business closures became permanent this year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

Of course the moral argument for doing this is important: Small businesses don't have the reserve capital or resources to sustain themselves for very long, and Federal government assistance seems to always gravitate to larger and/or more influential companies. But shopping locally, for goods manufactured (or crafted) in the region, has a profound impact on your carbon footprint. You should always take a "miles traveled" approach when you open your purse or wallet. Granted, some items (appliance, electronics) are now only manufactured overseas, but that just means you have to be more careful in selecting other goods. There are many options to shop locally, supporting artisans and sustainable farming. But today I wanted to highlight Benevolence Farm, which gives newly released women prisoners a sanctuary and fresh start:

Profoundly struck and saddened by the increasing rates of recidivism for women leaving prison in North Carolina, in 2008, founder Tanya Jisa decided that something needed to be done to support women transitioning from prison. As her understanding of the complex issues of incarceration deepened through her social work and relationships with women that have been formerly incarcerated, the ideas of a social enterprise-based residential program began to take shape.

After years of thoughtful program development and land cultivation, the community and staff of Benevolence Farm were anxious to receive the first resident at the farm. The organization welcomed Benevolence Resident, Melissie Davis, on December 13th, 2016.

Benevolence Farm now operates a fully-functioning farm and residential program as we seek to cultivate leadership, promote sustainable livelihoods, and reap structural change with individuals impacted by the criminal justice system in North Carolina.

Pictured above are an assortment of their body care products, which you can order online right here. All the cool kids are doing it, so don't get left behind.