“I LOVE a good strip mall!”, said nobody. Ha. Long before there were walkability scores and national “buy local” campaigns, Sustainable Connections was creating a bad ass local economy in Whatcom County and Bellingham, WA. They did such a great job of keeping dollars local that national organizations like BALLE (Business Alliance of Local Living Economies) use them as a model of what is possible every single year. Sustainable Connections is not in the business of hippie utopian pipe-dreams. They are pragmatic, inclusive, and have a 17 year history of success.
Yeah, but why local? Did you know that 90% of net new jobs in the US are created by locally owned business? When you shop at big box stores only $32 of your $100 stay in the community compared to the $67 out of $100 that stay in the community when you shop at local business. That’s more than double the money (crazy math skillz!).
Whatcom County and Bellingham, WA owe a lot to Sustainable Connections. Led by Derek Long, Sustainable Connections has created a powerful local economy and a network of businesses over a 1,000 strong. But they’ve gone way beyond that. Since 2002, Sustainable Connections has helped us reduce waste in our businesses in their Zero Waste Campaign, helped us use more clean energy in their Clean Energy Challenge, they have helped us Solarize our businesses, and they’ve improved our food and farming by creating farm incubators and annual farm tours throughout Whatcom County. Now, Sustainable Connections has partnered with legendary Cloud Mountain Farms to create a dedicated working farm as a place to train new farmers and provide great food to our community.
These are just a few of the many ways Sustainable Connections is making our community better. We are proud members of Sustainable Connections for these very reasons. They are working hard at the intersection of business, non-profits, and sustainability. Sustainable Connections is a big reason that we choose to base our company, Soulcraft Allstars, in Bellingham. They have created a community that is strong, healthy, and able to shift and adjust quickly to our changing world. Learn more about their work here: www.sustainableconnections.org
How does a global storytelling company that is also a local video company keep it local? First of all, we hire 85% of our Allstars in Whatcom County. Secondly, most of our clients are based in the Pacific Northwest they just have stories that we need to capture around the US and around the world. Continuity in storytelling, video advertising, and multimedia campaigns is critical so keeping our team on location is key but a strong collaborative spirit in the film community helps us balance our own team with local support. We keep our traveling crews very small (2-3 people) and then hire local production support in each new market we travel to from Austin and New York City to Guadalajara and Port-au-Prince. We love to tell local stories through video marketing and do so with groups like Whatcom Community Foundation, The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, The Lummi Nation, Stand.earth, Samuel’s Furniture, and Washington Raspberries. We are always open to good local stories so keep us in mind the next time you need to move your audience to action. We keep working to increase our local investment and decrease our global impact. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
To learn more about our work go to: www.soulcraftallstars.com/work
Written by Aaron Straight | Soulcraft Allstars
Photo 1 by Brandon Sawaya | Soulcraft Allstars
Photos 2,4,6 by Aaron Straight | Soulcraft Allstars
Photos 3,5 by Guido Ronge | Soulcraft Allstars
Soulcraft Allstars is a Bellingham / Seattle based filmmaking and storytelling agency. If you are interested in learning more. Say hello: [email protected]