LocalMart

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Mission Statement
LocalMart is a marketplace for sustainable, locally produced goods and services, using an alternative currency for payment, and having the objective of creating sustainable self sufficient local economies.

Introduction
Welcome to LocalMart where members of the your community can provide and purchase locally produced sustainable goods and services.  We aim to not only increase the sustainability and self sufficiency of our local communities but also serve as an example to others of how local commitment to the cause of sustainability can improve quality of life today while leaving behind a better world for those who follow tomorrow. 

At the bottom of this page and in the right column are links which help to explain the operation of LocalMart, but first read on in order to understand the structure and the many unique and interesting features of LocalMart.  (While there is considerable information here, you will find that participating in LocalMart is remarkably easy.  See information at the end of this page.)  

LocalMart consists of five elements.  The first is a social networking site where members can learn of LocalMart news and events, set up their own page with photo and personal information (viewable only by other members), easily communicate with other members, start or join groups (e.g. Sustainable Food Group, Sustainable Clothing Group), start or participate in blogs, and otherwise achieve a greater sense of community while participating in local sustainable commerce.

The second element is the LocalMart online store.  It is on this site where member/providers (providers) can list and display their products and services and where member/customers (customers) can make purchases and otherwise interact with the providers.  The store uses an alternative currency, convertible back into dollars, enabling
the elimination of transaction fees, and the alternative currency also makes it possible to conduct off line and in person transactions using mobile phones. 

The third element consists of LocalMart affiliate stores which are actual retail locations that carry LocalMart products for the local communities in which they serve.  They offer a delivery service within the boundaries of their respective communities.   

The fourth element is Better World Workshop (BWW), an actual workshop with also an online presence.  BWW is an incubator for the conception and development of ideas for sustainable products and services which can be freely used by LocalMart providers in order to offer the widest range of locally produced, sustainable offerings to LocalMart customers.  

The fifth element is MicroLendingNetwork, whose mission is to make alternative currency microloans to eligible individuals or businesses that are developing or producing sustainable products or services that can be offered on a local level through LocalMart affiliates.     

Philosophy
Localizing our commerce involves much more than simply creating a local currency or barter club or patronizing local merchants rather than distant ones, for the products that local merchants sell may not be produced locally.  LocalMart has a "from the ground up" philosophy which encourages the formation of numerous and varied local businesses that can produce sustainable products and services on even the smallest scale, but which in aggregate result in significant gains in sustainability and local self sufficiency.  Many of the business ideas that we have proposed (Business Ideas) are designed so that even the busiest people with full time jobs, and/or their children, relatives or friends, can produce some useful, sustainable product or service that can be sold within their community.  Rather than be just consumers, LocalMart members are encouraged to become providers and contribute toward localization by helping to "close the loop."  The role of LocalMart is to operate local affiliate websites which make all of this possible and practical by providing a means to conduct local sustainable commerce with an easy set up process, no sign up fees and no transaction fees (made possible by use of an alternative currency, convertible back into dollars.  The LocalMart alternative currency also makes it possible to conduct off line and in person transactions using mobile phones.) 

Features
We believe that the features of LocalMart make it a unique means of enabling the transition toward local sustainability and self sufficiency, and that these features go way beyond the goals and capabilities of "shop local" campaigns, barter clubs, local currencies or other singular efforts to promote local commerce.  Some of these features are:

  • Members only site with simple application process
  • Sustainability criteria for products and services offered
  • Uses a social networking platform (like Facebook, MySpace) to personalize and facilitate member communication and build a sense of community
  • No sign up fee or periodic fees
  • No transaction fees for purchases - does not use credit or debit cards or PayPal for purchase transactions.  Members who are providers and whose revenues balance purchases, can transact business indefinitely without transaction fees.  
  • Uses an alternative currency, convertible back into dollars (enabling the elimination of transaction fees)
  • Encourages members to be providers of sustainable goods and services and not just consumers.  (Even seemingly insignificant products or services which members can provide with a part time commitment all contribute toward our goals and help to "close the loop" locally.)
  • Assists members in identifying or developing a product or service to provide, and assists with set up of these products or services in the LocalMart store
  • Operates and supports Better World Workshop (www.betterworldworkshop.org) - an incubator with the mission of conceiving, developing and disseminating ideas for sustainable products and services that can be produced on a local level with the objective of furthering local sustainability and self sufficiency.   
  • Operates and supports Micro Lending Network
    (www.microlendingnetwork.org) - an organization with the mission of making alternative currency microloans to eligible individuals or businesses that are developing or producing sustainable products or services that can be offered on a local level through LocalMart affiliates 
  • Operates LocalMart e-commerce store for online transactions, (like ebay), giving Member/Providers a web presence for their products and services with easy set-up process, and with no need for credit/debit card merchant accounts
  • Capability of off line or in-person purchases, or MartMoney transfers, payments, loans or advances using mobile phones

Structure of LocalMart
LocalMart (localmart.net) is an umbrella organization that is setting up a network of local affiliates - e.g.
                       LocalMart-YourTown.com
                       LocalMart-NearbyTown.com
                       LocalMart-FarAwayTownInYourCountry.com
                       LocalMart-FarAwayTownInAnotherCountry.com
(Note that localmart has a .net suffix and that the local affiliates have a .com suffix.)
Each local affiliate is run by a local administrator who operates the local site, reviews applications for memberships and assists members to become providers by identifying or developing suitable sustainable products or services to offer.  The local administrator also assists providers in setting up their sites in the LocalMart store, and sells advertising to providers.  The local administrator receives compensation from this advertising revenue. 

LocalMart.net sets up the local affiliates, assists the local administrators, and promotes the LocalMart concept.  Through its support of Better World Workshop, LocalMart contributes to the conception, development and dissemination of ideas for sustainable products and services that can be produced on a local level.  Importantly, LocalMart processes transactions and maintains MartCard account balances for all members of all local affiliates.  LocalMart receives revenue from the franchising of local affiliates, from sharing of local affiliate advertising revenue, and from fees charged if and when members convert their MartMoney back to dollars.

More Information
You can find more information about LocalMart on the Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) and in the User's Manual (User's Manual)  Also, the following are links to a LocalMart affiliate site and to the LocalMart Store (both currently in the test mode).  You must become a member in order to view the full contents of these sites, but the Home page displays many of the features, and some of the links are functional for non members. 
www.localmart-lamorinda.com

LocalMart Store

Joining or Starting a LocalMart Affiliate
We welcome your application for membership in one of the affiliate sites.  (See Affiliates - List and click on the affiliate of your choice and in the upper right corner, click on "Sign Up".)   We also welcome your interest in starting a LocalMart affiliate in your own town or city (Contact Us).
 

Contact Us:  info@localmart.net

 

View a LocalMart Affiliate Site  
Members only site but many of the features and links are viewable for non members
 
View the LocalMart Store
Members only site but many of the features and links are viewable for non members
 
Better World Workshop
An incubator for conceiving of and developing ideas for sustainable products and services that individuals or small businesses can provide on a local level 
Micro Lending Network
Microloans for the establishment of sustainable products and services that can be offered on the local level