zines need love too!
Boys of Summer: #Boyhood & Rich Hill, are new films about boys in rural America fending for themselves #movies #film  →
Backyard Economy: The Rise of Local Manufacturing Backyard Economy: The Rise of Local Manufacturing

Backyard Economy: The Rise of Local Manufacturing

by Jackie Rangel
December 24, 2011

While supporting artisans and craftsmen is certainly not waning in popularity (nor are we discouraging it), a new, larger-scale force is emerging to keep capital circulating within city limits. It’s no secret that a large number of American manufacturing jobs have been claimed by foreign economies or lost altogether. Thankfully, however, the allure of Made in USA hasn’t disappeared along with them. Increasingly, consumers want even greater geographic specificity when it comes to purchase decisions.

As consumers become more aware of things like supply chains and product origins, the appreciation for local goods has begun to fuel a resurgence in local manufacturing. With traditional outlets like farmers markets and platforms like Kickstarter already inviting individuals to invest in their backyard economies, the support network for local manufacturing industries is growing. This is an inspiring reality, and proof that people want to put their spending power to use in shaping their community’s identity. 

Consumption is a powerful tool when it comes to cultivating a sense of place, and two grassroots organizations—SFMade and Made in N.Y.C.—are harnessing it to bolster their respective local economies. Nurturing the development of a lively manufacturing sector is a win-win: Manufacturers develop a network and learn from each other, while consumers are encouraged to identify with and purchase products made in their communities.

Recognizing that this type of support is also needed among existing manufacturing sectors in cities across the country, SFMade Executive Director Kate Sofis and New York-based Pratt Center Director Adam Friedman launched the Urban Manufacturing Alliance in June 2011 to expand the concept to other urban locales in the near future. 

Big-box retailers, be warned.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Nat W.

Join the discussion
  • This Tree Produces Forty Types of Fruit The living, edible art of Sam Van Aken's grafted stone fruit experiment
    Maxwell Williams
  • Dear 14-Year-Old Me The intuitive, emotional side of yourself guides your experiences and shapes how you learn. You grasp information viscerally, which can make traditional schooling a little bit harder for you.
    Tiffany Persons
  • Danish Architects Reimagine the Zoo The search for a more ethical wildlife park
    Caroline Pham
  • Learning to Farm Fish Responsibly Breakthroughs in aquaculture are winning over longtime skeptics.
    Kelly McCartney
  • Stories for Boys Sundance-winner Rich Hill picks up where Linklater left off.
    Joshua Neuman
  • The Human Side of Spam Spanish photographer Christina de Middel smudges fact and fiction with her staged images of Russian widows and Nigerian lawyers in distress.
    Caroline Pham