The City Magazine Since 1975

Insider’s Guide

Insider’s Guide
December 2009
Amy Graul and Lowcountry Local First are vocalizing localizing

It’s not often a new resident of only seven months can out-local the locals. But one Baltimore native is doing just that. As the membership and administrative coordinator for Lowcountry Local First (LLF), Amy Graul is leading the way to “localization.”

The 24-year-old witnessed early on the benefits of a self-sustaining community. Graul’s environmental undergraduate degree led her to the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources and environments and a master’s in behavior, education, and communication. There, she learned practical solutions to global issues. “The goal of my master’s project was to envision a society that consumed 80 percent less energy than Americans currently use. My group’s solution: ‘localize’ everything. Residents need to be able to bike to the store, walk to work, and source clothes and food from area businesses.” Now with LLF, Graul educates the public and arranges initiatives including sustainable agriculture efforts and the “Buy Local, Be Local” campaign. She advocates practical, doable lifestyle changes like community supported agriculture plans, whereby residents can purchase shares of a farmer’s harvest and receive fresh, seasonal produce for 12 weeks. “She was intrigued by what we’re doing here to create a strong, sustainable economy through our Buy Local and Sustainable Agriculture initiatives,” says Jamee Haley, executive director of LLF. “Amy is really my right-hand woman. She handles membership, including outreach, programming, and recruitment. She works with me in coordinating events such as Buy Local Week and the 10% Shift, plans for marketing and outreach with farmers, developed this year’s Directory of Local Independent Businesses, and represents LLF at the farmers market.” —Samantha Test