“What if I got a bunch of people to live local with me? What if businesses gave incentives to people that participated? How much can our community grow when we challenge each other in a fun way?”

Those are the questions that started LiveLocalKW in 2014. I was walking home one day, thinking about how I’d use the @PeopleofKW rocur account to do something unique when the idea hatched in my brain. I hoped that I’d at least convince a handful of businesses and maybe 50 people to join me in a week where we only bought local foods, shopped at local businesses and hung out in local spaces.

The challenge was accepted by KW in an incredible way. With only one month of planning, we had 150 participating individuals and over 45 local businesses participate and I spent a total of $0 executing and maintaining the challenge. We had local media coverage from Rogers Daytime20, 570 News, The Community Edition and The Cord as well as local blogs.

In it’s second year, I recruited 7 sponsors so we could put some money into marketing and a better website. This paid off big – the challenge doubled to 310 participants and 80 businesses. 15 media outlets and local bloggers picked up our story and we made a video with Mayor of Waterloo, Dave Jaworksy and Mayor of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic. Local artist and dear friend, Janice Lee wrote the theme song.

Why do I do it? Because mixing friend circles is my jam. Never one to shy away from inviting everyone I know to a party, I want KW to meet KW and make new friends.

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