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    Stacy Mitchell, 39
    Senior Researcher
    Institute for Local Self-Reliance

    Stacy Mitchell, 39, is one of the founders of Portland Buy Local, as the Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance is generally known. She is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a national group based in Minneapolis, (Mitchell telecommutes) and a published author whose “Big Box Swindle,” (Beacon Books, 2007) was one of Booklist’s top 10 business books of the year.

    In the book, she “builds a compelling case that communities of locally owned businesses are healthier and more prosperous than those dominated by a few large chains,” Mitchell’s nominator writes.

    “Swindle” continues to sell well, and has drawn rave reviews. “This is the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country – the replacement of local businesses, and all they represent, with the big boxes. What ‘Nickel and Dimed’ did for the Wal-Mart worker, Stacy Mitchell does for the community threatened by mega-retailers,” wrote “The End of Nature” author Bill McKibben.

    Mitchell notes that the Portland organization is a volunteer effort and, “although it covers some of the same kinds of issues,” is not related to her full-time work for the Institute. As an author and professional researcher, she has spoken at conferences and events around the United States and in the United Kingdom.

    Mitchell graduated third in her class at Deering High and went on to Macalester College, where she majored in history. She explains that she and her husband, Jake Halpert, moved back to their hometown because they “missed the grand quality of the Maine landscape ... We love being back in Portland, living on Munjoy Hill, being able to walk everywhere. “It’s also great to see that we’ve moved towards a more resilient and locally-focused economy. I’m encouraged by the growth of local farms and renewable energy.”

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