By Lauren Gellatly, Director of Operations + Interim Executive Director beginning January 1, 2021
For the last 15 years, the team at Lowcountry Local First has stood on the shoulders of a giant. A 5′ 3″ giant who sparked the local movement across the Lowcountry.
Thanks to her, farmers markets have popped up in nearly every neighborhood.
Thanks to her, it is considered a given that local restaurants will buy from local producers and highlight local flavors.
Thanks to her, a new generation found the passion and learned the business of farming.
Thanks to her, there was never an economic development forum where someone didn’t stand up for our homegrown businesses.
Thanks to her, we know that local businesses reinvest three times more back into the local economy.
Thanks to her, we know that investing in many thriving small- and medium-sized businesses rather than a few global corporations creates a more resilient economy and a better place to live.
Thanks to her, we know small is mighty.
Thanks to her, we know business can and should be a force for good.
Thanks to her, aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the best program to follow their dreams of building a business even if they lack investment or the advantages others have had to launch a business.
Thanks to her, we know the stories – the triumphs and the hardships – of the brave, creative, resilient, generous, talented people behind our local business community.
And thanks to her, many bright, talented leaders in our community and beyond have launched and grown careers.
Inspiration is never lacking at Lowcountry Local First. And this kind of leader is rare — very rare. The kind of leader who supports you and challenges you. The kind of leader who delights in seeing you grow and succeed. The kind of leader who fully expects you to work hard, but would never ask you to do something she wouldn’t do herself. The kind of leader who writes a business plan for fun on the weekend to gauge the feasibility of a new program. The kind of leader who always thinks bigger than everyone around her, and then raises all the money to make it happen and does the work to make it amazing.
All the impact up to this point, the movement that provides the glue for this community, the work this organization will do in the future to make lives better and a community stronger, is all tied to the giant that is Jamee Haley, and we are forever grateful.
We will raise a glass, tip our hats and sing her praises on the City of Charleston proclaimed Jamee Haley Day, December 31st, and hope you’ll join us in doing so from wherever you are! Show your gratitude for her the way she would prefer — by always supporting the local businesses in your community and keeping the Local movement moving!