SUSSEX COUNTY-The Sustainable Business Network of the Ridge and Valley, along with Genesis Farm, are co-convening "People, Planet, and Profit", a conference on July 23, at the Blair Academy in Blairstown. Regional businesses and the public are all invited to attend. "The quality of life in northern New Jersey is something that concerns us all, but it seems that many of the issues that affect our quality of life are out of our control," says Linda Gibler, of Genesis Farm. The Sustainable Business Network of the Ridge and Valley was formed to help empower businesses, individuals, and non-profits to regain some control over these issues. Made up of a diverse group of individuals, it is looking to increase its membership. The term, the Ridge and Valley, refers to the geographic region of northern New Jersey defined by the Appalachian mountain ridge and the great limestone valley beneath it. The network is a regional chapter of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. A local living economy, the network affirms, ensures economic power resides locally, sustaining healthy community life and natural life, as well as long-term economic viability. A local living economy, the group says, is about freedom, self-reliance, community, and relationships. The mission of the Sustainable Business Network of the Ridge and Valley is to build a just and sustainable economy in the region by connecting, promoting, and strengthening locally-owned independent businesses which serve the needs of customers, employees, the community, and Earth. The emphasis is local. Based on recent studies, Michael Shuman, author of "Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age", demonstrates how three times as much money is circulated in the local economy when a purchase is made from a locally owned, independent business. The local, independent businesses tend to spend their money locally, whereas the huge corporate chain stores do not. Those who share the values mentioned above, and are concerned about the quality of life in this region, are invited to join the network. To find out more about this initiative, attend the conference on July 23, at the Blair Academy in Blairstown. For details, call Linda Gibler at Genesis Farm, 908-362-7234.