BALLE announced today its second cohort of BALLE Local Economy Fellows, which includes visionaries and innovators from coast to coast who are working in food and social justice, rural and urban farming, economic development, retail, and every industry in between. They were selected through referrals and support from some of the most respected and well-known organizations in the field: Ashoka, New World Foundation, Rising Tide Capital, Rutgers Social Innovation Institute, Social Venture Network,and Surdna Foundation. These sixteen new fellows are localizing food systems, reversing long-term unemployment trends, and transitioning the workforce toward new economy jobs in communities from Detroit to Oakland to Appalachia to Vancouver.
Thanks to the visionary support of partners like The NoVo Foundation, Surdna Foundation, The Monitor Institute, RSF Social Finance and others, BALLE is resourcing The BALLE Local Economy Fellows to spur growth locally, the right way — taking into account what human beings need in order to thrive, and feel safe, seen and valued.
"We are thrilled to welcome these innovators and entrepreneurs to the BALLE community and look forward to the impacts they will have on our work and our communities." - Michelle Long, Executive Director, BALLE
As a society, we are standing at the threshold of possibility for a new economy based on real prosperity and resilient communities. Collaborating with other dreamers to map out the potential of our future and how we get there is not only an amazing opportunity, it is the work of our generation."
-Toby Barazzuol, Board Chair; Strathcona Business Association;
President, Eclipse Awards, Vancouver, BC
Real prosperity is the foundational principle of the New Economy movement. It embodies the belief that a more equitable and sustainable future will be harnessed through the active participation and creative contributions of all members of our community, not corporations.”
- Sarah Bishop, Executive Director, Buffalo First, Buffalo, NY
The timing for Detroit is crucial. Folks in the justice world are eager to build a local cooperative economy to take us past the failed auto industry. Now is a ripe time to step into learning and I am committed to Detroit - I want to be here and I want to be a part of how this city transforms.”
Real prosperity is when all the people in a community have enough healthy food to eat, satisfying employment, time with their families and friends, and a quality environment to enjoy. The Native Hawaiians have a concept “waiwai”, which literally translates as “water water”, but the meaning is wealth—a real prosperity grounded in collective responsibility for natural resources and the community.”
-Andrea Dean, Owner, Sustainable Initiatives LLC; Executive Director, Hawai'i Alliance for a Local Economy (HALE), Kapaau, HI
Edmonton has a history of peaks and valleys, boom and strained times due to our natural resources’ industries. Recently, we have seen the big impact that comes from a dip in the ‘world’ price of oil, and especially how it impacts our workforce situation. Studies show that there is a growing trend towards choosing a place to live versus just seeking career opportunities. So, we need to be competitive in our retention and attraction of skilled people on the basis of being a great place to live. I was born in Edmonton, and have lived here all of my life. Since I was introduced to Jessie Radies and the benefits of a local economy, I have become very passionate about this cause. It is written all over my face (according to family and friends) – I feel transformed, and I am having a ton of fun.”
- John Ennis, Economic Development Officer, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Edmonton, AB
In ten years, I imagine that “a healthy and self-reliant local economy” to be such a widely understood vision and shared value that it is a fundamental consideration in every deliberation, big and small. The question “How will this choice support or undermine our goal for a healthy, self-reliant local economy?” will be at the forefront of everything from consumer purchases and who we vote for, to business decisions, government policies, and educational priorities.”
I firmly believe that our communities underestimate their assets and abilities to create economic opportunities. I believe a movement needs to occur to not only raise awareness but spur action to commit to building strong local communities. Having a family of entrepreneurs, I understand the power that they can have in changing the economic landscape. [I want to] challenge our region to step up to a new level by bringing a national discussion to the Appalachian Ohio region.”
- Angie Hawk Maiden, President/CEO, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, Athens, OH
Real prosperity means being rich in spirit, in community, and in shareable material resources. [This is] real-life boot camp I wanted to take our work in the Oakland food system to the next level!"
Real prosperity occurs when local businesses and institutions generate wealth through building transformative relationships with their clients and communities. When we invest in innovations, products, and programming that push our clients and communities to transform their values, perceptions, and behaviors toward community benefit, true prosperity can be achieved and sustained.”
The work of local living economies is ROOT CHANGE work. It’s necessary for survival and establishment of equity, and yet hopeful not angry. It has held my attention for eight years; [I believe in] successful, world‐class, joyful and replicable programs that retain local dollars, increase recirculation of those dollars, and redistribute them to businesses that give back and to individuals that are disenfranchised.”
- Erin Kilmer-Neel, Director, East Bay Sustainable Business Alliance;
Partner, One PacifcCoast Bank Foundation, Oakland, CA
Real prosperity is the ability of a community to build and share wealth – the kind of wealth that provides for the needs of people while nourishing the social, environmental, and governance systems that sustain us. In other words, real prosperity builds real community, allowing people and systems that thrive.”
- Mickki Langston, Cofounder and Executive Director, Mile High Business Alliance, Denver, CO
Real prosperity is a like a healthy ecosystem, it’s a state of dynamic equilibrium where a community continually adapts to meet the needs of its members, provides pathways to success for everyone, and gradually increases community wealth for future generations.”
- Matt Raker, Vice President of Entrepreneurship & AdvantageGreen, AdvantageWest, Asheville, NC
I was inspired by Judy Wicks at a conference years ago and have been involved with the BALLE movement ever since. BALLE provides a much"needed place for sharing stories, successful models and research. It provides a roadmap for moving from our current economic path to a new model that supports communities and allows people to act on their values. Through the fellowship, I hope to achieve a stronger organization, to stimulate partnerships for stronger regional action on local economic development, and create strong relationships with other local economy builders across North America.”
I envision utilizing the demographic trend of farmworkers to push back against the trend of consolidation in our food system. In the next five to ten years, we can establish...farmworkers and young farmers in becoming the next generation of farmers. We have not seen a surge of new farms in this country since public land was divided freely though the homesteading acts. We are and will continue to influence federal funding through the Farm Bill to essentially provide for today’s beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers the level of opportunity that the Homestead Act provided decades ago.”
- Sarita Schaffer, Director; Cofounder, Viva Farms, a project of GrowFood;
Regional Coordinator, WSU Immigrant Farming Program, Mount Vernon, WA
I grew up in Watts. In my family, my brothers were arrested, we had about 31 members in prison and I was the only one in college. When I went to South Africa in 2001, I realized that the struggle against oppression and violence was a larger problem and when I stood in front of Nelson Mandela's cell, I committed my life to social justice.”
-D'Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director/CEO, Social Justice Learning Institute,
Urban Agriculture Enterprises, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
I have an intense interest in…strategies to reduce economic leakage from Detroit’s African American community [and] in contributing to the development of a more vibrant local economy.”
- Malik Yakini, Executive Director, Detroit Black Food Security Network, Detroit, MI
For all the pandering to the coal industry that took place during campaign season, a casual observer could be forgiven for coming away with the belief that coal is still the most powerful economic and political force in Appalachia. The truth, though, is quite different: Coal’s contribution to Appalachian economies is already a shadow of what it once was; as the best seams are exhausted and coal gets more expensive to mine, its future in the region has never looked bleaker.
This decline is good news, of course, for the climate, the local environment, and the health of Appalachian residents. But, in the near term, it’s tough news for an already struggling regional economy.
So what happens when Appalachia is coal country no more? What will it take to build a new economy in a region that has been defined by the unsustainable extraction of natural resources (including natural gas and poorly managed timber in addition to coal)?
Localshops1 brings together more than 100 local businesses and community organizations for the third annual Shopapalooza, a way for Tampa Bay area retailers to get their products out and not lose clientele to Black Friday.
The event took place in downtown St. Petersburg and attracted an estimated crowd of more than 5,000, kicking off the holiday shopping season by keeping it local.
Dan and Ben Miller began tugging two years ago at a simple question they believe is central to the failings of the American real estate industry.
The brothers – sons of a well-known Washington, D.C. developer – had begun acquiring properties themselves in the city’s emerging neighborhoods where traditional capital seldom goes. Real estate developments are typically financed by wealthy investors who live in the suburbs, or by Wall Street funds even farther away. In a neighborhood like Washington’s H Street Northeast corridor, this means that local projects often can’t find backing, or that far-flung investors put up safe, formulaic products in their place: say, "the glass shiny office/condo building that’s horrible," Dan Miller says, grimacing.
This model – with its broken connection between a neighborhood’s desires and its investors' bottom line – seemed to the brothers illogical. Why couldn’t people in the community invest in real estate right next door? Why couldn’t the Millers raise money to purchase a property on H Street from the very people who live there? The neighborhood is a quirky mix of barbershops and hip beer gardens. It’s not the kind of place that investors from wealthy Chevy Chase, Maryland, quite get.
Hello Localist! Welcome to the December edition of our monthly newsletter, the place for all things Local and the best business strategies to connect with other leaders, share your success stories, and engage with the BALLE community. We are so excited about all of the activity across our community with Buy Local Campaigns happening during this holiday season. We hope your holidays are magical.
BALLE Live! Webinar Series
Community Capital: Tues, December 11, 2012, 10:00am PT : Invest Local Ohio: A Revolving Loan Fund Supporting Local Businesses Through Unaccredited Investors with Steve Fireman, General Council and President, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). Learn about this interesting revolving loan fund in Columbus that provides loans to small businesses... Read More | Register Now*
Local First: Thurs, December 13, 2012, 10:00am PT : Next Generation Local Purchasing: Jumpstarting Local Procurement by Anchor Institutions with Ted Howard, Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative, and Walter Wright, Project Director of the Greater University Circle Community Wealth Building Initiative, The Cleveland Foundation. Learn best practices from the architects of Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives: a unique approach to economic development encouraging anchor institutions to include locally owned businesses for large contracts... Read More | Register Now*
Can't attend? Don't worry, register and we’ll send you the link to the webinar recording and materials to view on your own time.
*Register for three or more webinars in any of our series and receive 20% off your total registration! For more information about pricing see our Member Benefits.
BALLE Fellow, Vicki Pozzebon, has founded a new Localist food-systems network called Delicious New Mexico to connect, nurture, and expand the New Mexico food business community. By building connections, and supporting innovation and best practices, Delicious New Mexico is facilitating collaboration between New Mexico food growers and suppliers to create a strong, sustainable regional food economy.
Welcome New BALLE Members! Abundance Cooperative Market • Raphael Souchier • Nancy Gottovi and Central Park NC • Jeanne Leckie and the Leckie Group • April Merrill and Coastal Mountain Creative • Sandy Wiggins • Nancy Bradley and RelyLocal
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN COMMUNITIES
What’s working for Localists in your town? Here’s a glimpse of some of the work that is happening in your communities.
Back-of-the-Napkin to Start Up
Long-time BALLE Conference attendee, Donna Isaacs, has launched a crowdfunding effort for a new venture based on her victorious entry from the 2012 BALLE Conference Back-of-the-Napkin Business Plan Competition. Named The Green Agora, Isaacs’ combination business incubator, food hub and local marketplace is the manifestation of her years of experiences in the BALLE community. Check out this interview with Donna on the Detroit Tour.
Local First Milwaukee is Happening Local First Milwaukee has taken the Localist movement to the next level in their community, with a new website that serves as a powerful information and resource hub for local businesses and community-members. Local First Milwaukee has also commissioned a new study from Civic Economics, adding more proof points to the case for buying local. Congrats!
It's an exciting time at BALLE as we're expanding our team to meet the growing interest in Localism. Check out our current job postings and apply, or send rock-star candidates our way!
Welcome New Staff
Welcome to Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, who will join the BALLE team in February, 2013 as our Director of Fellowship and Alumni. And we're thrilled that Pamela Chaloult has recently accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer for BALLE!
Have you signed up for the BALLE Blog? It's a great place to hear insightful ideas, newsworthy trends, and highlights and impacts from our partners, our Fellows, and Localists around the country. Check out our latest post featuring BALLE Live! webinar speaker and local procurement expert, Kimber Lanning's sure-fire tips for making the case for local suppliers to procurement pros. Read all about it and sign up now!
You can expect the Buzz to land in your mailbox the first week of each month. BALLE members should send 50-word submissions by the 15th of each month for inclusion in the next edition. We will do our best to include your item in the newsletter and/or on our website.
Our social media channels are humming with Localist action. Be sure to follow us on Facebook so that you don’t miss a beat. Remember that we’ve moved to /BeALocalist so like us there!
When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.
For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.
Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.
But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.
Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.
A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.
The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.
Our world is out of balance, and this imbalance shows up in countless ways: in our relationship to the natural environment, in our economic systems, in inequities between people, in our schools and communities.
The roots of the imbalance started long ago. So long that many just assume “this is how life is.” The Western concepts of Manifest Destiny and survival of the fittest have propelled us into a “race to the top,” with no end in sight. Should we believe that if a few win and everyone else loses, it is because the winners are morally and intellectually superior and the losers are weak? Should the interests of the few determine the fate of the planet?
This is not what we believe at the NoVo Foundation. We imagine a world that can become much more balanced, equitable, and sustainable. We are dedicated to helping catalyze this change.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The idea of building a year-round public market to tie the city’s skilled chefs to the region’s big complement of young farmers had already attained an air of inevitability by the time this Midwestern city held its first Restaurant Week three summers ago.
Next year, just in time for the fourth annual Restaurant Week, Grand Rapids is scheduled to open the $30 million, 130,000-square-foot Downtown Market, a destination that is expected to attract 500,000 visitors a year. The three-story brick and glass building, under construction in a neighborhood of vacant turn-of-the-20th century warehouses, is intended by its developers to be a state-of-the art center of commerce for the culinary arts and fresh local foods.
It is also seen as having the potential to accomplish much more.
In the spirit of using less fuel and supporting local farms and food artisans, we challenge you to try a 100-mile Thanksgiving. A 100-mile Thanksgiving uses ingredients sourced from within 100 miles of your dinner table. Think of it as an opportunity to celebrate local food, rather than an obligation to source every last ingredient from within 100 miles. Food miles, or the amount of miles a certain product has traveled to its final destination, are an important consideration when trying to reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of oil and gasoline used in making a meal.
"Buy American" is a great message. An even better one may be “Buy Marquette, Michigan.” Or “Buy Las Cruces, New Mexico.” Or “Buy Davidson, South Carolina.”
Entrepreneurs Laury Hammel and Judy Wicks launched the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to inspire and support companies trying to keep transactions within their geographic communities. That can mean restaurants buying from local farmers; construction companies buying from local shingle manufacturers; or restaurants, farmers, construction companies and shingle makers teaming up to market to local consumers. Wicks and Hammel talked to Inc. Editor-at-Large Leigh Buchanan about their crusade to keep dollars and jobs at home.