On Friday, December 14, BALLE announced 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
Get to know the new BALLE Local Economy Fellows!
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.”
- Harper SE Bishop, Buffalo Common Council, City of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Real prosperity is an abundance of wealth, health, and spirit, co-created and shared by all in a community, and sustained over time."
- Jess Daniel, Co-founder, FoodLab, Detroit, MI
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.”
- Christine Hanna, Director, Seattle Good Business Network, Seattle, WA
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.”
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!"
- Nikki Silvestri, Executive Director, Green For All, Oakland, CA
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.”
- James Johnson-Piett, Principal/CEO, Urbane Development LLC, New York, NY
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.”
- Amy Robinson, Executive Director, LoCo BC, Vancouver, BC
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