Posts Tagged ‘local’

Slow money can jumpstart your resilient investing plan

Did you hear the joke about why the farmer crossed the road? The punchline is that she wanted to go to the bank to ask about getting a loan. Not very funny, except that by the logic of bankers and Wall Street, the idea that a farmer would qualify for financing might elicit a guffaw or two. Small-scale farming is considered a high-risk, low-return activity that any prudent investor should steer clear of.

And yet, wending their way across the highway to the farm, who’s that? Why, it’s a gaggle of Slow Money investors, taking action on their desire to build local food systems. Are they just being charitable, driven by idealism to donate a bit towards keeping a neighborhood farm alive? Not at all—they actually are investors, doing exactly what a traditional investor does. They are considering their own financial situation and how it fits into their overall portfolio. They are asking lots of questions, getting to know the business, assessing the risks, and looking for ways that not only their money, but their expertise, could help assure the success of their investment. And they are negotiating a deal that works for both parties.

Wall Street “professionals” can’t relate to this new breed of more creative and engaged investors because

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Future Economy: rhetoric or reality?

There seems to be no shortage of “practical visionaries” with big ideas about how we’re reshaping our global and local economies to be more just, ecological, and responsible.  A joint initiative of EcoTrust and e3 (economists for equity and the environment) called Future Economy is producing reports that seek to answer the key question about such initiatives: are they mostly hype and hope, or are they something really new that’s emerging and can make a large-scale difference?

The first minute or so of this video gets at the purpose here:

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Resilient Cities program expanding worldwide

The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program is providing funding to cities from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Amman, Jordan.  A City Resiliency Framework, including twelve “drivers” in four major areas (see illustration) helps each city focus on its particular chronic resiliency challenges, and to set the stage for a nimble response if an acute shock occurs.  As examples: El Paso/Juarez is targeting water supplies as the southwestern drought deepens, while a 2013 mapping project in Kathmandu was reactivated after the recent earthquake to help guide recovery efforts.  From a resilient investing perspective, this effort is centered in Zone 4 (involving a wide range of community organizations as well as municipal agencies and government, which is funded to hire a CRO, or Chief Resilience Officer) and Zone 1 (nonprofit and volunteer efforts) and Zone 6 (habitat, landscape).  So far, two-thirds of the cities have been chosen, with the rest set to be announced later this year.

In looking over their blog, we were especially taken by the post on the mapping project, which jumped from the Kathmandu story to an Indonesian project that worked with an artists collective to map the city of Semarang:

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Local business “pollinators” are revolutionizing economic development

For years, economic development has focused on attracting existing businesses to build or move to your state or city.  A new book from Michael Shuman challenges the track record of multi-million-dollar tax incentives and points instead at the rapid spread of “business pollinators” that spark local business ecosystems to life, creating far more jobs without relying on public funds to do so.  In fact, the fight among several “suitors” for a new factory or a movie production generally doesn’t create any new jobs for the national economy; indeed, existing companies have shown a net loss of jobs in recent years, while new small businesses have been the primary source of new job creation.  We’ve long appreciated Shuman’s efforts to spotlight the powerful effects of what we call the Close to Home investment strategy, and this new book shows the way forward in exciting detail.  Click through for some key excerpts and more info.

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Locavesting website launched

new_logoAmy Cortese just launched and it looks like a great site and a valuable resource. We featured Amy in The Resilient Investor as one of the key champions of local investing and we’re thrilled she’s continuing to document and engage the movement. The website’s tagline is “Local Investing News, Education & Resources,” and that’s indeed what you’ll find—engaging tales of local investing successes, introductions to the many avenues now available to put your money to work in your local community, and topical coverage of key themes, including crowdfunding and growing the local investing ecosystem.

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Community-oriented responses to breakdown

The following initiatives gather a wealth of practical, organizational, and inspirational materials that foster local economies, local culture, and local resilience. Within the resilient investing framework, the work of these groups are—in many ways—both “close to home” and “evolutionary”; we see strong local communities as a key element in a resilient response to any and all future scenarios.

Transition Towns
Transition is a global network of local/regional groups working to build resiliency. While Transition began from the framework of preparing for a post-peak-oil world, the evolution of the movement has led to a wide range of local initiatives that foster local economies, social justice, increased renewable energy, and other projects that, like much in the Close to Home strategy, offer powerful contributions to any possible future scenario.

Transition United States compiles news and resources; also includes a map of the over 150 active Transition Town initiatives in the US.

Transition Network is the global Transition resource center.

Resilient Communities
A project from the UK that shares some roots with the Transition Network. In the words of founder John Robb, a resilient community produces the food, energy, water, things, and incomes it needs locally. Visit website.

Peak Prosperity / Crash Course
Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website is dedicated to helping readers to understand and prepare for the many huge changes that are underway in the areas that Martenson calls “the 3 E’s” – economy, energy and environment. It’s a member-supported site (charging a monthly membership fee) that also contains a deep and wide offering of resources available to all. While somewhat more oriented toward breakdowns that we may be, the resources he offers are a close complement to the fundamental thinking behind our resilient investing planning. Includes practical resources, blogs, and group discussions.

The Crash Course is a series of free video courses that provide context for the many complex challenges in today’s world that promise to bring great change in years ahead. A book and DVD are also available.

Dark Mountain Project
Dark Mountain is a loose network of writers, artists, philosophers, and others who generally see some degree of environmental and/or economic collapse to be likely in the coming decades, and efforts to reform the system as essentially spitting into the wind. In response, many in the Dark Mountain community consider it more constructive to devote their energy to fostering local and regional cultures, with an emphasis on practical skills, arts, events, and stories for a new time, and developing an historical understanding of the kinds of stories and thinking that led us astray.

Dark Mountain website. Includes in-depth essays from many contributors, and links to Dark Mountain’s series of book-sized journals, each one rich with historical reflection, interviews, fiction, poetry, and visual arts.

Article: NY Times Magazine feature on Paul Kingsnorth and xxxx, two key figures in the Dark Mountain Project.

Article: Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. A good introduction to the thinking behind Dark Mountain; the first of three annual essays published by Orion by co-founder Paul Kingsnorth.

Audio trialogue between Kingsnorth, David Abram, and Lierre Keith, responding to the themes of Kingsnorth’s essay.

Interview with Paul Kingsnorth, from Orion.


SEE ALSO our page on What is Resilience?

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Growing Power: creating urban community food centers

Community Food Centers are local places where people can learn sustainable ways to grow, process, market and distribute food. One multi-pronged example is Growing Power, which has farms and related projects in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison. Their website describes the Milwaukee facility as “a wonderful space for hands-on activities, large-scale demonstration projects, and for growing a myriad of plants, vegetables, and herbs. In a space no larger than a small supermarket live some 20,000 plants and vegetables, thousands of fish, and a livestock inventory of chickens, goats, and bees.” Visit the Growing Power website.

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Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Waste to Wealth program

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance sponsors a Waste to Wealth program that helps communities turn waste into resources. This program collaborates with businesses, activists, and policymakers to reduce waste generation and provide community development opportunities through reuse, recovery, and re-manufacturing of “waste” materials and their byproducts. The website includes examples, lists of partners, and lots of resources. Visit website.

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