Organizational Capacity Building

Candace LaRue and Associates

#nei2012 Gar Alperovitz. Our Time in History: The Possibility of Fundamental System Change

Summary of the last plenary of the conference – Gar Alperovitz and Alisa Gravitz, Our Time in History: The Possibility of Fundamental System Change

Introductions by Neva Goodwin.

Gar Alperovitz

We are beginning to get a sense that, just possibly, this is an historical occasion. Movements have moments, when they come together somehow, and people sense, just possibly, something shifted. This meeting, by change, by design, by hope, by inspiration, by knowledge, is possibly that moment. It is a time we will say, decades from now, I was there when it started. Just possibly we are laying the foundations for the next great transformation of a vast society, this may be the Pre-history when we lay the foundations of what make it possible for us to move “beyond”. That is a “heavy rap.” That existential question is at the heart if what we are talking about.

Secondly, we do not have any economic problem whatsoever in the United States. We have a massive political, institutional problem on how to manage the wealthiest economy there has every been. It is our problem as citizens who have not learned to manage the economy. There is $192,000 for every family of four, if divided equally. Over the last century, there was a 6 – 7 fold increased in wealth. If we cut the work week to 20 hours, we could still produce almost $100k for every family of four. This is our problem.

The period we have gone through until the mid 70s and 80s was the period when most people believed that the way forward was something like a pendulum or cyclical program. It would swing back and forth but would advance. We thought that things like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act would continue. But now we will not continue on that same tract, on that system. By and large that system allowed the institution of the large corporation to dominate the economy, balanced by politics (liberalism). At the heart of that system, we know, was the labor movement. That was the muscular institution without which you could not elect liberal congressmen or pass liberal legislation. That institution gave enough power to regulate, tax, and reform to a substantial degree. But the labor movement is dying before our eyes in the US. At its peak, 35% of Americans were unioinizex – not it is around 9%-11% and declining. Powers, like collecting dues, are being taken away. This is an institutional power base at the core of a whole regime of programs, and the structure is dying. Times will get worse before they get better. At the core of decline is an institutional problem, including many complex aspects such as racism.

what does that mean?

Obviously, we need to build a new movement, working with each other, reaching across boundaries. W need to build new institutions that can give power and muscle institutionally to our movement, we shall not overcome.

We have lived with two models of change. One is the pendulum swings – that one is decaying. The other model was system collapse and revolution. The second model, in this particular system in our time in history, is also unlikely. The government floor under the economy has increased, and eventually even the most conservatives become Keynesians and use the government to keep the economy from collapse. We tend to “remember the future” and this is a system that neither reforms or collapses in traditional terms. It is stalemated in the political power balances, and stagnating economically. Stalemate, stagnation, and decay – what an odd moment in history.

A paradoxical dynamic is that people wake up and say things like “something is really wrong”. They begin to say there is a profound problem, and we need to think there is something wrong. Climate change is only one part of it – unemployment is also critical. That moment when pele think something is wrong is a critical moment in history. Momentum and power matter more than ideas – except for sometimes, like when people know something is wrong and they want answers that make sense. This period is one where rethinking is possible. Being open to something new, looking at new projects, experiments, and ideas are all possible. An ongoing period of this kind allows us to learn and develop the new way forward where a collapse would not. A period of time where we can develop new things to become institutional, power, preliminaries of the next thing that we build.

The Cleveland model is one example produced through stagnation, stalemate, and decay. Oh has experienced this even earlier than the rest of the country, with the closing of steel mills. The steel workers and religious coalition said they should take over the steel mill and run it themselves. They created a plan, supported by the Carter administration, with a model that would have worked. They were promised a $100 million loan to do it, but they knew that might not come to fruition. They knew they needed to build the idea up even if they lost their battle. The national corporations and steel union went to Washington and fought against them, and the Ohio steelworkers did not get their money. But, in the state of Ohio, you will find more worker-owned companies than elsewhere, with a center at Kent State university to support this model. Nothing else was working, so people had to innovate or it would go down. The Cleveland model is built on a group of large scale worker owned corporations linked by revolving funds loans and a community non-profit, supported by the institutions left to us as the decay goes on, such as hospitals and community colleges. The model is not simply worker ownership, it is a community building strategy. The goal is also for companies to be green as possible. It has grown out of an evolutionary model and structure. It is being implanted in many cities now. A failure in a period of stagnation where nothing else is working, but that is innovated, can become a wealth-building model. Now the steel union is promoting worker ownership and co-ops. Other unions are changing their model to build institutions as well.

Models are beginning to evolve to build institutions as well as cultures and ideas. Our time in history is the time of the Pre-history, if we are self-conscious of who we are and what we are doing, Ideas matter sometimes, including ideas about who we think we are. Imagine yourself not as an activist, researcher, community builder, but as someone who is building history – an historical actor. My Heros in a different realm are the civil rights workers in mississippi in the 30-40s, when it was tough. They laid the foundations for a movement whose time came later.

There is a legacy to build on of institutions that allow us to displace power. For instance, in Cleveland, major corporations want something around $100-$200k to come in, and then they often leave. The mayor is in a difficult position because of the need for jobs. If these resources are voted to alternatives, and the political base is powerful, the corporations can be displaced. There are 130million Americans involved in credit unions and other co-ops. A credit union is a 1 person 1 vote bank. Why not use the power of credit union assets to build community – no one goes to the credit union board meetings, but people can come to the meetings and take over the credit union. People are building a structure to use these assets. Building up power allows you to displace institutions that have come before. Let’s build institutions that go in the way we want to go and give us the power to slowly displace corporations, build a better future with culture, ideas, and real on the ground institutions. Examples of institutional structure include around oil, health care, banking…when the health care system tilts, that will be a big piece moving in our direction.

We know there will be more banking crises, and when they go down they will be propped up probably the next time around. The big fish will eat the little fish, and we will be back to where we are. If the government is paying for it, then why not make the banking system public? W have not addressed the issue of scale. We like the little stuff and community stuff. We need to address what we think about scale. There are lots of good small businesses, and some good large businesses. What is their role in the next system? The problem is that businesses must grow, because otherwise they will be cut down by Wall Street. Ally business people will not stop the growth system. You cannot control the location of large corporations. Cities are being thrown away when corporations leave, because people follow them. That movement is very wasteful. You cannot do sustainability planning in unstable cities. What do you do about the “big guys”? You cannot control them with the old ones. They may need to be taken over, looking to some models from around the world and the New Deal.

That is our problem. We need to think in the next system, as we evolve toward it, what do we do about large corporations? There are good guys and allies, but they must grow.

Younger people are beginning to shed the stuff the grey hairs in the audience grew up with. They are not held back by the beliefs that there is no alternative to corporate capitalism. We are creative, localist, centralized odd birds and we create unique evolutionary reconstruction that is authentically American. We have a shot at building the basis of our next system. Possibly because of the paradox in our system we have the possibility of moving past models in Europe. We have the disability of a process building over time to lay down the institutional and cultural foundations that overcomes in our time in history.

There is a problem. The price is decades of your life. If you want to play “transform the system” those are the chips you have to throw on the table.


Spines to Gar.

What are the conditions for a just and sustainable society? There was a study group by Gar in DC on this topic. What are the conditions that would help make the change possible? Alisa brought her sister to the study circle about justice, and her sister was quiet the whole time. Later she said “I never thought about my conditions of change in my theory of change,” although she had been making change her whole life. It is important to understand that different people have different way of thinking about and doing these things.


Because modern economic systems a built on growth, there is an important difficulty. Economic actors must grow. We all know the dangers of exponential growth – that is what cancer is. When it comes to energy, fisheries, industrial agriculture – these resources cannot grow. There will be an economic cycle with oil because peak oil per capita has already happened. Every time the economy heats up there will be a “smack down” with oil prices, perhaps every 3 to 5 years. The economy must grow, and the economy cannot grow.


It does take a movement. We are not starting a New Economy movement, but we are accelerating the movement. We have to think very intentionally about movements. What are the transformative or meta-strategies for change so we can collaborate because we need many strategies and many gifts. There are many simultaneous roles that are needed.

1. Hospice the old destructive system…and thank people for their service. Many industries, like the coal industry, are winding down. We need to thank the coal miners for their service, give them a pension, and not replace those jobs.

2. Create and scale the new, living systems happening simultaneously around the world.

3. Build lifelines from the old to the new – find places for the new generation in the new systems.

4. Tell the new stories. The individual things going on 20 and 30 years ago are connected in different communities. We don’t have sustainable food projects, we have sustainable food systems. If we continue on the path we are on with solar, we can have 50% world solar energy by 2042. W have to tell these stories.

5. Nurture consciousness change and collaborative leadership.

Remember: The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.

A challenge: how do we help people think about systems when we are wired to think linearly and about the presence, not the future? She shared the story of a woman who adopted a child in her 40s, and who said she understood the fierce love of a parent. She knew what she needed to do for her health, to prepare for the future, but she still was not doing it. What does that say about our ability to address climate change? If a trusted physician tells you that you have a serious disease, but you can improve your chances for quality and quantity of life, only about 12% will make the changes. There is something elemental and primal going on, and we need to figure out how to deal with this. As we are designing systems and collaborations, we need to think about these issues,

A source of hope: Systems can change very rapidly. The generation of people being born, if they can avoid eating the GMOs, HFCU, BPA, etc, may have a chance to live 150 years. There is a possibility that where we are sitting now in this time…fast change happens when there is a confluence of technology with communication (see “the 3rd Industrial Revolution”). Example of company in Oakland providing solar panels for free…

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#nei2012 Dudley Street Initiative

Tony Hernandez from Dudley Street Initiative, president of Land Trust Board

Jason Welb

Mission: empower Dudley resident to organize, plan for, create and control a vibrant, diverse high quality neighborhood in collaboration with community partners.

Clip from documentary called Holding Ground.

Images of garbage, trash, vacant lots. Houses were being abandoned, and being burned down for insurance money, leading to more vacant lots. The Riley Foundation worked as a small foundation to focus funding on the Roxbury area in Boston, but the original meeting did not have enough input from residents. In a series of meetings, the governance structure was redone to include a majority of residents. Seats were allotted by ethnic group and also to local agencies and housing. Some short campaigns were organized in order to gain quick returns. Vacant lots came up over and over, including issues of garbage dumping. It was difficult to get all the groups involved. Radio shows in other languages were used to mobilize. One month after pledging to clean up the lots, the city provided equipment to clean the lots. There were also demonstrations to keep companies from illegally dumping their garbage. Those successes were a signal of hope. Boston Redevelopment Authority had a concept plan for redevelopment, and there were fears that poor people would be pushed out in order to make way for gentrification. There was a push to include residents in the planning process at the city level. Residents wanted to improve the neighborhood on their own terms, so they hired urban planners who would listen to residents. Eventually the city adopted the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative plan. They also worked to improve other opportunities, including involvement of youth. Young people need to be cultivated. New housing was built on the site of vacant lots, encouraging people to move back home and buy homes. the project succeeds because of the confidence that was built in community members.


It is an every day challenge to continue to build confidence among residents. There was deinvesting and red lining in the community leading to about 20% of sites vacant, along with many brownfields.

There is a real fear of gentrification, being very close to down town. There is a site called the “Dudley Triangle” of 60 acres, 50% Of which is vacant.


The grand vision is a vibrant urban village. Part of this is a strong belief in involving youth as active participants in their community.

There are many processes for collective decision-making within a diverse community. One technique is using sticky notes for visioning, with the goal of consensus.

Two dual goals came up in surveys of quality affordable housing and open space. This led to the creation of Dudley Neighbors, Inc. Community Land Trust.


The community land trust was developed so that DNI could stay separate from the land development. Now, 30 acres are held in trust with a goal of development without displacement. Principals:

Community control over land use
Development without displacement
Permanent housing affordability
Community and family stability
Community and family wealth creation

DNI was able to use powers such as Eminent Domain as a stick to bring owners to the table. The main focus is protection of the land to generate family and community assets. The land is leased to home owners who own the housing, and they are able to get a low mortgage payment. DNI works to connect home owners with opportunities throughout the community. They have also been able to up the requirements for employing residents, people of color, and women in procurement. DSNI has a Board of Directors that is elected ever 2 years, and it has control over the Community Land Trust.


Presented a virtual tour of the neighborhood using SketchUp, demonstrating what has been built through DSNI.


Now, this was inspiring! Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative rocks!

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#nei2012 Building Local Economies

Afternoon plenary:

BALLE: Building Local Economies


The fastest growing network of 30,000+ local entrepreneurs, local business alliances, and local economy funders in North America. Together we are building local economies, city by city, town by town, business by business.

We made a lot of rules along the way that channeled wealth into the hands of a few, and kept us from feeling the results of our own choices. Solving the problem requires thousands of small scale local actions to overcome this. Once a system becomes corrupted, it is difficult to impossible to overcome the corruption. The best way to fix the problem is to create a safe space outside of the dominant system in which something new can grow up. Shell oil has two “most plausible” outcomes – The Scramble, and New Blueprints where local actions would lead to new ideas. They envisioned no plausible scenario where the leaders of the world came together to solve the problems. The two options are to hold on to fundamentalism, or to adopt new ideas and live life as an experiment, trying to imagine and envision health sustainable communities.

BALLE is a network of local businesses – farmers, builders, sustainable power, independent retailers, and local economy funders. There need to be coordinated strategies through philanthropy and investment to build the economy from the ground up.


When there are more local businesses, there is more wealth for more people, more decision-making and accountability, and more purpose in our lives. A higher diversity of locally owned businesses results in higher incomes and jobs. The best unit for decision-making is 5 to 7 people, and businesses of 20 or fewer people networking with other businesses have the best outcomes for communities. As they get larger, corporations develop committees and more voices are dropped out the process. Decision-making is best made by the people who are close to it. Local businesses are more likely to give to local non profits because they know that kid, that block, etc. When people know their purpose in life, it leads them to be happier and healthier. The best thing to do is not to find a job that is “in demand” and will make money.

Ownership matters. Small doesn’t mean small impact. When big has led to violence, then it is a problem. BALLE is supporting business models that are based on preserving the good things about ownership, even when they are large, such as through networks.

Place matters. At the place level, you can encounter the scenarios that allow you to know, understand, and care about what is happening. It is also the place where you can take action. The local places is where the restauranteur says they will use local turnips and bacon, which leads to overcoming challenge and innovation. Many businesses have built their business around the idea that place matters. Tee-shirts, for example, can be made where cotton is grown.

Opportunity matters. In the US, there are 6 black-owned grocery stores throughout the country.. There are no friends and family business-owners to help young black entrepreneurs. We need to adjust how we treat each other.

Nature matters. All wealth comes from nature. Living Building Institute is an example of an organization going beyond LEEDS.

We measure what matters. Maryland is using a genuine progress indicator.

Relationships matter – they matter the most. This is how things change. We make change because of relationships with other people. When something new is emerging, the studies show that the best thing you can do to accelerate that emergence is to identify innovators, connect them to each other, to resource them, and to illuminate their stories so others can see the path they walk upon. It is also time to tap into different kinds of knowing, not just the kind in books.

David Orr

We must challenge conventional thinking of economics, take ideas from the classroom to main street. Oberlin, OH is a town with 28% poverty, 53% of public school students getting free and reduced lunch. The goals are to improve use of renewable energy, local foods, smart growth, new urbanism, and local ownership. How do you succeed from an economy dominated by big oil, agribusiness, and large corporations – remote tyranny.

There is an ecological design and technical revolution. We can grow the economy powered on sunshine and grow food sustainably, but there is a lack of leadership making this into a reality.

In Oberlin, the shops that sell beer, pizza, and coffee are doing well, but others are not. Lots of people know lots of things, but there has not been a systematic approach to revitalization. There is a zero-discarded building on Oberlin campus, which is being used as an example to redevelop a block in downtown as an economic driver and anchor for downtown. The goal for Oberlin is also to get to Carbon neutrality by 2025. The electric supply will be 90% carbon-free by next year. The third goal is to grow 70% of food locally. Most local farms are growing corn and soybeans for animal feed. Fourth, the are working on education so that young people are learning the skills they need for 21st century living.


There are four additional committees. The goal of the project is to break out of these silos, with each component reinforcing the larger pattern. There is environmental sustainability, economic renewal, education, etc, and there needs to be a blurring of these boundaries.

Quotes Donella Meadows essay on Leverage Points. Leverage points are where you intervene in a system. The most effective thing we do is to change world views and the way people think.

Academics are often viewed as boring people. Can we begin to widen the dialogue? Can we re-package the dialogue on sustainability to include the arts, humanities, and sciences in a way that is exciting and engaging. They are reveling an “arts block,” starting with an old hotel. So far Oberlin has invested $53 million in rebuilding the local economy and local businesses.


The goals for the next few years are some construction, a lot of organization, and some business development. Full-spectrum sustainability means that different people will have different opinions on what it means.

What do we do? Change needs to happen at the federal level with a national strategic narrative, through specific policies (such as transportation, smart-growth, and energy), and at the grass roots through sustainable communities, especially networked communities. The challenge is at the local level, but it needs to aggregate to something bigger at the top. We have to do both.

Will Raap

Vermont has been preparing a safe place outside the dominant system to explore. Vermont has the largest per capita small business ownership in the country. Vermonters believe that We are The People. There are town meetings that guide the democratic process, and a citizen legislature where people are not career politicians. Through town meetings, 65 towns ratified the idea of overturning Citizens United Supreme Court decision. We have power when we agree that ownership matters.

Opportunity matters as well. In Vermont there is a combination of Yankee independence and progressive thinking, especially in business models. After an analysis of how to improve the living wage for Vermonters, it was decide that plugging the leaks of value flowing out of the state, there have been big projects using systems analysis (using ReAmp) to change the systems related to food and energy. (see notes from yesterday). Vermont has the highest per capita consumption of local food. Can we double the amount of local food produced in Vermont? Can we have a 50 year plan to develop the New England foodshed so that 80% of local calories come from within this foodshed.

The Energy Action Network follows a similar but different approach working with experts within the energy system, with a goal of 80% of energy coming from renewable sources.

Measure what matters. This is key, and some work has been done on this in Vermont through the Gund Institute pushing the government to use a genuine happiness indicator in the state.

Place and nature matter. Capital must flow to the opportunity to enhance the working landscape. This invests in place and nature, creating jobs with a healthy relationship to place and nature. This process requires an engagement of backbone organizations that understand the process and are able to engage with the tenants of BALLE to continually move the process forward.

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#nei2012 Building Urban Local Economies from the Ground up

WOW this one was fast!

Building Urban Local Economies from the Ground Up
Mary Rowe, David Boyle, and Anne Tate

Anne from RISD

Urban Eden: how do we build resilient, sustainable, beautiful cities? Building a Partnership with Nature for the 21st Century.

There are many things we know how to do, but are not yet doing. Historically, Americans tend to think of nature as wilderness – an “other” thing, there are three concepts – the wilderness, the city, and middle landscapes (sometimes called pastoral). The ideal is cultivated, inhabited, manupulative, productive, and managed. What has been created is wasteful, resource-intensie, low density suburban sprawl.

What comes after the end of nature? There is still no paradigm for what we have when the “wild” nature is gone. There needs to be a more grown up way of thinking about nature that acknowledges how we have changed nature.


“we need to live in cities if we are going to save nature.” — why?

There is a need to shift goals from the highest and best use ($$), one-time value extraction, and private property value. The new goals should be about unique value of a particular place, long term productive capacity, and community value.

In water, there needs to be a shift from protect the material of the city from water, rain, snow, and floods; protecting individuals from water; minimizing the impact of the weather. Nw goals are how to harvest the rain, helping people adapting to weather and keep doing their activities, and celebrate its qualities, ecological, sensory, and theatrical.

There are also goals shifting in food, movement, energy and power, and design goals. With food, the old goals are maximizing supplier’s profit, minimizing the consumer’s inconvenience, and securing year round access.

Wow this presentation was fast! I will try to access the PowerPoint to add to this post.

She finishes with a vision of what the city could be like from her new book.

David Boyle – from NEF

Building Urban local economies from the ground up.

There is a campaign called “Ghost Town Britain” from 2003-2004 – things start to go down slowly in terms of losing small institutions, but then there is a tipping point and all of a sudden changes go much quicker. Likewise, richer communities seem to all look the same because of corporate interests driving economic activity, sometimes called “cloned towns.”

Three points:

– assets are more than monetary
– small scale can be productive
– green cities have a different shape

There is a leaky bucket of monetary assets, and an open question is how to keep money in the community for longer. The assets are often in communities already, but they need to be circulated and used for more efficient projects.

William Cobbet is quoted as a British radical who noted the productivity of small scale growers. The sentiment was echoed in Country Life in 1917.

These points relate to the importance of local pride – the ability of individuals to make things happen, and the value of local distinctiveness.

Green cities have a different shape. Cities in Britain are incredibly dense cities, and there needs to be creative adaptation of cities to improve sustainability.

Mary Rowe from Municipal Art Society of New York

Building Local Urban Economies from the Ground Up

“Cities” and “jobs” barely appear in the program for this organization. This society is fundamentally anti-urban, and “the answer is in cities.”. If we do not start to meet the bulk of the population where they are, then it will not become a serious conversation. Language we use about city is always about “fixing” the cities. Cities are inherently “fabulous” – they are where innovation occur. She was influenced by Jane Jacobs.

enabling self-organization

New Orleans is an example of a city organically rebuilding itself after disaster. Feedback loops are how self-organization happens – fixing leaky buckets is about collecting the feedback loops. People demonstrated resilience and established beacons of home. There are hubs with tight links, which are then linked by loose links.

Some examples of networked economy to use resources efficiently and tighten up excess capacity – United States of Craigslist, AirBnB, loose cubes, Picture the Homeless and analyzing vacant space, Metcalf foundation

notes from questions:

“the tendency is to start with training, but then there are no jobs. So start with the jobs that can be made available instead” – example of Evergreen co-ops in Cleveland

The problem may not be at there is no entrepreneurial spirit, but that the social networks are not bringing the potential entrepreneurs together – see Biz Fizz

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#nei2012 Reclaiming the Commons

Reclaiming the CommonsL creating community agency and ownership of public space

Cynthia from Project for Public Spaces

How do we use shared places to add value to the public realm, but there is no one really in charge of the public space. When we talk about the commons we have a notion of a square, etc, but there are other examples like Broadway and Times Square. Streets and roads are the biggest public space we have. In New York we have worked on turning lanes of traffic into public space. In Times Square, the sidewalks were narrow. There was no place for people to stop, and workers were unhappy. We worked on fantasizing about how to change this, and worked to make changes in Dept of Transportation too. It had been a bottom-up top-down to make improvements in public space – Project for Public Space is her organization.

Turn everything upside down to get it right side up – what is it we need to turn upsides own:

– the way we design cities
– the role of the community – they are usually involved way too late, and asked to respond to solving a problem they did not create.

We start by looking at a place and defining the stakeholders, then we evaluate what is working and what is not working. Community engagement changes the role of the “professionals” to be facilitators, resources, and implemented, but community members are the leaders.

What is a great places? They have uses and activities, and are self-programming. They are inviting spaces where people can do whatever they want to do in the space.


These aspects of the community can be connected by the civic commons, community gathering spaces, and parks. The connections helps to create sustainable communities of the future. For example, in Richmond British Columbia, the Library and Hospital were able to connect to help reach Cantonese-speaking elderly people who are at high risk for diabetes, because the people were taking Calligraphy classes at the Library. There is a lot of economic wealth tied up in these institutions, and we need to pull if forward.

We like to create places where you can be there 18 hours a day, year round. They are linked to other spaces, and are accessible. They are not surrounded by lanes of fast-moving traffic. These conditions create socialibilty. But, you also have to have a core group who want to come together and reclaim the space.


Creating a great space requires many partners, including sometimes unlikely partners. People are often skeptical, until things work. You must be on the ground, working with people, to design things. Things need to be grouped together so that they can share resources visually, physically, and programmatically. Money is not the issue – you have to build the vision first, and then look for funding.

You are never finished – once the space is designed, maintenance and management are ongoing,

What is Placemaking

Developing public spaces that attract people and build community by bringing people together in an open, welcoming place. Architecture impacts the way people are able to come together in public space. There are concentric circles – place, destinations, region/city/town/neighborhood. Every city needs 10 destination, and each destination needs 10 things to do.


PPS has many examples of how this “Power of 10” works in different settings, such as main street and community gardens and farmers markets. In larger “districts” public space attracts people who then use other spaces.

How do we do this with no money and no resources, with diminishing public investment? How do we support entrepreneurs and create sustainable, local development? Example: farm festival in Detroit, build around the business Peaches and Greens. People had the opportunity to give ideas about how to make the block better in a neighborhood with gangs and many problem. There were free events all day with kids, things to do all day, bike clinics, basketball, etc. the most expensive thing was a jumpy castle. There was no police presence, though they knew the event was there. Gang members were able to participate in the project as well. Starting with the place, they worked on design, supported by a community development corporation. Another example is Gabriel’s Warf in London, where backs of warehouses were painted and filled with artists and entrepreneurs at low rent. Dekalb market in Brooklyn uses shipping containers to create space for artists and entrepreneurs. There have been pop-up parks in Brooklyn and San Francisco, also closing streets on weekends for play – this is reclaiming the commons, using what we have, especially streets and roads.


London orchard project – Carina

This project has engaged with 5000 Londoners to plant 36 orchards and distribute 4 tonnes of fruit. The mission is to “develop a skilled community of Londoners to plant, care for, and harvest fruit trees, connecting urban communities and increasing access to fruit.”

One of the strengths of the project is to see the potential for stewardship of the land and public land where there was one. There is some public land that is not a commons because there is no active ownership of the space. The goal is to transform these underused spaces into a focus of the community and a useful space. Additionally there are about 200 neglected and abandoned orchards throughout London. Urban orchards improve the quality of the urban environment, provide food, and create a rich location for public activity. Community gardens can be difficult because they involve restricting access, and there is a question of who is taking care of the land.


Orchards can be the first step towards creating urban foraging environments or “food forests”.

Stewardship requires a community to take care of the land. There is an issue of “who is the community?” in urban environments with high turnover. The community is not just the environmental activists but also the children, the parents, and everyone else. The organization is loose, supporting local groups who want to design local orchards. Each community group has 5 people who are trained on how to look after the orchards, and then there is a planting day which is a festival involving as many as possible. Each orchard has a orchard management plan, and e city has agreed to not change access to the orchard sites. Orchards are also a way to reclaim lost traditions, to learn lost skills, the creation of new mythologies, and celebrate local distinctiveness. There is also a movement to harvest unused fruit and ensure it is distributed to people who will eat it, and they are doing an audit of where fruit trees do exist in London. Growing apples in London also created opportunities for sharing fruit on a local level, and the apples “have a story.”

Alexa from – On the Commons

“Commoning the Commons- community ownership and citizenship in public spaces.”

The current critical moment includes ecological and economic crises, radical dispossession, anti-democratic forces, and a weakened citizenship. It is not clear what will emerge from the current cruises, but we need to confront the reality that we live in a world patterned by individual, private, market interests. We need to engage in creative disruptions in thinking to change the pattern of how we approach decision-making. We need a better concept of “ours.” If we cannot own something, then we can belong to and with it in a rich, living experience. We need real avenues to enact on that.

The Commons – one definition

The commons is an essential form of wealth that we inherit APR create together , and which must be shared in a sustainable and equitable way.

We need to be able to “see” the wealth that is a commons wealth. If we cannot see that, will be able to see dispossession and imagine paths out of that.


The behavior in a commons is interdependent. Historically commons are rooted in societies where well-being is interconnected. We are responsible to the commons and also need to have some standing for governance of the commons. Much of their work is built on the work Eleanor Ostrom, who distinguished between Open-Access resources and the Commons. The sense of Agency in the commons is critical.

Two Projects

Reclaiming vacant lots in Brooklyn

They mapped all the vacant lots in Brooklyn – there are 596 acres of publicly owned vacant lots in Brooklyn. The project is to “common” the commons by improving access to vacant lots.


The process of “commoning” – Believe it is ours, create ownership, engage in stewardship, establish the right to governance.

The Great Lakes

The governance of the Great Lakes is failing to protect the water and people who live on it. The project is to build a Great Lakes Commons movement to change the foundation of decision making about the Great Lakes, including water citizenship, a new commons charter, legal recognitions indigenous leadership, and catalytic leads hip across sector/community/discipline. This is an attempt to take the commons from the neighborhood to a much larger scale.

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#nei2012 Bob Massie Building the Vision

Bright and early back at Bard!

Summary of Bob Massie’s morning Plenary: Building the Vision: Finding Unity in the New Economy

Susan Witt

Those working to build a new economy are not just reading economics, they are reading from all disciplines. The Berkshire office of NEI Shepards the personal writing and library of EF Schumacker, which includes all philosophical and intellectual traditions. When strong values inform the economic in a clear-eyed and sustainable manner, the roots of a sustainable, just system are born. The Schumacker Society published its annual lectures in many topics related to the living, sustainable system. But the Schumacker Society remained small. In 2008, the Schumacker Soceity received unprecedented attention. To build the capacity, they built their partnership with the NEF, built the board of directors, and found a new CEO and President – they found that in Bob Massie.

Bob Massie

Bob gave some introductory remarks and thanks to Susan and others…

Everyone knows that the world is out of balance and has been harmed by our actions, but living within us is a powerful desire for healing of those wounds and restorations. That is what gives us strength. We have a chance to create real change, and I am calling on you to come together to embrace that chance.

There can be no mistake that we are in deep trouble because of our addiction to fossil fuels. The are millions of people who have skills and desire but cannot find work. The disaster of finance is dragging Europe into collapse. This stems from a broken way of living and of thinking. Our systems are our of balance. We have reason for anger, and have seen that a small number of people piled risk upon risk, fantasy upon fantasy, lie upon lie, and bout disaster upon people around the world. Sme of these people are lacking in moral compass, but some of them were dragged along by false models of business focused on consumption, short term-ism, and greed. But resistance is spring up all over the world, not just the Occupy movement and Arab Spring, or the articles and books many of you have written. Even the business and financial community understand that Capitalism is stumbling. schwab as argued that we are seeing e end of capitalism, and are witnessing the dawn of an age of innovation.

To move forward, we must understand that ideas are replaced only by new ideas. The theories of today’s world were not deduced from the elementary laws of physics or handed down on stone tablets. They were created by the minds of humanity, and can be changed by the minds of humanity. There is a film “Fixing the Future” From PBS, coming out as an expanded documentary this summer. There is an arbitrary economic system that we have all grown up in and work in, but if it is not working anymore, let’s do something different.

That is exactly what is happening – we are all doing something different, working to bring the world back into balance through the New Economy. Some snide critics complained that the passionate Occupy protestors could not specify their proposals and remedies. When people created democracy, they did not have specific demands. They wanted a world where their voice would matter. We know what we want. It’s not that complicated. The New Economy is a way of thinking about our lives, society, and planet as a whole. We want a system that is judged by key attributes. Human beings can flourish because the system builds justice, safety, diversity, prosperity, sustainability, democracy, health, and joy. If our current system is unjust, unsafe, monocultural, poor, unsustainably, undemocratic, unhealthy, and miserable – it must change.

Our current theories have blinded us to the most critical environmental realities in our age. We should not be using the term “mainstream” economics or finance – if you want to be complete, call it old fashioned, 20th century economics. If you want it to be truthful, call It failed model economics.

The market was made for humanity,not humanity for the market. Economics should be a branch of wisdom, not a system that benefits the few while it harms the rest and chokes the planet. We must break through from the cynics who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The standards we want are not hard to imagine, describe, or achieve.

The New Economics movement seems complex because we have chosen to work on different aspects of the problem. We are the midwives of the birth of a thousand new ideas. We are in the nursery of the new. We are creating new forms of practice generating new forms of theory, which generate new forms of action. These will bring new forms of prosperity without the suicide of growth. We are rethinking accounting to value all forms of capital. We are using instanenous communication to enact the old advice to think globally and act locally.

Everything is in motion and everything is at stake. Money, banking, environment, technology, homes, communities, how we buy and sell….wise people have pointed out that some problems are so complex they can only be solved by many minds working together at once. The seeds are planted and well on their way. We are an emerging forest. If you doubt it, look around the room, imagine all the people you know, in your networks, who are not here but care about the same things. Think about what would happen if we could expand to the communities only partially represented here – faith, communities of color, students, politicians.

This spring we invented the Global Transistion map online where hundreds of groups have registered themselves so we can see each other and work together. Many people will be gathering at Rio +20 conference, and will carry messages from the conference.

We are here to slow, stop, and reverse the harmful effects of a bad economics. What will keep us together is the hope to imagine what the future could look like – we could live in a nation that rejects the carbon fuels draggin us to planetary death, we could rely on the brilliance of the sun, force of the wind, strength of the seas, heat of the core. We could grow our food in a way that is sustainable and safe. We could live where our nation is happier, our jobs are better, and our time is our own. We could live in a nation where we know that the beautfy of the land we have inherited will be here in a hundred years, and a hundred centuries. In America we have gathered up our best ideas and cast them into the future. We are part of a legacy that has expanded democracy to those to whom it had been denied. We can be controlled by the future or we can control the future.

All men and women are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – these words come from not the declaration of independence, but the declaration of sentiments. At that time the Americans at this conference were a tiny minority. It took three generations for women to gain the right to vote. But the early leaders believed. Because of their belief, we are still fighting their fight for equality for all in the United State.

Do we believe in the New Economy? Are committed to the work to do this, to work for our own goals and organizations but in unity? The answer is yes.

The new economy is rising around us. We can see the forest because we are the trees. we are now a movement – the New Economy Movement. W need to plan, speak, and act as a movement. It is too easy to fall back on the idea that we are competing for resources, or to squabble about process and credit. Our constant question now must be how can I help you, how can we work together? How can we make this bigger, and bring our vision to reality. The NEI is committed to working with all the people who share this vision, working together month after month and season after season, bringing our voice to different institutions and issues.

We posess two unlimited resources that can alter our path – our imaginations and our will.. Some activity is driven by need and desire, but much of it can be driven by imagination and will. So let’s chant…”If we know that there is no limit to our imagination and we know that there is no limit to our wills then together we can see the future. Together we can share the future. Together we can build the future. This is our dream. This is our duty. And this is our destiny.”

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#nei2012 Building Sustainable Communities

I spent my afternoon and evening at the NEI conference, with a mix of academics, practitioners, activists, and organizers. The theme of the day was definitely global climate change and environmentally sustainable economic development (which also builds sustainable communities) – big topics were food production and the use of fossil fuels. In our work, our emphasis is on community and youth development (which must be environmentally sustainable), so it is interesting to get this other perspective.

Tomorrow I am definitely looking for the work people are doing towards the new economy that is focused on building relationships and community structures – emphasized in many of the talks today. Sustainable communities do not just flow naturally from environmentally sustainable economic activity – they need to be built too.

I’m reminded of what the Youth Advisory Board members said last night – they want to come back to Hudson and build their community, but there are no jobs. In sustainable communities, vibrant young people like these are able to make a living – by getting good jobs and/or by starting their own businesses.

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Evening keynote: Money and Climate – Can Both Exxon and the Planet be Healthy

Bill McKibben was introduced as a key environmental activist and an accomplished author. The Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and a Durable Economy is his book from 2007. He is also the founder of He is also an activist in campaign finance reform, citing that Congress has an approval rating of 9%.

This is a summary of Bill McKibben’s talk.

The work that you all are about this weekend is all about the idea of a localized, more sensible, and more durable economy. This is what neighbors in Vermont are doing when they work together, and it is remarkable what has happened in the last 10 years. In a Gourmet article a number of years ago, there was an article about about the experiment to eat local for a year – now this is almost a cliche. Last year, the USDA announced that for the first time in 150 years, there are more farms than in the previous year. This is all the good news here first….for the first time on Saturday, the country of Germany generated more than half of its electricity with solar panels. Our challenge is not technological, it is sociological and political. This work will continue not only because of its ecological work, but because local economy is a different social construct that appeals to who really are. The economic project to identify us as consumers, not people or neighbors, has had many devastating result ecological and socially. People are not, statistically, as satisfied as 50 years, the average American of today has half as many close friends as 50 years ago. The real appear of the local economy is its social superiority.

When sociologists follow shoppers around the supermarkets compared to the farmers market, people had on average 10 times more conversations per visit. That is why this idea will win out. It is who we are. That is how all human beings have shopped for food for 10,000 years. This virtual cycle will carry the day. But, it faces one overwhelming obstacle, which will derail everything if we do not address the problem. That is the remarkable degradation of the planet.

We knew many years ago how greenhouse gasses affected sunlight, but we did not know how much it would change things. The temperature has raised only by 1 degree, but it has led to tremendous changes all over the world. The thing we notice most of all are what has happened to the planets hydrology around the world. The atmosphere is about 4% more humid than before climate change, under-riding the climatic stability that allowed for the expanse of human society. This leads to loading the dice in favor of drought and flooding. All around the world, people have shared through how they have been affected by both drought and flooding. In Vermont, the hurricane in August caused tremendous amount of destruction – 200-year old bridges washed away. This anecdotal evidence is mirrored in the statistical evidence. Old 1 day rainfall records in Vermont were broken by 25 and 30%. statistically, that shouldn’t be possible. Except that the rain was not falling on the same planet as all those years ago.

We are just at the beginning. We have raised the planet by 1 degree, but the same scientists are saying that the rise will be 4 and 5 degrees by the end of the century. It is already hard, and we do not know if society can adapt to changes this big. It is even hard for vibrant local economies. In Vermont, for example, many of those organic farms people have been building for 15 and 20 years were covered in a foot of sand. There is a 120 acre farm in Burlington where young farmers come to learn – they did not harvest anything last fall.

We cannot rescue our things just by doing what we need to do at home. If we do not take care of the large global crisis, we wont be able to realize the future to which we are all working. The good news is that the most of what we need to do will also help the transition to a new economy enormously. One of the most important things we could do is to put accurate prices on carbon. No one else except for the fossil fuel industry can pass off all the environmental costs of their indurstry onto others. Restaurants are not allowed to dump garbage into the street for free because we know it will lead to bad results. Pricing carbon will lead to other changes. For example, industrial agriculture relies on cheap fossil fuel. If we accurately priced carbon, many people who never considered being a locavores would all of a sudden try it out and find how wonderful it can be.

But we are not doing this, instead careening down a path of ever greater use of fossil fuels. The world summits have been disasters, and we cannot afford any more of this. We need to turn this tide. It is important o figure out why they have been disasters, and how we can turn this tide. We are better at recognizing immediate threats, but this is not the central problem. The central obstacle is the incredible grip of the fossil fuel industry here and around the world. It is about the concentration of resources and wealth in very few hands. Exxon made more money last year than any company in the history of money. These companies have used their money and power to stall, delay, and block any changes that would address climate change.

For a long time we thought that it would be enough to have our leaders sit down and speak with scientists. But it did not work because the fossil fuel industry would be bellowing a toxic mix of threats and lies in the other world. Their business model is the problem. We need to either change their business model or ruin the planet.



We need to find a way to surmount their power, because they will not change voluntarily – they are making too much money. We don’t have more money than Exxon, so we must fight them with other currency – like the currency of movements.

Here are a few stories. Mosquitos really like the warm, wet world we are creating. In Bangladesh, many people are dying of Dengi fever. How unfair is it that the people of Bangladesh are suffering to this extent when the people of Bangladesh are not producing carbon – many people do not drive cars, and are not corrected to the grid. This is a moral problem, and there needs to be a movement.

We have the super structure of a movement, but the only thing we forgot was the movement itself. If 1,000 people is the largest protest for climate change, there must be more done. They created – anything greater than 350 parts per million is incompatible with the development of human society. Arabic numerals were a way to cross linguistic boundaries. They set out to find other people like themselves throughout the world – people worried about environmentalism, women’s issues, development, jobs, public health. They developed training camps around the world and started with a day of action in October 2009. Two days before, the leader in Ethiopia called in tears because the government had taken away their permit, and they were going to do it 2 days early. She did not want to jump the gun, or ruin it for everyone else – and she had 15,000 young people in the street. Environmentalism is not something for rich white people. Most people working with are young and black and brown – because that is who the most people in the world are. There were religious leaders – including in South African and evangelical colleges in the US. The picture in Maldives is symbolic because their archipelago is only about 1 meter above sea level.


The Us is the most recalcitrant, skeptical, and difficult because we are the most addicted to fossil fuel – and that is how addiction goes.

The Tar Sands in Canada are the second largest source of carbon in the world. To protest the Keystone pipeline, people engaged in civil disobedience. They did actions at the capital for two weeks. The first day 80 people showed up. The first batch of people spent three days in the central cell block in DC. Gus Peth was in the next cell, and gave a half hour lecture about his new book. Gus’s son is a lawyer, and Gus smuggled out a note to the press. He said “I’ve held an important positions, but none seem as important as the one I am in right now.”. A number of people in the room were also arrested in the same action. Suddenly people knew about the issue of the keystone pipeline. People followed the President chanting “Yes we Can. Stop the Pipeline.”. They carried signs that had Barak Obama quotes on them. The President agreed to stop the pipeline for a year and study it.

Mitt Romney said his first action if elected would be to approve the pipeline.

This civil disobedience shows that you can take an issue and use a movement to put it at the forefront of people’s mind.

Social media and the Internet helps us get the word out, but it is no substitute for getting people out in the flesh. We need to use the tool in conjunction with people getting together. People can be linked up all over the world using the Internet.

The other lesson is that we are not going to best global warming one pipeline at a time. We need to go deeper into the center of the fossil fuel economy.

This summer the project is to end the direct subsidy given to the
fossil fuel industry each year.

This is the richest industry in the world, and there is no reason to provide them with a subsidy. This is like giving someone a grant to get their 40th bachelor’s degree. There is a bill in the Senate to end subsidies and reclaim more than $1 billion.

70% of republicans, independents, and democrats are all against fossil fuel subsidies. This fight is one we can win. Action is being organized through There is a scoreboard with every member of congress in order to keep track of their positions. You can use your cell phone to get local politicians and leaders to take videos and upload them to the scoreboard to pin people down with their position. Then we will try to change the minds of people who are against ending the subsidies.

The power of this economy we have built to reck the planet demands that we are willing to take strong action to change things. We may have waited too long to get started, and there may be too much money on the other side. The arc of the physical universe is not long the way Dr. MLK said about the moral universe. This has been the warmest and most volatile spring. In Saudi Arabia there was the hottest rain storm ever, at 109 degrees. We don’t know I’d we can stop it.

But if we can, and if we can build a new economy, it requires getting one thing across. We are not radicals, or extremist, or militants.. All we are asking for is a world that works the way the one we were born in works. That is if anything conservative, not radical. If you are willing to make your fortune by changing the way the planet works at all costs, that is the most “radical” thing you can do. Building sustainable economies draws on traditional economies, uses the tools we have now, and works based on who we are.

The Chamber of Commerce filed a brief telling the EPA not to act on climate change because mans would adapt our behavior and physiology to a changing climate – not that its members would change their business models.

(standing ovation)

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Vermont – Building Resilient Food and Energy Systems with Local Capitalism

This is a pretty interesting conference so far…They trapped us in a room for six plenary speakers, and there was no mutiny! That says something about the passion the speakers brought to the podium. I’ve been watching things about the “New Economics Movement” for a while, and I can tell a lot of people are excited to be here and meet people thinking about and working on building economic alternatives that work.

First workshop session – hard to choose!

Vermont – Building Resilient Food and Energy Systems with Local Capitalism
Will Raap, Chuck Ross, and Ellen Kahler


The hope is to move towards a restoration economy with good, sustainable jobs. Vermont has been recognized for a large number of green jobs per capita, and is taking leadership in creating a number of types of green jobs – Chuck and Ellen will speak more about this. Chuck was appointed the Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets and is a former farmer and state legislator. He has been a consistent voice for green jobs, sustainability, and a balance of environmental and human needs. Ellen is the Executive Director for Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund representing a diverse group of stakeholders, working to create sustainable jobs.

Because Vermont is small, and because people talk about alignment, there has been a lot of alignment in Vermont at the state level, with cohesive policy, and can be an example to other states about coordinating efforts at the state level.

Raap mentioned an article – “Open market sustainability” in Solutions Journal by an author from the Smart Strategy Initiative. The article speaks about the opportunity to reset the market system through the idea of open market sustainability – addressing the question of whether capitalism will be an enemy or ally.

1 shift from sprawl to smart growth
2 shift from industrial to regenerative agriculture
3 shift from taxing income to taxing waste – re-pricing things to give the right signals to consumers and businesses.

Vermont can be seen as an example in leading these resets, in a way that can go beyond Vermont.


The goal in Vermont is building sustainably communities and economies, while addressing the ecological challenge of the 21st Century.

Vermont’s secret sauce includes
– community- based at
– sense of place
– entrepreneurial and innovation oriented environment
– local ownership
– Small connected units of organization
– two intersecting systems approaches with a long term plan (Food to Plate and Energy Action Now)

This “secret sauce” is being used in two initiatives, including the food-to-plate network and the energy action network.


This presentation is about top-level approaches on the path forward. Our work is being guided by Five conditions for successful large-scale change from an article in Stanford journal called “Collective Impact” article – I will add the full citation later!

1. Common agenda – common understanding of the problem, shared strategy,
2. shared data system and approach to evaluation and metrics,
3. mutually reinforcing plan of action linked through common mission
4. Consistent and open communication, focused on building trust, common motivation, and reaching objectives
5. Need for a “backbone organization” charged with managing the collective impact with a specific set of skills to coordinate participating organizations and entities

The Food to Plate network included data and 18-month long community engagement process to understand the current system and re-imagining what it might look like in the future. The vision is to move the Vermont food system to meet 80% of caloric needs by 2060 (still in the process of being adopted). The ten year goal is a doubling (5% to 10%) of Vermont food production and consumption. The strategic plan includes 33 goals with metrics for each. Mutuakly reinforcing activities involve continual adjustment of strategies and activities among members of the Food 2 Plate network, using the structure borrowing from the ReAmp model from the Mid West. This involves working groups and task forces working together, “breaking down silos” – looking for game changing, high leverage, high impact activities that we are working on together. The Sustainable Jobs Fund is the network coordinator.

Continuous communication and infrastructure involves people from many different stakeholders, including government and the funding communities. This facilitates identifying activities that are interconnected across aspects of the program. A food systems atlas is being developed that will make data and progress freely accessible, with a goal of connecting people and places.


Energy Action Now Network uses a different systems approach, which started in the reverse of the Farm to Plate network. EAN started with a small group of people who wanted to set new directions and ambitious goals – 100% renewable energy in all sectors by 2030. Once the goal was set, they included a group of about 25 people who are experts in the energy field to develop a strategic plan for a network that is simple enough to understand and implement.


The systems process led to a distillation of the goal down to 80%, and to identify “leverage points” where one success will lead to additional successes. Focusing on the leverage points are identified as where we should be “pushing” to accelerate the system:

Education, mobilizing capital, increasing innovation, regulatory and permit reform

Then, we need to identify what we can do to “push” the leverage points.

The network is now focused around expanding this plan out to identify and implement the specific activities that will use the leverage points to accelerate the system. This network also has a backbone organization and a board of directors representing the culture of the process. In the network structure, “education” is represented by “public engagement.”. The project also includes a “dashboard” with shared measurements, utilizing shared and aligned indicators for all activities. At the top, there is one goal – increasing the share of renewable energy – but at the detailed level there are also indicators for success in public engagement, mobilizing capital, increasing innovation, and regulatory reform.


If you want to create an economy based on care, abundance, and hope, we need metrics that include relationships. The strength of those relationships is what is going to hold us together through crisis. During Hurricane Irene, for example, Vermont could have gone toward chaos or mutual support. People cut off with no water, electricity, or phone for 4 to 5 days got out their ATVs to help their neighbors. The relationships fundamental to the culture and sense of place in Vermont show us that mutual support in the face of challenge is possible. To accelerate the change, it is important to mobilize “good capital for good purposes.”. One of the Farm2Plate lessons is that it is important for organizations, such as farms, to have an awareness of the stage of development, scale and type of organization, and type of market. Farm2Plate utilizes a “continuum of capital” to identify where funding will come from.


Creative financing is especially important for businesses that are not all about the bottom line, but have a wider variety of goals. Some types of funding exist, and others are being in development in Vermont. However, none of these are at scale. Likewise, there are not enough entrepreneurs who are ready to be the next generation of socially responsible business owners – with the seedbed environment in Vermont, it is important to attract enough young entrepreneurs.


There are multiple lessons from this process of building sustainable communities and economies.

– We need to set a direction we all agree on. There needs to be one clear direction so “the perfect” doesn’t become the enemy of the good, where the debate of exactly what we want to have keeps us from doing what we need to do.
– utilize networks
– identify leverage points and specific projects that move leverage points
– collect from people with whom we have built relationships to “get something done”
– in the process of doing things in 2012, we will be changing the landscape of what is possible to be done in 2013 and 2014.
– all of this is grounded in relationships, knowing one another. We need to redefine Ego within the networks in which we operate – individuals and organizations. Helping each other succeed helps ourselves as well.

In times of crisis, commonality of humanity often emerges, around the world.

In the end, it is all about community, and community is flexible. The systems approach is replicable and scalable – the ReAmp model was about a different topic in a different region. Networks must be scalable, adaptable, and nested. Community is how you define it, how you operationalize it, and how you build relationships within it. Vermont is running the 100 yard dash, but not very far down the track – we are invited to watch what is being done in Vermont, and see what comes of it.


F2P and EAN both used ReAmp but started in different places, partially because they were started in different ways. F2p s started by businesses, which led to policy change, which led to the backbone organization. EAN was started by a foundation who wanted to be relevant and start with a group of experts. In both cases, there were “catalyst” organizations that did not become the backbone organizations. Additionally, the leverage points in each network are similar.

Capital mobilization and innovation is where the private sector is an important part of the process. The private sector can then also help to advance regulatory reform and education.


This process is all about getting people to act on their economic and community interests, and on their strengths. We are asking individuals to do what is easy and possible – not what is impossible. We may need to create incentives at the policy level that facilitate change, but the changes are in the interests of individuals – such as ensuring proper insulation of all houses.


Identifying financial capital has not been the problem – finding enough entrepreneurs in the food ctor is what has been truly difficult. The continuum in the presentation was financial, but what about human capital, social capital, and natural? We may need more investment in the other types of capital in order to prime the pump for financial capital.


There are four continuums – capital, education and workforce development, infrastructure (for example, processing centers), technical assistance and business planning.

In each we need to identify strengths, weaknesses, and gaps to create clear pathways to invest resources for biggest impact. How do we create a structure that builds on individual strengths to fill gaps, with existing organizations.

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Including Corporations

Summary of remarks given by Rebecca Henderson – Prof at Harvard Business School

One more element to the puzzle – the corporation.

How do we transform the corporation for the great opportunity and great challenge we face? Transformation is preferred to leveling the corporations for two reasons – they are very powerful, and they are very efficient. They have been chewing up the planet, but doing it very efficiently.

In order to work with corporations, we need prices on important things like water, resources, and water. This requires a Good State, as Simms said. It is important that progressives be clear they are not saying “we” should be running the economy, or that the state should be running it, but that we need an economy in balance. Corporations perceived as out of control are often run by men and women very concerned about the communities where they operate. It is not a pipe dream to look for corporations that are run through enlightened self-interest – to make money by running corporations in the interest of our children, and communities, and shareholders, and

If we can call on our deepest values and hopes for the future, combined with hard headed realism about what we need to run the economy for 8 or 9 billion people, we can make it happen.

All it takes is years of blood sweat and toil.

Her class “reimagining capitalism” class at Harvard Business school now has 200 students!

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