Across the United States – where one acre of farmland is lost to development every minute – young farmers are having an increasingly hard time finding affordable land. Agrarian Trust works to come up with various unique ‘commons-based’ approaches to land ownership to strengthen local and regional food and farm economies. In doing so, they’re able to permanently protect farmland for sustainable agriculture and preserve its affordability for new and disadvantaged farmers in communities across the country. Learn more at www.agrariantrust.org.
This community development bank in Fortaleza, Brazil is governed and managed by local residents, for local needs. Their founding mission was to help revitalize the local economy, create badly needed jobs, and increase the collective self-reliance of the financially disadvantaged Palmeira district where the bank is located.To learn more, visit Banco Palmas’ website (in Portuguese), or its entries on Wikipedia and the P2P Wiki.
The Boston Ujima Project is a local economic alliance in the city of Boston, comprised of working-class residents, small businesses, and grassroots organizations, all devoted to challenging poverty and building a local ‘people’s economy’ to meet their own needs. They’ve created a local business alliance and directory, a jobs board, and an investment pool, and their plans for the future are both far-ranging and ambitious. Check them out at https://www.ujimaboston.com/.
BALE engages in a number of grassroots community localization initiatives from their home base in the White River watershed of Vermont. The overarching goal of these efforts is “to build appropriately scaled solutions from the ground up, taking back, as much as possible, our economy, our culture, and our democratic instruments by re-injecting humanity and authentic relationships into all that we do.” Projects include The Commons @ BALE (a community space open to all and used most evenings of the year), a community solar initiative, a local investment club, a documentary film series, and a Locally Grown Guide to local businesses. Learn about these projects and more at https://balevt.org.
Established in 1999, California FarmLink supports a diverse range of beginning limited-resource and immigrant sustainable farmers. They work across the state of California, with a particular focus on central agriculture regions, to help these farmers find land, develop sound lease agreements, partner with landowners to purchase farms or transition farms to the next generation, participate in training on financial and business management, and access capital through FarmLink’s loan program and other lenders. Learn more at California FarmLink’s website.Photo by Steve Corey (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
“No money? No problem!” is the motto of the Cape Town Talent Exchange (CTTE), based in Cape Town, South Africa. CTTE is a bartering system that enables its more than 6,000 members to trade goods and services by exchanging “talents” rather than money. The goal is to keep a balance between services rendered and received, and transparent online records encourage people to give and receive evenly. The currency-free Claremont Talent Market and weeklong Learning Clan festival are sites of in-person exchange within the CTTE framework. As part of the global 966-member Community Exchange System (CES) trading platform, the local “talent” currency can also be used worldwide. For more information, see the CTTE,Learning Clan festival,Talent Market, and CES websites.
Cargonamia takes a fun approach to shrinking food miles with three separate projects: an organic vegetable farm (Zsamboki Biokert), a do-it-yourself bicycle cooperative (Cyclonomia), and a self-managed bike delivery company (Kantaa). The three come ￼together to create an urban food distribution hub that uses locally-manufactured cargo bikes to deliver locally-grown food across Budapest. To learn more, visitCargonomia’s website.
This “ethical development bank” in Zagreb, Croatia, is cooperatively owned and democratically governed by its own members. Ebanka provides all the services of a normal bank while working to keep capital in local communities and ensuring that the needs of people and the environment always take precedence over profit.
To learn more, read this interview by Adam Simpson and Sarah McKinley published by the Next System Project.Photo by Nicolas Vollmer (CC BY 2.0)
Credibles (or “edible credits”) function like community supported agriculture shares, except that they can be bought at all kinds of local food establishments — coffee shops, restaurants, butcher shops, grocery stores. As with CSA shares, when customers buy Credibles they are paying upfront — or investing — in local businesses for future edible returns. The businesses can then use the money for capital and operating expenses, and Credibles customers can pop in at any time to pick up a cup of coffee, a loaf of bread or some fresh veggies — strengthening ties between business owners and their communities. To learn more visithttps://credibles.co.
Equity Trust is a non-profit organization committed to changing the spirit and character of our material relationships. They help communities to gain ownership interests in land and other local resources, and work with people to make economic changes that balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the community, the earth, and future generations. They have a particular focus on permanently preserving land for agricultural use. Read a full profile of Equity Trust’s work in this Medium article.