Edventure Frome empowers cooperative community enterprises by hosting free 10-week courses that teach groups of young adults to design and create a place-based start-up venture together. An early student team created the Welsh Mill Hub, a community center with co-working offices, a commercial kitchen, and event spaces available for hourly rental. Later cohorts used the Mill Hub space to create more enterprises….
Access to land is one of the biggest challenges for farmers worldwide. In the US alone, 175 acres of farmland is lost to development every hour. Equity Trust, based in New England, works with farmers and land trusts to stem this tide and develop creative solutions for preserving farms. Their approach, based on the affordable housing movement, involves transferring land ownership to a nonprofit entity and leasing land to farmers at below-market rates. The farmers continue to own their homes, buildings, and other infrastructure on the land, with a buffer against the volatility of land prices in the real estate market. Read more about Equity Trust’s work on their website, in this article by The New Food Economy, and in this Medium article.
The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, in Cleveland, Ohio, is an inspiring example of community-based economic revitalization in action. Their overarching purpose is to reduce poverty and inequality by building community wealth, democratizing ownership, and creating local green jobs for residents of one of the city’s high-unemployment, low-income neighborhoods. To learn more, visit theEvergreen Cooperatives’ website.
Fair Tax Town is the project of small business owners from a little town called Crickhowell in Wales. Fed up with the fact that a giant multinational corporation like Amazon pays less in taxes than a small local bookshop, the business owners of Crickhowell banded together to create a “corporation” that could take advantage of the same tax loopholes big multinationals regularly use. Their goal in doing so is to shed light on injustice, shame the corporate tax avoiders, and take back some power for the little guys. Read Fair Tax Town’s full story on Medium.
FarmWorks, incorporated in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2011, is an association whose members annually purchase shares in a diverse portfolio of local food and farming businesses. So far, members have invested more than CA$2.7 million in 95 local enterprises, and have received provincial tax credits for keeping their money close to home. Learn more on their website.
The global fashion industry is responsible for a disproportionately high amount of the world’s carbon emissions. Localizing our garments may wind up being as important a task as localizing our food or water supplies. Hence, Fibershed – a network of over 100 farmers, ranchers, weavers, spinners, and designers across 19 counties in Northern California, creating an integrated garment-producing system where all materials are sourced from within a 150-mile radius. Fibershed makes localization fun with annual “wool symposia”, a fashion gala, and hands-on educational curricula for children to learn about bioregions and restoration ecology – including the use of regenerative farming practices to sequester carbon in the soil. It’s the first initiative of its kind, but Fibershed is actively involved in helping other groups of farmers and artisans create their own regional fiber systems. Learn more from Fibershed’s website and this profile by YES! Magazine. Photo by Paige Green
Founded by six university students who love to share their knowledge of sustainable farming as much as they love traversing the countryside on motorcycles, Geng Motor Imut (GMI) – the unlikely hybrid between a motorcycle gang and a sustainable farming resource – is helping to spread inexpensive appropriate technologies and sustainable farming knowledge throughout Indonesia. GMI uses all proceeds from sales of their cheap, human-scale technology to fund activities including advocacy, community events, and a sustainable agriculture program in the local juvenile detention center. The Small is Beautiful Project has released a short, five-minute film about Geng Motor Imut as part of a series of ‘little films about big change-makers’. Photo by Luke Robinson
Founded in 1984, the Ixpiyakok Women’s Association (ADEMI) is a local food organization run by and for women and families in Guatemala’s Chimaltenango region. ADEMI originally comprised a small group of Mayan widows who wished to combat malnutrition in their community. Now, ADEMI has grown to promote the value and health benefits of ancient seed varieties, native heirloom fruits and vegetables and family gardening in over thirty communities in the region. To learn more about ADEMI, read this case study by the Equator Initiative.
Localise West Midlands is a non-profit think tank, campaign group, and consultancy working towards “local supply chains, money flow, ownership and decision-making for a more just and sustainable economy.” From their headquarters in Birmingham, they work in many ways to catalyze systemic change in the West Midlands Region — from creating a local currency, to promoting the decentralization of democratic power, to supporting local businesses and farms. To learn more, visit http://www.localisewestmidlands.org.uk. Photo by Robert Linsdell (CC BY 2.0)
This credit union provides a range of loans exclusively for local farms and food businesses, financed through savings accounts and CDs. The idea emerged from the group Slow Money Maine in 2011, and was further developed over eight years of meetings with farmers, small business owners, existing credit unions, and other stakeholders and advisors. Today, it is the only federally-chartered, government-guaranteed financial institution dedicated to growing local food systems in Maine. Learn more on their website.