Archive for January, 2009

Green America’s Solutions from the Green Economy

I haven’t written much about the national economic situation, stimulus package, solutions, etc. so I’ll let Alisa Gravitz of Green America (formerly named Co-op America) do it for me for today! Read Green America’s Solutions from the Green Economy.

Green America focuses on increasing investment in clean tech and building local economy. Good things indeed, and an important way to channel money in the right direction. They don’t delve much into the currency-less community-building environment. Community to them seems to mean spend local, and not so much on spending nothing. Localizing economy is a good thing, but more importantly, demonetizing your transactions is a great practice to develop – and get used to – especially as belts everywhere tighten.

Host a potluck. Grow food together. Guess what, now’s the time to start community gardens and gardening with your neighbors and friends. And installing rain barrels. For free. You’ll need food and water before you need a Prius. Trust me.

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Building a Bridge to a New Culture

Yesterday I wrote this to a new connection on LinkedIn who asked what I’m up to:

My “career” intention is to help communities form, thrive, and grow around principles and practices of sustainability, and to help mobilize resources toward that end. I’m enjoying the abundant conversations and actions here in Portland that support that.

When I posed this to another colleague who’s a career counselor, she responded that she didn’t hear the problem that’s to be solved, or what skills I’m bringing to bridge the problem to the solution or provide the solution. Perhaps that would come in a longer conversation, but we’re constantly polishing our “elevator pitch,” aren’t we? Read the rest of this entry »

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Urban Growth Bounty in Portland: City sponsored workshops

Urban Growth Bounty 2009
Sustainable food classes presented by the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development [Now Bureau of Planning and Sustainability]

Want to grow abundant fruit and vegetables, raise chickens, keep bees, make cheese and preserve food? Urban Growth Bounty classes, taught by Portland experts, will provide the tools to make 2009 a more sustainable, healthier year for you and your budget.

More info on City of Portland web site here

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Yard Sharing: Resource for Pairing Gardeners with Dirt

This could be one of the coolest resources for local food production: Yard Sharing.  Follow the link there and check out the Google Map overlay. The basics: people wanting to garden pair up with people who have suitable yards and spaces to grow food. The terms of the exchange are up to the individuals involved. We are currently planning our garden for the year, and depending on what arrangements we make with our neighbors, might just hop on this one. My housemate had all the greenery taken out of the backyard to make room for food, so I’m excited to get dirt under my nails!

sunflower10

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Rewriting the program of America’s economy: speculations on the long-term inefficacy of the Obama stimulus plan

There’s no shortage of perspectives on the state of the economy and proposals for the federal stimulus plan. I don’t claim to be an economist, but I’m an American and I have an opinion. And a blog. Watch me go.

I’m not clear whether Facebook is an enhancement or a detriment to my life. I might be causing myself undue stress reading popular analyses of our bad-weather economy. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to give Robert Kuttner’s article on the Obama stimulus plan any further airplay, because it’s conventional economy version 1.0 dressed up as a progressive 2.0 version – or perhaps just 1.4 or 1.5. Anyway, his article is here: http://tinyurl.com/85vwo4

Below is the comment I posted to his article. As with all reader comments on the Internet, they’ll fade into obscurity in about 3.7 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sustainable Economic Development and Policy. Where do communities fit in?

What are the biggest needs and gaps in business and economic development policy, here in Portland, in the state of Oregon (quite a different industrial base on the whole than Portland’s entrepreneurial and small business enterprise)? I see a need to engage groups of small businesses around sustainability, and to refocus policy, investment, and capital on building community and community-scale resources (i.e. vs. the standard model of individual, competitive businesses). There are so many discussions happening among neighborhood groups, non-profits, business alliances, and non-profits about community building as a response to economic downturn, and creating new and non-monetary means of exchange. Where does that leave local and state economic development agencies in the long term? Or even the short term, as communities move further away from conventional economic development models and create new localized economies of exchange? The challenge for the state may not be as much in raising and distributing capital as it will be adapting and responding to what communities create in response to the economic downturn/crisis that could make large-scale economic development efforts less relevant. Maybe I’m not entirely on target and/or missing a key piece of this puzzle (quite likely!), but it’s an interesting and active conversation in Portland right now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Portland Community Building Events and Conversations

I’m amazed – and excited – by the abundance of conversations and convocations happening in Portland right now about creating community, extracting ourselves from the decaying economic paradigm, sharing resources, preparing for even tougher times, and supporting each other. Read the rest of this entry »

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