Generation Local

A growing number of young people know what must be done to cure our ailing global economy. They are not only protesting a failing system but are also building its replacement. New agrarians are being met by fellow new economists in urban neighborhoods, small towns, and remote villages.  They are coming home—a Generation Local.  You will find them in farm fields, small-batch manufacturing, local marketplaces, recycling ventures, renewable energy coops, farm-to-table restaurants, house concerts, food pantries, and Grange meetings. They are forming the foundation of a green, place-based, face-to-face economy built on democratically structured institutions.

How do we equip this new generation of local economists?  How do we train them in the same disciplined way that the sustainable agriculture community has developed apprenticeship programs for future farmers?  How do we strengthen their values, align their initiatives, unify their voices, and amplify their impact?  How do we bring a movement to scale?  

The Local Economy Movement is emerging out of the mutual interest and collaboration of small producers and their local citizen/consumers.  Together they are creating the institutional infrastructure that complements the powerful local food movement:

•  Community Supported Agriculture farms are linking farmers directly with their customers to share the risk of operating costs. 
•  Community Supported Industry initiatives are growing more jobs through manufacturing focused on import replacement. 
•  Community Land Trusts are offering a way for residents of a region to acquire land and permanently dedicate sites for workforce housing, sustainable farming, or green industry.
•  Investment clubs are connecting investors with regional small businesses in need of capital.
•  BALLE networks are bringing local businesses together to share resources and market jointly.
•  Coops are turning workers into owner/managers.

In the Berkshires a local currency is partnering with community banks to provide low cost loans in a scrip that circulates only in the region, validating the small businesses that make up the backbone of that economy.  In North Carolina a non-profit is providing grants to area farmers to innovate new products and then shares the plans for that innovation online so other farmers can replicate solutions. In Philadelphia a restaurant dives deeper into its local economy rather than franchising, linking suppliers to "competitor" restaurants to secure the success of the supplier and build the sustainable food culture. In Cleveland anchor institutions are contracting with worker-owned businesses to provide needed services and in the process are creating secure, well-paid jobs for a previously disenfranchised population. 

No longer unique experiments, these programs are being replicated in cities and towns around the country and around the world, drawing media attention and enthusiastic participation.  The challenge to advocates of a just and ecologically sustainable economic system is to:

• demonstrate theoretically and by example how these programs connect as complementary components of a whole-systems regional economy;
• codify these programs through engaging stories and handbooks of organizational documents -- referencing organizations already assembling this material and creating new documentation where needed;
•  develop effective curriculum, instruction materials, and residencies for training;
•  institutionalize the training in regional "Colleges for New Local Economists," utilizing local mentors and facilitating accessibility and affordability.
The Schumacher Center is working with partner organizations to meet this challenge and opportunity.  Your support is needed.  Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Schumacher Center for a New Economics, 140 Jug End Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230 with "Generation Local" in the memo line. 

BALLE Features BerkShares Businesses

Businesses using local currencies understand the web of connections involved in creating vibrant regional economies.  That is clear in the BerkShares Business-of-the-Month profiles written by Alice Maggio and now featured on the BALLE website:

"We've selected five of those businesses … Goods, lodging, farming, restaurants, and transit establish living essentials that, in the Berkshires, are being satisfied by a local currency. The stories are all fantastic, truly capture the spirit of the region, and are worth checking out!"

Michelle Long and Jodie Evans join Advisory Board

Michelle Long, the charismatic executive director of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), has joined the Advisory Board of the Schumacher Center, furthering the partnership between the two organizations.  Michelle is one of the most articulate spokespersons for the theory, practice, and potential of local economies. 

Jodie Evans is co-founder and co-director of CODEPINK. She has been an activist for peace, the environment, women's rights, and social justice for forty years, founding and serving on the boards of multiple organizations.  She knows that shaping a new economy is a necessary part of achieving the goals of her activism. Her energy and commitment inspire us deeply.

We are pleased to welcome Michelle and Jodie to the Advisory Board.

Videos Posted

The video of Peter Barnes' sold out Schumacher Lecture at the American Institute for Economic Research may now be watched online, along with the video of Michelle Long's July presentation at the Schumacher Center's Library:




Library News

Fritz Schumacher's daughter, Nicola Schumacher, and her family traveled from England to visit the Center's Library. She wanted to see first hand how we were caring for her father's books and papers. Her husband, David Craddock, tweeted back to the family: 

When long-time Schumacher member, Martha Shaw, moved from her farm house to an apartment at Forest Row, a neighborhood of the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, she donated her extensive collection of books on Permaculture, Appropriate Technology, Gandhian Economics, and Self-Reliant Communities to the Center.  Librarian Amelia Holmes helped Martha with the transition and is now working with intern, Silvina Calderaro, to catalog the collection. Our thanks to Martha for her donation, which includes many valued classic titles.


Recent Harvard graduate, Rina Kuusipalo, joins the Schumacher team through September to develop funding proposals for the Center's programs.  A native of Finland, Rina interned with us in 2011 ahead of organizing the 'Transition to a New Economy' student conference in 2012, which drew in more than 150 activists from around the country.  Rina has worked for Stakeholder Forum in the lead-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, for the New Economics Foundation on the Great Transition campaign, and on human rights law cases at Leigh Day & Co.  She will begin her law degree in October at Cambridge University in England. 

Save the Dates


October 10th -- Judy Wicks will give a Schumacher 
Lecture in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  7:30PM.
November 15th -- 34th Annual E.F. Schumacher Lecture
in New York City.  9:30 AM to 3PM. 
Speakers: Caroline Woolard and Matt Stinchcomb


Registration for both opens mid September.