“Running On Local” – Success Stories from a New Paradigm

by: Sara on 02/20/2014
Posted in: Community

We rode the wave of progress and by the end of the 20th century our stores had filled up with ‘stuff’ from all over the world – as had our kitchen cabinets, and our bodies. Tangerines from Spain, dresses from Bangladesh and appliances from Japan. We burned through millions of barrels of fuel from the Middle East, and gave up control of our life savings to a globalized stock market.

It all seemed harmless enough, and in exchange we got so much choice! So many creature comforts, and a promise that it would only get better and better.

But that wave turned out to be a tsunami, and while globalization has merit, it has come with unforeseen risks and costs to our psyche, to our health, to our planet’s ability to sustain life, and thus to our resilience as a species.

Today we are seeing a new wave, a new perspective on progress. One that is less extractive of our planet’s finite resources, and that reconnects us to home.    

The new paradigm is to relocalize – to get “Running On Local.”  Two New Society Publishers’ authors and sustainability activists from a little town in rural North Carolina are “walking the walk” and have teamed up to create “Running On Local,” a sustainability roadshow to promote the merits of all things local.

“I heard an idea, in 2010,” Carol Peppe Hewitt , author of Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money, explains, “of moving money into the hands of local sustainable farmers and the local food businesses that support them - by making small affordable loans to those folks who had a viable need for affordable capital. It was called Slow Money, and I tried it and it worked. In the last three and a half years I have helped facilitate over 115 direct, peer-to-peer loans in North Carolina from about 80 different lenders to 55 farmers and food entrepreneurs. Many of those loans are already paid off. They total about 1.2 million dollars and they have kept people employed in their own businesses, put more local food in our stores and restaurants, preserved small farms, and strengthened local economies. It’s brilliant and simple. We can do this in communities all over the US and beyond.

If that’s not inspiration enough, Hewitt, a pioneer in community financing, has teamed up with Lyle Estill, who is well known in alternative energy circles.

 “In a world of gloom and doom,” says Lyle Estill, author of three books on biodiesel and most recently of Small Stories, Big Changes: Agents of Change on the Frontlines of Sustainability, “where financial instruments are too complex to understand, and money moves at the speed of light, where governments are struggling to take action, and individuals are at the mercy of faceless global corporations, there are ways to localize all aspects of your life.”

He should know. He runs one of the few surviving community-scale biofuel operations in the Southeast, turning waste cooking oil into about one million gallons of B100 biofuel each year.

 “Localizing?” Estill goes on to say. “We’ve done it. We’ve empowered ourselves, and others. We’ve written about our experiences, and we are happy to share them with you. We have practical ideas you can use in Anytown, USA. We spread hope.”

Together they host a powerful conversation and are taking their “Running On Local” message and expertise from Miami and Orlando, FL then to Savannah, GA, and on to Beaufort and Charleston, SC before heading up to Washington DC, NYC and Western MA.

Go find them, or invite them to your area to help relocalize your community as well! 

Tour dates:

Monday, February 24th, East End Market, 5:30 – 7:30PM, Orlando, FL

Tuesday, February 25th, Sentient Bean, 5 - 6:30PM, Sentient Bean, Savannah, GA

Wednesday, February 26th, PANINI’S On The Waterfront, 5:30-7:30PM, Beaufort, SC

Thursday, February 27th, Jericho Advisors and Art Gallery, 5:30-7:30PM, Charleston, SC

Wednesday, March 19th, Café Saint-Ex, 7-9PM, Washington, DC

Thursday, March 20th,  Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, March 22nd, Greenfield, MA

Confirm locations, dates and times here.


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