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Resource – Outcomes from the Judy Wicks workshop on localism

Posted in Models, Visions by Ferne Edwards on July 10th, 2008

Please see the report below from Amadis Lacheta, Village Well, about the outcomes from the Judy Wicks workshop on the localism movement. It’s fantastic to see the outcomes from one of the many events we promote on SustainableMelbourne.com!

Going Local: Creating sustainable and resilient business networks and communities Workshop, Thursday 22nd May 2008, 100 Mile Café, Melbourne

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiastic participation in the Going Local workshop. Seventy people attended on the day, from a variety of backgrounds including business, environment organisations, local and state government, community, developers and urban design professionals. What follows are the notes that were collated over the course of the day:
1. Panel discussion notes
2. Issues and Opportunities workshop notes
3. Further notes
4. Where to from here? FAQs & further information & resources for setting up sustainable business networks


1 Panel discussion notes- issues and opportunities:
What support is available to assist ethical enterprises to be successful?
Home business efficiency network
Supporting small farming practices – ethical sustainable slaughter of animals
Growing slowly, organically
Farmers markets – connecting customers with the people who grow food – directly
Keeping the values and practices in the take over of independent business by corporations
Losing $$ from local communities when we invest in corporations
How can community/environment sector become more business savvy – to continue to do what they do better?
Social venture networks to support ethical business challenges
Common market – food distribution business
What is sustainable growth?
Community funds- whats available?
Sustainable investment- where, with whom?
The gifting economy- business bartering
Price discrepancies for local produce- the reality of rural and urban differences in pricing
The failure of centralised distribution systems – doubling/ tripling transport of goods
Loss of local produce from local communities- export to city markets
Government subsidises agribusiness, not small-scale sustainable farming practice
The real ‘wealth of community and the importance of relationships to support ethical enterprises
How do we encourage local business and trading in an export/import oriented market?
The importance of building strong relationships between local government and green, local businesses
Initial government support for ethical business and business enterprises – then business becoming self supporting
Using the social/ economic structures that already exist to support ethical enterprises

2 Issues and Opportunities Workshop Notes:
2.1 Issue – Getting people to change behaviour
Opportunity – Active participation in alternative models
Living juicy- fully is an attraction
Understanding who your local community is
Having a sense of place – meet, understand history
Maintaining identity and community through change
Identity – connectedness (work, sports, friends, schools, cultural)
Expansionist model (not less – more) – direct feedback; attractive consumption; education
From belongings to belonging
Use community leaders- mentors, change agents

Building blocks:
Targeting different groups
Selling to businesses
Community food security (Glenda): Door knocked the area to meet and invite; discovered where the gaps are and utilised the skills from within; community gathering and sharing
Start small
Work on existing connections
Dont re-invent the wheel – find models that work and use them
Put an ad in the local paper
Put forward articles in the local paper
Find and nurture champions within existing groups
Target groups
Celebrate success
Utilise schools and younger champions

2.2 Issue – Disconnectedness of various movements and actions
Opportunity – Creating sustainable business networks to connect and support ethical enterprises
People with passion
Having a common cause
Community sense of ownership
Local government
Building blocks:
Grass roots movements
$$$
Connectors between government/funding and community needs
Inspires people to participate
These people are influential
Tipple effect

2.3 Issue – Lack of leadership
Opportunity – Finding local champions and supporting them
Door knocking/word of mouth
Referrals – community group; Mainstreets; the Bendigo Bank
Become a leader and develop partnerships
Forum for a voice of leadership
Identify the demand and allow it to drive the action
Run a workshop on a topic and find out whos in the room, share ideas and support
Use community resources
Work out the needs of the community – what do they have to offer and receive from being sustainable
Building blocks to support Going Local

Challenges – education; competition; lack of time

Building Blocks:
Positive solutions – further education
Sustainable business networks

2.4 Issue – Lack of leadership by government
Opportunity – New systems, structures, governance models

Actions:
1. Find out how to invigorate community attendance at pro-active public forums
2. To promote the use of cutting edge and innovative governance models (e.g. sociocracy…)
3. Generate urban planning/zoning proposal to federal, state and local governments for community projects
4. Promote and use models such as the Community Land Trust which delivers affordable housing throughout the UK, USA and Europe
5. Preferred supplier through local networks eg. Councils etc, mandate local power
6. Creating collective/co-operative systems for local issues eg. power, food etc.
7. BALLE – local trading discount; regional basis to a network for Melbourne; what are existing networks doing?
8. Active empowerment (as a form of governance) to support going local
9. Fun Consultation
10. Planning Feedback
11. Reporting Engagement

2.5 Issue – Cost of Organic and being sustainable
Opportunity – Growing more organic food in the city in various ways
Breaking down ‘organics barrier – elitist perception
Working on achievable results – getting government support to do this i.e. farms going organic gradually
Making organics accessible in a mainstream way
Access to information

Building blocks:
Community dinner – CERES and Collingwood Childrens Farm Café – access ideas and share resources
Act on the ideas – collection of organic food, possibility of CERES knowledge to use Collingwood Farm to grow food
Contacting other cafes/businesses to share and contribute – look at other local growing opportunities
Grants? To help support someone to lead the group

2.6 Issue – Population growth climate change and peak oil
Opportunity – Planning for future local communities
Access
Getting away from activity centres being only retail hubs
To plan we need to know carrying capacity of the region in post oil economy??
Moving to other localities
Food-to-home delivery
Barter system – pro bono
Fruit trees on nature strips
Meal mapping
Ethics/values codes
Farmland degradation
Food
Employment
Entertainment
Waste management
Shelter
Retail
Arts/culture
Energy
Recreation
Ethical businesses
Hard to set aside land for agriculture, natural industries
Information and awareness
Local face-to-face meetings
Community leaders – catalysts
No network too small
Focus on simple, business needs
Hub – place of community
Set up small model, build on it

2.7 Topics that arose from the issues and opportunities exercise, but not discussed:
Issue – Subsidies to big business and corporate global paradigm
Opportunity – Micro finance, sustainable investment initiatives
Issue – Long distribution networks
Opportunity – Setting up decentralised networks that support the local
Issue – Understanding the issues
Opportunity – Integrated education ‘sharing the niche
Issue – Media not picking up on the positive alternatives
Opportunity – Find media champions for the ‘new story

3 Further notes
Disconnectedness comes about from government level ‘imposing solutions from the top down
Funding doesnt allow involvement from different sectors
Lost ‘common spaces to communicate ‘face to face

Model for Sustainable business Networks
‘Jane Jacobs example – people that bring the right people together could be the local bank managers
The Tipping Point – a book –the value of ‘connectors and other personality types in social change movements
‘Who is in the community that is a natural ‘connector that can be brought on board?
Connecting Nillumbik – could be a good model
Bendigo Bank – local community business support

Positive Solutions
Clusters
Getting people together (physically), business breakfasts
Champions/mentoring
Inspire and educate people

Building Blocks
Identify who we want to connect with
People with passion – who are influential
Accessing current services/groups
A common cause – clear vision
Giving community sense of ownership
Connecting State Government and the community – is this local governments role?

Why isnt this working at this level?
Local Government
Personal connection with people – has been a bit lost through email etc.
Hubs/clusters of interest groups

4 Where to from here? FAQs & further information and resources for setting up sustainable business networks
What is the role of sustainable business networks?
Sustainable business networks help local, independent businesses thrive while they build an economy that values people, planet and prosperity for all through:
Creating a supportive network for locally owned, independent businesses through collaborative events, a membership directory and member-to-member business transactions
Educating entrepreneurs on best practices for triple-bottom-line management through monthly events, peer-to-peer mentoring, an annual conference and Social Venture Institute with award recognitions
Educating consumers about the benefits of supporting sustainable and local businesses, and connecting them to network members through Buy Local campaigns, public events and online and print local business directories
Advising and advocating on sustainable and pro-independent local business policies to local government and those with influence, providing resources, available studies and support.

What activities do sustainable business networks undertake?
Sustainable business networks develop a calendar of events to bring members together to connect and learn from each other, such as:
Monthly meetings
Film screenings
Regional conferences
Annual international BALLE conference
Product expos
Buy local campaigns, consumer education
Speakers from among the network membership are available to present
Promotional activities
Email newsletter
Online marketplace

Who are the people that make up sustainable business networks?
Sustainable business networks are made up of:
Local business people
Philanthropic bodies
Social entrepreneurs
Investors, Community Banks & Credit Unions
Not-for-profit leaders
Government representatives
Volunteers

How are sustainable business networks funded?
Sustainable business networks are funded through:
Membership fees
Philanthropic organisations
Community Banks and Credit Unions (for example, Bendigo Bank and MECU)
Private investors

How do sustainable business networks operate?
Sustainable business networks are run by a small team of core staff, normally as an NGO or adjunct of a Trust or philanthropic organization, and are assisted by an extensive volunteer base from within the network.

How do we set up a sustainable business network?
Excellent information on this is available through the BALLE website, and groups can order an information kit direct from the website: http://www.livingeconomies.org/networks/start-a-network-1

Where can I find out more information?
www.livingeconomies.org
www.sbnphiladelphia.org
www.omlf.org
www.localfirst.org
www.sbnportland.org
www.bendigobank.com
www.mecu.com.au

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