Last week Patricia and I went to the Local Prosperity Conference in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. It was by far the most relevant, interesting and engaging conference I've been to thus far. Other than Slow Food, CSA and farmers market events, I've never been to a conference where everyone is so happy to be there and everyone is actively seeking to form authentic relationships.
I hope to write more about the Prosperity Conference over the next few weeks, but first I want to share with you these two articles that my friend and mentor Linda Best shared yesterday. For context, Linda Best started and grew the FarmWorks community investment fund which has now as raised over $1 million for local food and farm growth in Nova Scotia. Fun fact: Nova Scotia is a leader in community investment internationally because it created Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIF), which has led to over $70 million of local investment in the past 20 years. I think this is particularly relevant as we address the economic challenges we are faced with in Nova Scotia today (aging population, depopulation, shattered social services etc.), but also for communities all around the world.
I believe more than ever that we will need more local community investment models, import replacements, "local first" business promotion campaigns, policy changes, local currency and savings strategies, and planning.
Thank you Linda for sharing these articles and quotes:
Locally owned small businesses pack powerful economic punch
Thinking small and local, not big and global, may help communities ignite long-term economic growth, according to economists.
"We can't look outside of the community for our economic salvation." Goetz said. "The best strategy is to help people start new businesses and firms locally and help them grow and be successful."
U.S. counties with thriving small businesses have healthier residents
U.S. counties and parishes with a greater concentration of small, locally-owned businesses have healthier populations — with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes — than do those that rely on large companies with “absentee” owners, according to a national study.
"Our findings suggest that the rewards of a vibrant small business sector are multi-dimensional," Blanchard said. "In addition to job creation, small businesses yield important non-economic rewards to communities that may improve the health of local residents. "
Photos from top to bottom:
Natalie Smith, President Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia from 50% Local Food Club site
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