Riff on Michael Shuman
For thousands of people around the world each day the Google News Alerts service deposits the results of key word searches among the thousands of news sources in Google's global network in email inboxes, mine included. Among the terms I have setup for searches is "community currencies." This morning the following item appeared:
Candidates for Ward 1
Raise the Hammer - Canada
... His ideas of how credit unions, commercial banks and thrifts with community ownership structures, and local currencies can keep community wealth circulating in ...
The content trailer was intriguing, leading me on a two-hour surfing odyssey. The results are logged below in the event that others might be interested in some of the touch points I encountered along the way.
First, click to the article in "Raise the Hammer;" then, click to find out what kind of publication is "Raise the Hammer." It's about community action in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which, according to Wikipedia is the 8th largest city in Canada with a population of slightly over 700,000.
Municipal elections are coming up and one of the candidates is a person named Brian McHattie. In a response to a request from "Raise the Hammer," Mr. McHattie stated the five most important steps he would take if elected; his fifth and final point was as follows:
"5) Develop a Community Economic Development Strategy. 'Recently, Environment Hamilton brought U.S. economist Michael Shuman to Hamilton to talk about a strategy where communities adopt a strategy of self-reliance with local production for local consumption.
His ideas of how credit unions, commercial banks and thrifts with community ownership structures, and local currencies can keep community wealth circulating in and working for the community must be investigated as a basis for Hamilton's economy, along with import substitution and directing City purchasing power to locally owned businesses, thereby keeping money circulating within the city - plugging the leaky bucket.'"
Enter the name, "Michael Shuman." So who is this Michael Shuman person?
No journey is complete unless some inviting by-ways are explored ;-) One side-road was a closer look at the term "Sustainable Entrepreneurial Economy." A click in a Google search led to the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and its Institute for Economy and the Environment. One of the faculty members, Dr. Rolf Wuestenhagen, co-authored a paper, "Structure of Sustainable Economic Value in Social Entrepreneurial Enterprises" that can be downloaded as a PDF file. Any research that can find better ways to determine value of such endeavors is worth its weight in gold and Dr. Wuestenhagen's study is certainly a useful approach!
Another trail through the woods led to a startup originally named "Chesapeake Friendly Chicken," funded in part by USDA grants, but now grant-independent and listed as "Bay Friendly Chicken." There are several write-ups about this company from a wide range of perspectives including CNN Money, In Business, Hope Dance, and the Animal Liberation Front. This represents an "educational process" from which many with a similar entrepreneurial spirit in agricultural production and process can learn.
But I digress, back to Mr. Shuman. In his bio on the University of Wyoming / Sustainable Entrepreneurial Economy page he is listed a vice president with the Training & Development Center (TDC) based in Maine. The founder and president of TDC is Charles "Chuck" Tetro. Mssrs. Tetro and Shuman team as co-presenters and co-facilitators. One of those collaborations was to deliver a course at Whidbey Institute in Clinton, West Virginia. The flyer announcing the session read as follows:
"Exploring Local Living Economies and Community-based Business with Michael Shuman and Chuck Tetro Sunday, July 17 to Sunday July 24, 2005, A Residential Course at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton, WA: Michael Shuman is the author of GOING LOCAL: CREATING SELF-RELIANT COMMUNITIES IN A GLOBAL AGE and Vice President of Enterprise Development for the Training & Development Corporation. Among his current projects are a poultry company in Eastern Maryland financed through local stock, a small-business venture fund in New Mexico, and a local debit card in Maine. He speaks and consults around the country on strategies for strengthening local and regional economies, and he is one of the founding board members for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a network of, by, and for community-based-businesses."
Mr. Shuman is a busy person! A search for Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) uncovers a very active location in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. The search results also show a connection to the specific term "Living Economies," which proves to be the home page for the parent organization, BALLE, to which Vancouver is a member. And once again, Mr. Shuman is listed on the board. His BALLE bio mentions a website under development named, "CommunityFood" that is intended "to support marketing by family farmers." The website layout is an excellent framework / template to utilize in moving the localization of agriculture across North America. And in looking at all the blank states on the BALLE homepage map of chapters / members it appears there are thousands of opportunities ;-)
Mr. Shuman's latest book, THE SMALL-MART REVOLUTION: HOW LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE BEATING THE GLOBAL COMPETITION, published in 2006 by Berrett-Koehler and distributed by Amazon and others, continues to expand his theses in a powerful, yet engaging and entertaining manner, according to the reviewers. But see for yourself.
And this is wonderful place to stop for a while. I'm sure the odyssey will begin anew when another compelling news blurb pops into the inbox--happy reading and exploring!
posted by Steve Bosserman on Saturday October 21 2006
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