What a pleasure to stumble on this half hour documentary, "Small Business in America". Produced by local Austin multimedia company Flow Nonfiction, it tells the story of why we do what we do. Even though we had nothing to do with making it! The film touches on concepts of sustainability, and localism, and triple-bottom-line business, but mostly it reminds us that "business", small business at least, is about real live living breathing human beings, and how we interact and treat each other. It is about opportunity, and respect. Beautifully shot, nicely paced, and as an added benefit produced by folks right here in Central Texas. Wow!
We highly recommend 30 minutes of your day enjoying this! Watch it here.
"...During the farm crisis of the 1980s, an Iowa farmer asked if I knew the difference between a family farmer and a pigeon. When I said no, he delighted in explaining: “A pigeon can still make a deposit on a new John Deere.”
...This prime-time disregard for farmers and food policy is not only irresponsible, but also politically inexplicable when you consider that food is far more than economics to people. Purchasing food has become a political act that takes into account cultural, ethical, environmental, and community values. This was confirmed last March in a national survey published by Consumer Reports showing that huge percentages of shoppers consider production issues important:
Seasonal, local food that is grown and produced by people you know is the tastiest, most nutritious and freshest food available. Here in Central Texas, we have access to an abundant variety of fresh food from local farmers, ranchers and other producers. In fact, farmers' markets, farm stands and opportunities to subscribe to community supported agriculture (CSA) programs are available in nearly every community. Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Texas makes it easier than ever to find local producers and products, while supporting local economies, our environment and the cultures represented by food produced in our area.
AFI is launching a Facebook page to help connect with Central Texas food based businesses, conscious capital investors, and any other organization or person trying to improve our food system. Please visit us!
Brianna Marshall of FoodTank interviews BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot about their large-scale greenhouses in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Iowa, & Illinois. Interesting twist: BrightFarms isn't the typical "family farm" story, but rather institutional capital backing healthy local food on a commercial scale. Hmmm, wouldn't that be something in Austin...
Huff Post has a terrific article about "Agrihoods," which just may be the future of sustainable living. Agrihoods are planned housing developments with a twist - they're built around real, functional farms that the residents help maintain. This development in Mission Viejo, CA is basically retrofitting itself into an Agrihood, installing a one-acre resident organic farms in addition to backyard gardens and community gardens. Brilliant.
Economist Michael Shuman's third book on local economies focuses on "polinators": organizations such as AFI that pursue regional economic development functions. Kirkus reviews the book, which starts with a critique of mainstream economic development.
Click the image to order from BookPeople.
Forbes reports on local investing author and advocate Amy Cortese's new website, www.Locavesting.com.
"There’s a whole revolution going on under the radar," says Ms. Cortese, "and that’s what I want to cover with the web site. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on the innovative and regenerative models being created and tested around the country and the world, and the pioneering people behind them."
The site is a news and information provider, with general "how-to's" for local companies trying to raise money and investors looking to keep funds locally.
News, Forums, How-To's, a Directory, and more, all focused on enabling local investors, at a new website called Local-Investing.com.
They write: "We believe that all investors, not just wealthy ones, should have opportunities to discover, evaluate, and make local investments. Businesses should be able to reach out to their fellow citizens for financing, and not be limited to costly conventional sources of money. Communities should promote local investing to better manage their growth and development. Local investing is all about people connecting and building relationships with each other, the way investing used to be."
News from AFI; Links to stories on business-for-good, private-company investing, fundraising, & sustainable food.