What if… (economic models)
- What if we create through our combined networks an alternative government to drive a rural economy turning deficits into assets: poor health into employment; transportation; technology; infrastructure (schools); food deserts into food systems
- What if economic models include ALL assets — i.e., culture, people, environment
- What if the current global patterns of production and consumption result in 2 degrees Celsius warming of the climate, unleashing a chain of exponential environmental consequences, and we not only valued disaster planning and preparedness as much as economic growth, but applied the exponential environmental consequences we unleashed as a result of [illegible] global patterns of production and consumption, and we not only valued disaster planning and preparedness as much as economic growth and looked to rural communities to learn from and adopt their skills for individual and collective resiliency to this value transformation.
- What if we implemented these three simple programs nation-wide, not with a top-down approach but as toolkits to be used by community groups in each small place? Each program addresses one of the triple bottom lines:
1) ECONOMIC: producer exchanges – small groups of 10 to 50 individuals, families, small businesses, farms and non-profits, each who agree to offer for sale something they have produced that month. Instead of US dollars use a LETS, which is as easy as a Google Sheet, or a pen and paper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_exchange_trading_system
This teaches us two things – first, that we all can be producers and not consumers, whether it’s a pint of jam, a dozen eggs from the backyard hens, a roast of venison, computer help, a massage or car repair, it’s something we can do for ourselves. Second, that saying we can’t build local trade because there aren’t enough US dollars to go around is like saying we can’t build a piano because we are out of inches.
2) CULTURAL: the long memory project – connect artists under 35 with elders over 60 for a weekend of storytelling about the elders’ shared work in the community. Then, give the artists two weeks in a local artist-in-residency program (existing or makeshift) to create new work about what they’ve heard. Then, connect this art from community to community through national platforms like NPR and a central website to facilitate an extended conversation about the role of long memory in our communities.
3) ECOLOGICAL: carbon farming – develop local, state and/or national incentives for grass or tree farmers to build organic matter and sequester carbon in their soil. When good, small, ranching programs with diversified livestock and holistic management techniques seek to stockpile carbon the numbers can go through the roof.
These are three programs being implemented by Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology with the hope that we can build national networks of small rural non-profits to implement one or all of these with us.
- What if residents owned the infrastructure/economic base in their communities?
- What if we considered “THE BIG SORT” by a national effort to link/exchange/[illegible] rural and urban citizens and leaders?
– Economics (supply/value chains) – Ecosystem services (watersheds) – Should be done between r/u close to each other (regions) and more distant
National “rural electrifications” for the 21st century – fiber optic spreads to rural communities, education, health, telework
- What if housing was a right, that quality shelter was as much a given commitment of our communities as electricity, elementary education, water, social security, and other social determinants of people’s welfare?
- In 68, King called for a campaign for a Radical Redistribution of economic and political power. 50 years later – we need a Poor People’s Campaign.