Cultivating the Roots of People Powered Economies

Growing healthy and sustainable food starts with caring for the soil.

We think of SELC’s work as cultivating a healthy soil for more resilient communities to grow. We’re the soil biologists, not the farmers (metaphorically, at least - some of us actually are urban farmers)!
So that’s why, as part of SELC’s People Powered Economies campaign, we are lifting up the work of our partners and allies who are rooted in the communities most impacted by the ills of an extractive economy, and most poised to cultivate and grow a new one.

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Why We Need People Powered Economies

A message from our Executive Director, Janelle Orsi:

Lately, this big word has been stuck in my head:

NOW

Three things are happening right NOW that are creating a sense of urgency at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Sometimes, it's hard to see that they are happening, so we thought some visuals might help... 

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14 Trailblazers and a Pizza Party Inside [April Newsletter]


SELC is pleased to introduce the luminaries, geniuses, and wonderful human beings that make up our Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Sushil Jacob of the Green Collar Communities Clinic and Farzana Serang, Executive Director of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) have recently joined our Board of Directors, and we've established a new Advisory Board filled with amazing people!

Below, you'll also find out about SELC's upcoming #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign, Financial Transparency at SELC, upcoming events, and more!

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SELC makes laws! You make laws! We all make laws!

democracy |diˈmäkrəsē| noun - “A system of government in which all the people of a state ... are involved in making decisions about its affairs” (Oxford English Dictionary). 


What if every one of us got involved in making decisions about our affairs by writing and passing ONE law? At SELC, we’re realizing that many laws need to be created and reformed if we are going to build just and resilient communities. 

Our experience has taught us that anyone can become a citizen lawmaker! We've even developed a workshop to get you started! But first...

3 QUICK THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT OUR POLICY WORK:


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David, Goliath, and the CA Money Transmission Act

Sustainable Economies Law Center has been fighting hard and may now be able to take credit for small reforms to one of California’s most draconian and economically repressive laws, the Money Transmission Act (MTA). The MTA presents a nearly insurmountable barrier for small enterprises and cooperatives that facilitate the sale of products and services by receiving payment from one person and transferring it to another.

Most people’s jaws drop when they learn that they may be committing a felony if they do not meet the requirement of a $5,000 initial license application fee, $2,500 annual renewal fee, a $250,000 or $500,000 bond or securities on deposit, and a minimum net worth of $250,000. The CA Department of Business Oversight’s latest draft of proposed regulations incorporates SELC’s suggestions that 501(c)(3) nonprofits be exempt from registration and that the Department create a process for other enterprises to apply for an exemption. It’s a small victory, and we will continue to urge the state to consider SELC’s proposals for a more sensible law.

Learn more about Money Transmission Laws and the potential implications for community currencies, cooperatives, and other small enterprises at CommunityCurrenciesLaw.org

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Sustainable Economies Law Center in Fast Company article about Gig Economy Workers

3042081-poster-p-1-what-does-a-union-look-like-in-the-gig-economy.jpgSarah Kessler published a piece in Fast Company entitled, "What does a Union look like in the Gig Economy?"

Janelle Orsi, from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, advocates for a worker-owned platform model: 

"The only way for independent workers to really benefit from the platforms that use their labor, argues Janelle Orsi, a lawyer who specializes in sharing economy issues, is for them to own the platforms themselves, in what she calls a 'freelancer-owned cooperative.' Since these platforms would by definition treat workers better, she thinks they could challenge companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Homejoy by essentially stealing their workforces. 'The companies themselves have very few assets," she says. "They don’t own cars, and they don’t own infrastructure, they don’t own hotels. They just own a software platform and a lot of clout. And if that clout goes away, then they just have software. And lots of people can create software.'"

Read the whole article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3042081/what-does-a-union-look-like-in-the-gig-economy

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Janelle Orsi is Rachel Network's First Fellow!

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Rachel's Network, a non-profit committed to advancing women with solutions to our biggest environmental challenges, has chosen SELC Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, has their first fellow! 

“More and more people are seeing that happiness comes not through owning things, but through having access to the things that foster rich experiences with their friends, family, and community,” says Rachel’s Network Liaison Annie Leonard. “[Janelle]’s got… an inspiring vision of sharing as a vehicle for social change.”

Read more about the fellowship, and how it'll support Janelle and SELC's work here:

http://rachelsnetwork.org/janelle2/

 

 

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Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: