The results are in!

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We did it! Our People-Powered Economies campaign raised over $30k in 30 days through the incredible generosity and commitment of almost 300 supporters! We also received a full $6,000 match from the Fund 4 Democratic Communities: $100 for all 60 of our new recurring monthly donors. Thanks so much to our amazing community of friends, allies, and community members -- this is what #PeoplePoweredEconomies look like!   

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Interning at a Worker Self-Directed Nonprofit

Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Fall and Spring Legal Intern, Simon Mont, reflects on his experience researching - and participating in - a worker self-directed nonprofit.

I didn’t know much about SELC’s governance structure when I began interning. All I knew is that I had been offered the position by the founder of the organization, Janelle Orsi, but that she needed to check with the staff to make sure it was OK to bring me on. She mentioned that SELC had some sort of collaborative governance but didn’t really go into. A few days later, she suggested that I read “Reinventing Organizations” by Frederic Laloux in order to prepare for my position. The book described how the philosophy and structure of human organizations has changed over time, and how that shift relates to human development and our understandings of who we are and how we relate to others. As I read its account of innovative organizations that blend empowerment, democracy, and teamwork to succeed, I got a bit more insight into exactly what I was getting myself into. I started to understand that SELC’s vision for a new economy didn’t just require us to do new things; we had to do them in new ways.

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2016 Solidarity Fund Recipients

Cooperation Richmond and Planting Justice! Comrades in the struggle for economic democracy!

Cooperative economies aren't created in a vacuum, nor do they take root without the participation of broader community involvement. Every year during the month of May, we ask our friends, families, and allies to become monthly contributing members of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and support the cultivation of the legal roots of just and resilient economies.

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What will it take to Build a Local Food Movement?

Photo: chicagopatchworkfarms.com

Lauren Gurley of In These Times writes about what's needed to build a local, sustainable food movement in Chicago and Illinois. A Sustainable Economies Law Center event in Chicago that brought together a stakeholders in the local food movement is mentioned. 

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Three Hippies and an Oven, 2.0 - a Karin Wells documentary

Alvarado St. Bakery is a worker-owned bakery in Petaluma, California that produces 50,000 loaves of bread a day.

Photo: Alvarado St. Bakery in Petaluma, California (Karin Wells)

Karin Wells of CBC Radio explores the spread of worker cooperatives in the Bay Area. Sustainable Economies Law Centers' Worker coop legislation is mentioned, and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, SELC's Policy Director, is quoted. 

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Calling all fans of local seed in California!

The California Seed Exchange Democracy Act will be up for a vote in the State Senate Agriculture Committee on June 21. We need your help to pass this bill to legalize seed sharing!

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Energy transition is inevitable, #PeoplePower is not.

There's not a day to waste. As we approach the summer of 2016, the pace of climate change and the shrinking window to halt it is alarming. But at the same time, the tireless work of defiantly hopeful activists and community members like you has also meant that we are closer today to a more inspiring solution to break free from an extractive economy: community-owned clean energy.

It is clear that every day counts in the shift to a regenerative economy, so at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) we've expanded our effort to promote community energy. But we need your help to sustain our work. Donate now to help create people-powered economies where people own and control the energy they need!

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Forming a Worker Coop: LLC or Cooperative Corporation?

By Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Housing and Cooperatives Attorney

We want to create a worker cooperative…what legal entity should we form?

This is probably the most common question I hear at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafes. Lots of entrepreneurs come to us wanting to form a worker-owned business, but they are unsure what legal structure will work best for them. Are they required to form as a cooperative corporation? What if they’re not ready to incorporate yet? Can they form as an LLC or some other entity and still be a cooperative? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the entity options?

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How can people-powered solutions build community wealth?

We launched our #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign exactly two weeks ago and the response has been incredible: $19,365 raised and our community of members has grown to over 150 people! This is what a people-powered economy looks like - resourcing our movements from the bottom up. Thank you to everyone who has pitched in already! If you haven’t yet, there’s still time - join us today and help us raise $30k in 30 days!

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Help Create People-Powered Housing!

At the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), we believe that housing should be a community asset and a human right, not a commodity on the speculative market. Skyrocketing housing costs are propelling more people into poverty than ever and displacing residents and local businesses, especially in communities of color. We need #PeoplePoweredEconomies where housing is sustainable, controlled by community, and affordable for every member of society. Learn more about SELC’s Housing Program here.

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Update on the new homemade food bill!

By Christina Oatfield, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Policy Director

 

I recently blogged about new legislation seeking to expand the legal scope of the sales of homemade meals and we at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) co-hosted a town hall about it last Wednesday, April 20. Here’s a continuation on that story with some major updates and reflections on the future of homemade food in California….

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#PeoplePoweredEconomies: It's time to change the rules!

When we started the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) almost seven years ago, it was inspired by the vision that communities everywhere should create and control the resources and relationships they need to live well. We've traveled a long way toward that vision since then, but wealth inequality, housing insecurity, and climate change certainly haven't gone away. It's time to change the rules. It's time for a People Powered Economy!
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California Bill Would Make Investing in Local Businesses Easier

Photo: Marcin Wichary (CC-BY) 

Cat Johnson of Shareable writes about the Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) and what it could do for investors and entrepreneurs in California. 

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CA Local Economies Securities Act Passes Through the Banking and Finance Committee -- Will Open Doors for Small Enterprises to Raise Capital

Contact: Christina Oatfield, (415) 8285627, Christina@theselc.org

OAKLAND, CA.— Sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the California Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) passed through the CA Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. LESA will exempt certain securities offerings from California permit requirements, and therefore open doors to raising capital for a variety of enterprises necessary to the economic and ecological health of California, including small farms, agricultural land trusts, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations with business income, and renewable energy systems. It was introduced by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown.

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Are you as politically active as a 4th grader?

April’s always an exciting time for me! The legislative session is in full gear, which means that I’m engaging with partners and legislators and speaking up for policies to support stronger local food and agricultural economies. Earth Day is right around the corner and the spring rain reminds me that the seeds I’ve planted are ready to sprout.

Speaking of seeds, we recently had a hearing for our bill to protect seed sharing, the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act (AB 1810). It passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, in part due to the work of these excellent advocates and official sponsors of the bill!

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