In this episode of Next Economy Now, Erin Axelrod, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Janelle Orsi, founder of The Sustainable Economies Law Center.
By Sustainable Economies Law Center Executive Director, Janelle Orsi
So often, it comes back to money. Questions of finance are tethered to nearly every issue we work on at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Efforts to build sustainable systems for food, housing, energy, water, and jobs rely on a community’s ability to access and transact with dollars.Read more
New Law Supports Food Security and Resilience by Promoting Seed Sharing
Sacramento, California – September 12 – On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Seed Exchange Democracy Act, an amendment to the California Seed Law promoting food security, urban agriculture, and climate resilience by removing regulatory barriers to noncommercial seed sharing activities, including seed libraries. Introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-10), AB 1810 exempts non-commercial seed sharing activities from industrial labeling, testing, and permitting requirements. The new law will increase access to healthy and nutritious food by fostering stronger local seed systems and encouraging seed saving.Read more
By Erin Dirnbach, republished from Waging Nonviolence
Excerpt: Activists in Oakland have been campaigning for new city policies that would assist worker cooperative development. After successfully winning passage of a city resolution in support of cooperatives last fall, they are now pushing for a new law, the Oakland Worker Cooperative Incentives for Growth Ordinance. Supporters will speak in support at the upcoming hearing at City Hall on September 27, and the ordinance is likely to pass in October. It would grant a variety of benefits for registered worker cooperatives including procurement preferences, development funding, tax incentives, streamlined permitting and promotion of business conversion to cooperatives. The Sustainable Economies Law Center, one of the key promoters of the ordinance, says that it will be the first of its kind to offer this level of assistance for cooperatives.Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center High School Summer Intern, Ciara Smith
In today’s society the idea of distributing a universal basic income can seem like a utopian ideal. In most cases it isn’t taken seriously because people are scared of change or fear such an idea would not work effectively. If you give a homeless man money you leave him with the choice to buy whatever he wants with it. It was your money so you want some say in what he does with it, but you don’t have any say in the matter and that, for me, is the hard part.Read more
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) endorses the Movement for Black Lives and their historic policy platform “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice.” This platform reflects the vision, courage, and collective will of more than 50 organizations and thousands of Black people struggling to make real the insight that “all lives will only matter when Black lives matter.”Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Community Renewable Energy Intern, Adrien Salazar
I arrive on a day when the kids are learning about the Filipina revolutionary hero Gabriela Silang, making pinakbet, a vegetable stew, and getting familiar with the Tagalog words for emotions and feelings. I come to the Lakeshore United Methodist Church community center to find a group of kids chopping up vegetables with their instructor, chef and farmer Aileen Suzara.Read more
By Patrick Lydon, republished from The Nature of Cities
Photo: Natural Farmer Yoshikazu Kawaguchi at his Akame Farm in Nara, Japan. (Patrick Lydon)
Patrick Lydon, Founder and Director of SocieCity.org, a socially-engaged network of artists, writers, and sustainability practitioners, writes about the the concept of an "Ecology of One" and why farmers, chefs and lawyers need to work together to build a resilient economic system.Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Director of Economic Democracy, Ricardo Nuñez
There has been a constant stream of depressing and demoralizing news this summer. A dysfunctional political system, continuing police violence against our black and brown brothers and sisters, and an economic system that continues to exacerbate income inequality. At times like these, we only need to look within our own communities to find hope and renewal. SELC Summer Institute interns teamed up with interns from Project Equity and the Community Economic Justice Clinic at EBCLC to take a day to visit spaces of an economy that redirects wealth and control back to communities; an economy based on solidarity. Below, our summer interns share their reflections on the spaces we visited, spaces where individuals are taking collective action to live out the solidarity economy SELC and our allies are working to build.
Thank you to Design Action Collective, the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, Mandela Food Cooperative, Arizmendi Lakeshore Cooperative, the Addison Court Housing Cooperative and land trust, and Phat Beets for sharing your stories of resilience and solidarity!Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center Executive Director, Janelle Orsi
Imagine that a group of people works hard to fill their neighborhood with urban farms, bike lanes, parks, murals, community services, and education programs. Next, imagine that those same people are forced to move away. Ouch, that bites.
Sadly, this is real: Improving the livability of a previously disinvested neighborhood creates opportunities for speculators, landlords, and developers to increase rents and drive up the cost of property, often causing displacement of the very people who made the neighborhood livable to begin with.Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Summer Intern, Adrien Salazar
Communities of color have played and continue to play a pivotal role in realizing alternative economies in response to chronic economic exclusion in the United States. The history of civil rights is entwined with the history of cooperative economics in the United States. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, in her book Collective Courage, demonstrates this history in her account of black cooperatives and collectives in the United States. Nembhard documents the many black communities that organized cooperatives by necessity to build economic power in marginalized communities.Read more
In a world that desperately needs change, what if we could unleash the full changemaking potential of nonprofit organizations everywhere? It’s time to explore the power of worker self-directed nonprofits (WSDNs) to cultivate more diverse leaders, accountable organizations, and equitable workplaces that represent the same values of justice and democracy that we work to create in the world.Read more
Sarah Kessler of Fast Company covers the obstacles facing home-cooks and the online platforms they use. She follows the story of the start up Josephine, and what they're doing to change the laws of homemade food regulation so that they can resume operations. Sustainable Economies Law Center and our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is mentioned briefly.Read more
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!Read more
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.Read more