U.S. Seed Libraries Mobilize to Protect Their Right to Share

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By: Cat Johnson

September 8, 2014

In June, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture alerted the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg that their seed library was in violation of the Pennsylvania Seed Act of 2004. According to officials, the library would have to follow the prohibitively expensive procedures of large-scale commercial seed companies or only offer commercial seed. The first option is impractical and the second option would gut the exchange of its primary purpose to serve home gardeners who want to save and exchange their own seed. 

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) reported in a recent article on Shareable.net that the Pennsylvania law may only apply to commercial seed operations. Despite what may be an incorrect interpretation of the law, other states are now considering adopting Pennsylvania's seed library protocol. This could kill a fast growing U.S. seed library movement.

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Oakland's Alternative Incubators

Oakland Local

Oakland Local's Eric Anderson wrote an article describing the turn toward business incubation centers building a new and just economy. Read the article below!

 

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Gardeners on Alert as PA Targets Risks of Seed Libraries

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By: Kris Maher

A crackdown by Pennsylvania regulators on a seed exchange at a small library has put gardeners and advocates of locally grown organic food on alert across the country.

In June, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture told a public library in Mechanicsburg, Pa., that it couldn't distribute homegrown seeds. The agency said a planned seed-exchange program would run afoul of a 2004 state law requiring anyone who distributes seeds to conduct certain quality tests, adhere to labeling and storage rules and acquire a license.

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Worker Coop Academy Launches Bay Area Pilot Program

shareable-logo_0_0.jpgBy Cat Johnson, Shareable

Worker-owned cooperatives, far from being relics of 1960s counter-culture, are re-emerging as powerful tools for creating a new economy based on equity. But how does one help grow the cooperative movement when the vast majority of jobs are still built on the often undemocratic private ownership model? The Worker Coop Academy aims to answer that question.

Read the full article on Shareable

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California Complementary Currencies bill approved by lawmakers, goes to Governor Brown's desk


al jazeera logoCalifornia lawmakers on Monday approved a measure making it easier to use alternative currencies [...].

The bill would repeal what backers said was an outdated law prohibiting commerce using anything but U.S. currency.

"This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians' payment habits in the mobile and digital fields," said the bill's author, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson in a press release.

He cited the popularity of bitcoin, and added that under the current law, even gift cards and reward points from retailers could be considered illegal.

"In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives," Dickinson said.

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the Next Nobel Prize in Economics

JO!As the Committee now begins deliberation for the 2014 award, I would like to bring to their attention the woman I consider one of the most innovative economists of our age – Janelle Orsi.

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The Case Against Sharing

Image by Susie CageOn access, scarcity, and trust

By Susie Cage, Medium

"...Sharing economy boosters repeatedly call the whole thing “empowering.” For them, it certainly is. And in some iterations, it can be for all of us. In its full scope, including barter and gift transactions and nonprofit collectives and cooperatives, the sharing economy is decidedly not all bad. Enabling peer to peer commercial interactions can save us time and money; it can lessen our impact on the planet. And it can also replicate old social and economic patterns and further degrade worker and consumer protections..."

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Fixing the Law’s Bias Against Sharing

Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy

by David Bollier 

news and perspectives on the commons

"Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy will be a landmark reference tool for law and the sharing economy for years to come.  May it inspire more law students to enter this under-served field of law, and may it help catalyze changes in law and public policy to affirmatively support the new modes of sharing that are popping up all over..."

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Cooperatives give new meaning to sharing economy

Corey Petersen (left), owner of Tact Massage Therapy, discusses business strategy with Josh Danielson, co-founder of Loconomics, in San Francisco. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

On the face of it, Loconomics and Bring It Local sound like typical tech startups.

But behind the scenes, both companies are fomenting a quiet revolution in their business structures. They are organizing themselves as cooperatives - for-profit enterprises owned by the people who work for and use the services.

 

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Fixing the Law’s Bias Against Sharing

Renowned author and activist David Bollier, well-known for his work on the commons, writes a raving review of Janelle Orsi's book Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA 2012). "...Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy will be a landmark reference tool for law and the sharing economy for years to come.  May it inspire more law students to enter this under-served field of law, and may it help catalyze changes in law and public policy to affirmatively support the new modes of sharing that are popping up all over.  The mismatch between the burgeoning sharing economy and legacy legal regimes urgently needs to be addressed." Read more.

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