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Power of people topic of event

By Nancy H. Gonter, Springfield Rep, By Nancy H. Gonter,

Thursday, September 27, 2007
Power of people topic of event
By Nancy H. Gonter, Springfield Republican
[email protected]

NORTHAMPTON – Easthampton resident Michael Garjian will speak about a community-based economic model he calls “E2” at the Pioneer Valley Relocalization Workshop on Sunday .

The Relocalization Workshop, which will run from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, 17 New South St., is billed as a “day of sharing, vision and empowerment for a healthy, just, sustainable and democratic future.” It is sponsored by the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities.

The keynote speaker for the event is Frances Moore Lappe, who is launching her new book “Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity Courage in a World Gone Mad.”

According to the coalition’s Web site, “relocalization” focuses on local production of food, energy and goods in tune with the ecology of each area. It will help provide solutions to the problems of global warming and other ecological crises, the coalition states.

For information about the coalition or the workshop, go to www.masschc.org

Garjian, the former director of small business development for the Valley Community Development Corp., said in a press release that he will discuss the “limitations of our corporate-based economy and why it is failing us and the environment.”

“E2M is not just an idea. After more than seven years of work by a number of dedicated individuals, we now have an infrastructure and a road map that shows exactly how communities can become as wealthy and economically powerful as large corporations,” Garjian said.

E2M has three main elements, the community, a Regional Economic Council and “EM certified businesses” which contribute a portion of their profits to the council and set aside another portion of profits or equity to be shared with or purchased by employees, according to [Garjian].

Community members can patronize the businesses, ensuring they will grow and provide “a significant and steady flow of wealth to the community,” [Garjian] said.

“The EM model is based on harnessing the purchasing power of individuals. Just as a laser aligns very weak rays of light to produce beams powerful enough to vaporize metal, normally uncoordinated economic transactions can be coordinated to create a sustainable network of EM citizen-controlled economies,” [Garjian] said.



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