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Relocalization Workshop Celebrates Local Success

PV Residents Already Changing the World, Starting Locally

Don’t ask anyone’s permission to change the world. Just start making the changes, one community at a time, and the world will follow.

That was the message among the 200 people who crowded into the Pioneer Valley Relocalization Workshop held in Northampton on September 30. The atmosphere was crackling with energy and enthusiasm as speakers and workshops told the story of how local efforts already underway were answering the problems of global warming, energy shortages, and economic globalization.

During the breaks, attendees chatted with an entrepreneur who had formed a solar energy company, the director of a cooperative bank, the organizer of a thriving farmers market in Holyoke, an organic farmer who raised apples, a physics professor who analyzed energy conservation programs, among others. Revitalizing local economies was a key subject.

Moderator Jill Stein described relocalization as a way to address global threats to our well-being while protecting local democratic rights from   the coercion of big money corporations. Michael Garjian described the exciting emergence of a growing network of local businesses (known as "E2m", an "economic model for millennium 2000") dedicated to nurturing the local community rather than just extracting wealth from it. Ruth Trujillo of the Greensboro Justice Fund underscored the timely opportunity to build collaboration with disenfranchised communities where cutting edge initiatives in sustainable local food, fair wages and more are making dramatic inroads, locally and globally. Jack Kittredge of NOFA/Mass., Lynn Benander of Coop Power and Nat Fortune of MCHC described exciting models already in action for meeting local organic food and energy needs in the Pioneer Valley.

The workshop launched an ongoing effort to spur relocalization in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.   Attendees signed up to join a relocalization network that will exchange information on an ongoiong basis, as well as encourage collaboration between relocalization efforts.

In a concluding keynote address, author Frances Moore Lappé told attendees that it was time to "Break the spiral of powerlessness and enter the spiral of empowerment." And to those who attended, it seemed the spiral of empowerment is truly underway in the Pioneer Valley.

Click here for photos.

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