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Pioneer Valley
Relocalization Workshop

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Northampton Center for the Arts

Key questions for participants (plenary speakers, breakout panelists, tablers, attendees)

Theme 1: Local Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security/Health

What vision of a re-localized agriculture do we want to make our work aspire towards? What steps should we be taking as organizations and as communities to bring about the changes in land use, cultural patterns (including attitudes about food and agriculture), political and economic power and other areas in order to achieve a re-localized food system and society?

Theme 2: Peak Oil, Global Warming, and the Post-Carbon Future

How would a more relocalized society creatively deal with the imminent threats of global warming and declining energy resources? to marginalized communities? to the steady provision of basic necessities? How can re-localization projects create the infrastructural, political, technological, and cultural changes we need in order to survive the effects of these threats and mitigate or eliminate the role of our communities in worsening these threats?

Theme 3: Locally Produced Renewable Energy and Transportation

What would energy production and consumption and transportation look like in a re-localized future? How would we want policy and decision making to be done differently? Where are the opportunities in our midst to push for both the technological and political changes needed for a relocalized energy and transportation system?

Theme 4: Economic Relocalization

How would the economy look different in a relocalized society? How might we redefine economic concepts like “prosperity,” “wealth,” “property” and “growth.” How can current local and alternative economic projects further the values of justice, ecology, and self-management/local control in our society? How can we shift from competitive to cooperative endeavors? What efforts do we need to make at the regional or state level to set the economic future of local communities in a better direction?

Theme 5: Achieving Justice in Relocalized Communities

In an era of harsh and growing economic and racial disparities, what are the challenges to achieving justice in relocalized, sustainable communities? How can we ensure that our transition to a post-carbon world will happen equitably and peacefully? What are some of the exemplary initiatives already underway in low income and communities of color to achieve justice in food, jobs, housing, the environment etc.? What are the barriers to strengthening and propagating these initiatives? What are the challenges to empowerment in politically disenfranchised communities? What opportunities exist for empowering our communities as we relocalize our economies, our food system, our energy production, and our social and cultural lives?

Theme 6: Democracy and Relocalization

How would we want our system of governance to work in a re-localized society? What exactly do we mean by “democracy” anyway? What interventions can we be making now to transform the political life of our communities toward an empowered, democratic, and participatory one? How can we confront the many obstacles and threats to the democracy we want while also beginning to enact it?

General Questions

  • What opportunities for organizing and collaboration exist that would better fuse these themes together, and what are the barriers?

  • What relocalization initiatives that are going on right now (or could start immediately) should be propagated to a larger number of communities?

  • What types of changes to laws, regulations, or budgets are needed to further relocalization?

  • Should we establish an ongoing relocalization coalition that educates, assists, promotes, and organizes on behalf of relocalization?

  • What would the most important priorities for such a coalition should be? Networking, website, sponsored workshops, support other organizations, local/regional chapters, fundraising, research and studies, local events, organizing economic communities, electoral work (voter guides, candidate questionnaires, or endorsements), refocusing municipal governments, Beacon Hill lobbying, other?

Sponsored by the Mass. Coalition for Healthy Communities.

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