September 29th, 2007
Day to focus on living green
By JAMES F. LOWE Staff Writer
Daily Hampshire Gazette
NORTHAMPTON – Organizers of a one-day conference held in the city this weekend believe it’s time to take “Buy Local” to the next level.
Over 150 people are expected to attend a workshop Sunday on a concept known as relocalization, a term that emphasizes strong local economies, public involvement in local government, green energy and organic farming. The workshop is free and open to the public.
“Relocalization is kind of a cumbersome term, but it means the diametric opposite of globalization,” said Larry Ely of Amherst, a member of the workshop’s sponsor, the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities.
The workshop will be held at the Northampton Center for the Arts, 17 New South St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The day’s events include morning presentations and afternoon discussion forums on topics from global warming and oil use to locally-produced energy and food.
Presenters include Smith College Physics professor Nat Fortune, Shays 2 co-founder Carolyn Toll Oppenheim, Jack Kittredge of Northeast Organic Farming Association and Michael Garjian, president of E2M.
Based in Easthampton, E2M is in the process of gaining nonprofit status. Garjian said the organization’s goal is help keep money local, rather than allow it to continue to flow into corporate coffers elsewhere.
“We kind of look at it as the missing link in capitalism,” Garjian said.
Under the E2M system, Garjian said, people in the community will be encouraged to do business with local companies who agree to contribute portions of their profits or equity toward community projects, like affordable housing and small business start-up loans.
Author Frances Moore Lappe will give the keynote speech at 4 p.m. Lappe, who wrote a pivotal book on sustainability in 1971, “Diet for a Small Planet,” will speak on what she calls “living democracy,” and examples of public activism making positive changes in communities around the country.
In addition to the workshop’s plenary and breakout sessions, about 30 groups will have information tables.
To learn more about the event, visit www.masschc.org. For more on E2M, visit www.e2m.org.
James F. Lowe can be reached at [email protected].