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Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and has compiled some key studies on local store vs chainstore impact on local economics.

Of interest from a study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine, September 2003.: “Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to this analysis, which tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in Midcoast Maine. The survey found that the businesses, with had combined sales of $5.7 million in 2002, spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the surrounding two counties. Another 8.7 percent was spent elsewhere in the state of Maine. The four largest components of this local spending were: wages and benefits paid to local employees; goods and services purchased from other local businesses; profits that accrued to local owners; and taxes paid to local and state government. Using a variety of sources, the analysis estimates that a national big box retailer operating in Midcoast Maine returns just 14.1 percent of its revenue to the local economy, mostly in the form of payroll. The rest leaves the state, flowing to out-of-state suppliers or back to corporate headquarters. The survey also found that the local businesses contributed more to charity than national chains.”

And in The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study – By Civic Economics, May 2007: “Every $1 million spent at local bookstores, for example, creates $321,000 in additional economic activity in the area, including $119,000 in wages paid to local employees. That same $1 million spent at chain bookstores generates only $188,000 in local economic activity, including $71,000 in local wages. The same was true in the other categories. For every $1 million in sales, independent toy stores create 2.22 local jobs, while chains create just 1.31. The final part of the study analyzes the impact of a modest shift in consumer spending. If residents were to redirect just 10 percent of their spending from chains to local businesses, that would generate $192 million in additional economic activity in San Francisco and almost 1,300 new jobs.”

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Jeff Meshel consistently chooses powerful performers and songs for his blog. Many of his selections take my breath away. This one is at the top of my list. He writes: “But the discovery that’s been haunting me for days is this one, a spontaneous, honest homeboy and girl moment.  Aretha Franklin (b. 1942) Smokey (b. 1940) grew up in the same Detroit ‘hood, knew each other since forever. Here she’s the featured guest on a TV show called Soul Train, and Smokey’s a guest of the guest. Watch the banter, the comfort and immense mutual admiration. Watch the emcee challenge Aretha live on camera to come up with a Smokey song.”

Watch this!

Look how young they are. And Aretha is such an amazing pianist on top of her great voice. It’s a gem of a moment.

 

The Revolver wind turbine by  Frog Design set up is a snap and produces up to 35 W so you can charge up your portable electronic devices while camping or in other remote locations.

 

Read more.

Via:  Rahul Gupta at Ecofriend.com

Fantastic. Who knew? Watch this:

 

 

Hap Tip: Jonah

Flash Mob? Crop Mob!

July 24, 2011

Farming is traditionally a physical and labor intensive endeavor. In the past, community efforts were often necessary for planting, harvesting, processing, including barn-raising and house-raising. Modern day farming has become mechanized enabling  farmers to “do it alone”. A lonely career. Through resurgence of smaller farming initiatives a wonderful community spirit has emerged. People are participating in CSA’s and organic and local farmers are recognized in their communities and are well-received at local farmer’s markets.

Enter the Crop Mob movement. A group of 19 farmers, apprentices and friends in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) began to work together to harvest sweet potatoes at the Piedmont Biofarm. They have made it a tradition and out of that tradition has grown to over 50 groups throughout the US. Find your local group on the map.

From the Crop Mob website:

“Many crop mobbers are apprentices or interns on these sustainable farms. The need for community participation matches a desire for community among young people interested in getting into farming. The crop mob was conceived as a way of building the community necessary to practice this kind of agriculture and to put the power to muster this group in the hands of our future food producers.

Any crop mobber can call a crop mob to do the kind of work it takes a community to do. We work together, share a meal, play, talk, and make music. No money is exchanged. This is the stuff that communities are made of.”

For more information, please send an email to info@cropmob.org. And check them out on facebook.

 

VIA: Kay Carroll, Market Master, Litchfield Farmer’s Market

Levi’s WaterLess Jeans are one of the five companies featured in Jill Baron’s article  in lifestyle.msn.com.
These  jeans are made with eco-friendly denim, using organic cotton and natural indigo dyes. The new line reduces water use by an average of 28% per pair (up to 96% for some of the 12 available styles) and represents the brand’s commitment to turning blue jeans green.

Baron writes of these  5 new mainstream fashion lines:  “progressive thinkers with a true flair for style have worked not only to use sustainable fibers, like organic cotton, into their creations – but also to work with major brands and retailers so those fashions are available to mainstream U.S. consumers.”
Happy Earth Day.

Tip from: Greta

DoSomething.org’s “Paper Cranes for Japan”: campaign caught the eye of Students Rebuild, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation. Each crane will release $2 from the Foundation for this fundraising effort.

Mail your paper cranes to Students Rebuild to trigger $2 for each crane. The goal? 100,000 cranes received will raise $200,000 to support Architecture for Humanity’s plan to support the rebuilding efforts of Japanese architects.

They’ll even supply a pre-paid mailing label for boxes of 50 or more cranes. Email: info@studentsrebuild.org. Or send your cranes to:

Students Rebuild
1700 7th Avenue
STE 116 # 145
Seattle, WA 98101

Check out all of the details at StudentsRebuild.org.

How to fold a paper crane:

(Dosomething.org is a fabulous activist site for teens with ideas for groups, clubs, grants and raising awareness. DoSomething.org believes teenagers have the power to make a difference. They leverage communications technologies to enable teens to convert their ideas and energy into positive action)

Via: Josh Spear

Gina’s New Year Advice

January 14, 2011

Gina Lazenby is a dynamic and joyful as well as wise and dear-to-me girlfriend in the UK. Here is her New Year’s advice in 7 steps:

How is your 2011 shaping up?  Do you need some help preparing for the year ahead??

I know I do.

I’ve made a very slow start to the year but that’s normal for me as I always view the real new year as starting on Feb 4th when the feng shui year begins.  That’s the actual date when the new energies come in … until then, at least for me, it’s hibernation central!!

I take January as a non-month and use the time to process the last year, tune in to what I need to let go of and make preparations for another annual cycle. And that takes quite a bit of physical and psychic energy to do.  Maybe you are struggling and feel that because a new year has started you should be feeling more bouyant, optimistic and productive. Forget it. Now is a time to simply get by and go with the flow. Here are some tips to help you (which are really helping me).

  1. Clear out excess stuff: make space for the new.  Whatever you can let go of, books, clothes jewellery, old invoices & paperwork … get rid!  (The Charity shops are crying out for gear to sell)
  2. Take as much quiet time as you can to reflect. I have really been taking things slow; I’ve  not initiated many phone calls and have kept myself under the radar. Plenty of early nights and solitary walks as well as a diet of nourishing food with raw, crispy veggies.
  3. Stay in the moment: do what you are guided to do, follow your hunches and intuition. When I spend quiet time like this I am often drawn to watch movies and whilst enjoying myself I also receive subtle guidance in the stories on the screen.
  4. Ask yourself these eleven powerful questions. They arrived in my inbox from Shiloh McCloud and I think they are brilliant: Go here to read them. Very thought-provoking. 
  5. Ask for help: I use divination cards and can while away many hours asking questions and getting extremely practical advice back from the cards, runes and stones. I already intuited that I need to live a bigger life this year and guess what Goddess card appeared as my energy for the year?  Freya – with the message to be bold. Bold I shall be.
  6. Get more help & support: sharing the goal-setting and visioning journey with others is always useful and stimulating.  This year I have been asked by Transformational Coach Gosia Gorna to speak at her one day in London nextSunday January 23rd.  For the last decade she has run a popular event calledThe Year I Would Love to Have. If you are in London then this is just one example of spending time with like-minded folk visioning a wonderful future while learning some great manifestation skills from Gosia. It would be lovely to see you there!
  7. Make sure your infrastructure works: replace the light bulbs that have gone, replenish the larder and ensure you are stockpiling essentials, charge up your batteries…. just make sure you have order around you so that when the energy speeds up and the pace of life is faster you are ready to cope. I think it is what as known as mending your fishing nets while you are not fishing!

An Anthem for Our Time

January 12, 2011

Out of Many is an anthem for our time with a hope that we can all find common ground to work together.

I co-wrote the song with Thomasina Levy and it has been recorded over the past 2 years.  An extraordinary group of musicians gave their talent and time to help this project come to life. They include David Darling, a 2010 Grammy winning cellist and Nammy winner Joseph Firecrow. We believe a song can help unite us. We are giving this song away for people to enjoy, to be inspired and to help bring our country together.

Thomasina: “Our country is at a transition point, and transitions are difficult and anxiety-provoking, perhaps this song will help make the transition easier.”

Joanie: “I hope that people will want to sing it and make it their own. Maybe it can remind us of what we truly want in our lives. I hope it makes these times easier and more full of community.”

http://www.outofmanysong.com

Facebook: OutOfManySong  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Out-of-Many-We-Are-One/129854830400933

Home Sweet Home

November 9, 2010

Check out this wonderful Hobbit home built a few years ago for $5,000. It is sustainable and cozy!

According to Simon it took about 1500 hours to build over 4 months:

Sustainable design and construction:

  1. Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
  2. Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
  3. Frame constructed of fallen trees from surrounding woodland
  4. Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally very easy to do
  5. Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
  6. Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
  7. Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture compared to cement
  8. Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
  9. Other items were reclaimed from “a rubbish pile somewhere”: windows, wiring, plumbing

Notice the “goodnight, moon” in the sky.

Via: Julie Tara