New Economy Week Promotes Local Investment Opportunities

Join Sustainable Woodstock and our partner organizations next week as we explore the possibilities of building a stronger local and regional economy through deliberately targeted investing. As part of Vermont’s New Economy Week,  we’re involved in events in South Royalton on Oct. 14 and here in Woodstock on Oct. 15.   The goal is to promote more just and sustainable ways to use money and resources.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Vermont Law School will host a symposium, “Investing in the New Economy: Transforming Investments for Climate and Community.”  Talks and workshops will consider why we should move our resources out of fossil fuel industries and into more sustainable, future-oriented investments that contribute to community resilience. The main speaker is the dean of American environmentalism, Gus Speth, who recently established a New Economy program at the school.

The half-day event begins at 2:00 at the Chase Center on the VLS campus in South Royalton. Local and statewide organizations that are already facilitating new economy investing will be on hand with information, including the White River Investment Club, the Vermont Community Loan Fund, the Vermont Food Investor Network, and Divest-Invest. It should be a provocative and informative event. To register, see donellameadows.org/2015-new-economy-week/ .

The following day, Sustainable Woodstock will dedicate its monthly “Green Drinks” event to New Economy Week by hosting Steve Aldrich of the White River Investment Club and renowned activist and author Gwen Hallsmith. Green Drinks is an opportunity to meet and talk about sustainability issues in a relaxed and informal setting. On October 15 we’ll meet at Mon Vert Café, after hours, starting at 5:00 p.m.

The investment club is a project of BALE (Building a Local Economy), an active and effective citizens’ group serving the White River valley. Aldrich and his colleagues say that “an investment club can be a great alternative to putting your money in the stock market or other financial instruments that leave out your values… and usually have nothing to do with the local economy. An investment club offers shares that are pooled and then invested in truly local projects.”

The club has been meeting for several months and has attracted enough members now to begin supporting small businesses and new entrepreneurs in the White River region (which extends from Randolph to Hartford). Aldrich will talk about the idea and describe their experience so far. This is an idea that could work beautifully in the Woodstock area—so come and be inspired, and let’s make something similar happen here!

Gwen Hallsmith will provide additional inspiration at our event by discussing her new book, Vermont Dollars, Vermont Sense, which she co-authored with local economy expert Michael Shuman. The book describes nearly thirty investment ideas that individuals, businesses, or finance professionals can use to promote local self-reliance and keep financial resources recirculating within our communities and region. It offers various case studies of successful businesses and community endeavors, from food coops and credit unions to loan funds and several food producing enterprises.

It is always a treat to attend one of Hallsmith’s talks. She explains complex economic concepts in clear, understandable language and argues passionately that a more fair, sustainable and localized economy just makes sense. She is brimming with ideas for transforming our current system—one investor, business, or community at a time.

Join us at Mon Vert Café next Thursday at 5:00 for this engaging conversation with two pioneers of the new economy movement. For more details, call us at 457-2911 or email zach@sustainblewoodstock.org. For more information about New Economy Week events around Vermont, see donellameadows.org/2015-new-economy-week/.

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