A local living economy is one in which our basic needs are met within our community and region, that aims to function in harmony with the local ecosystem, and cultivates the creation, growth and interlinking of the basic pillars (or “building blocks”) of most economies.
Local living economies are guided by focusing on locally produced food, products and services; increasing personal, community, and regional self-reliance; shared prosperity and trading of surpluses; building of community through both local economic and human exchanges; and creation of just and democratic societies that measure knowledge, creativity, relationships, health, consciousness and happiness — rather than continuous material growth.
What Are The Building Blocks Of A Local Living Economy?
- Sustainable agriculture
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Local zero-waste manufacturing
- Independent retail
- Green building
- Community capital
- Local and/or fair trade clothing
- Independent media and communications
- Business development/professional services
- Health and wellness
- Arts and culture
This list above is by no means all-inclusive. When one sees all these different building blocks that are part of a local living economy and community, it offers a little more perspective as to what The Noble Carrot Coop could potentially target as far as pursuits and endeavors that could better serve our members and community.
While we have presently been focusing much of our collective attention toward food-related ventures, you can see that there are many more facets to a truly local living economy and, in many cases, one pillar can’t exist entirely in a local environment unless another pillar is present and functioning as well.
We may as a group never venture into anyone as these other pillars directly, but it is important that we are inclusive and in support of them, as well as aware of the interconnectedness of them all as it may inspire others to take the helm on these pillars independently and/or they can become additional separate cooperative ventures under our proposed cooperative framework.
Philosophy And Principles Of A Cooperative
Co-ops are common in the fact that they share a fundamental respect for all human beings and a belief in people’s capacity to improve themselves economically and socially through mutual help.
The seven principles that serve as guidelines for how cooperatives do business are as follows:
- Open and voluntary membership (open to all)
- Member economic participation (members provide basic capital to start and operate)
- Democratic member control (all have equal voting with 1 vote per member)
- Autonomy and independence (limit the influence of outside agencies or business partners)
- Education, training and information (education of members and general public on cooperative business and nature and benefits of cooperation)
- Cooperation among cooperatives (try to help one another)
- Concern for community (members needs are primary concern but also work for sustainable development of their communities)