‘The Insurgent Power of the Commons’ a talk by Silke Helfrich & David Bollier

Join us for a stimulating evening with two of the leading thinkers in the commons movement, Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, as they discuss the ideas in their new book, ‘Free, Fair and Alive – the insurgent power of the commons.’ (New Society Publishers)

“Free, Fair, and Alive is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook for “commoning”—free, self-organizing systems ranging from alternative currencies to open-source everything. It presents a bold and compelling alternative to the dead-end, predatory market-state system.”
 
Can the commons provide a model for a new economics in these times of climate emergency? Can people in communities, in Devon and beyond, work together for common good? How could such a process emerge amidst the current chaos of Brexit, Extinction Rebellion, and political polarization?
 
These questions and more will form part of the discussion with Silke and David. Please join us!
 
When:  7:30pm September 18th
Where:  United Free Church, Totnes
Cost:  Sliding scale
 
Another in our Adventures in New Economics occasional series of talks.

 

 

 

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Community Turns Out to Support Local Entrepreneurs

by Tom Quayle

This year, we ran the 8th annual Community of Dragons in Totnes and helped pull off the first ever Local Entrepreneur Forum, including the Community of Dragons, in Torbay. These are exciting and important events helping build a more socially just and environmentally friendly economy.

In Totnes, on May 16th, the ballroom of the Royal Seven Stars was absolutely packed with people from the community looking to invest their time, money and skills with four local entrepreneurs who were pitching for support.

We had Chris Smith from New Futures Academy, aiming to give local young people the skills for a sustainable future through a range of short courses and full time further education. Rachel Phillips and Mark O’Connell from the Apricot Centre were hoping to get support in enabling them to better provide wellbeing services in their woodland for children and families experiencing difficulties. Melissa Milne was hoping to go full time with her business Melbee Artworks providing upcycling workshops and artistic services for the local area. Last but not least Dan Mifsud from the Dartington Mill was aiming to be part of a local food revolution, taking wheat in from local farmers and producing flour for local bakers. The latter is a promising legacy of the Grown in Totnes project.

Each of these projects aims to contribute positive impacts to the local community in a range of ways, from providing wellbeing services to educational opportunities, to decarbonising agriculture and providing ethical artwork.

Almost 175 pledges of support were made on the night, no doubt encouraged by the persuasive compèring of Jay Tompt and Katie Tokus. These ranged from substantial financial loans and construction materials to offers of storytelling and beers. Nearly £1,400 was gifted to the pitchers whilst loans and pre-sales arranged on the night and in subsequent conversations are nearing £22,500. On top of this financial support there was a range of other support and investments. These have been very conservatively valued at over £4,000 though in reality that is only part of the picture. What it shows is the desire of the community to invest into a new local economy. Not too bad for a night’s work.

Some of those positive vibes were seen again at the Lucky 7 Club in Paignton on June 7th for the first ever Torbay LEF run by our friends at Local Spark Torbay. The plucky entrepreneurs were Lyndon Forster with PanKind, musical therapy with handpans; Michael Harrisson-Hastings and Tim Lloyd of Mindmaps Wellbeing, providing mental health first aid training; and the team at Gaia Coffee hoping to help young people whilst providing great coffee.

Following an open space event that looked at possible solutions for problems in the Torbay area there were inspiring talks by Maureen McAllister from the Palace Theatre Paignton and Tony Greenham of South West Mutual. This really set the tone for the evening…as did the specially made Dragon cocktails whipped up by the Lucky 7 bar staff.

Like any good LEF there was a real variety amongst the 70 pledges given on the evening. There was money, accounting services, live music performances and flapjacks. Almost £700 in pre-purchases and gifts was shared amongst the pitchers, as was approximately £2000 value in other services. All the entrepreneurs, like those in Totnes, were blown away by the willingness of members of their community to back their ideas.

The continued success of the Local Entrepreneur Forum in Totnes and similar events elsewhere is a real indicator of people wanting to re-imagine the economy in their local area. For more information on plans for the next Totnes LEF and related events in the area please send an email to reconomycentre@gmail.com. If you are interested in those next happening in the Torbay area please send an email to chris@localsparktorbay.org.

Peace & Permaculture in Japan with Kai Sawyer

Peace & Permaculture in Japan
with Kai Sawyer

7pm Tuesday,  June 25th
At the Barrel House
Sliding scale gift at the door

Please join us for this very special evening with one of Japan’s best known peace and permaculture movement activists.

There’s so much happening in Japan. Kai will share his experience with post-Fukushima renewal and acts of compassion, miso-making in the House of Councillors to spread probiotics in our politics, the Peace and Permaculture Dojo, and impermaculture.

Kai is founder of Peace and Permaculture Dojo and Tokyo Urban Permaculture, is a practitioner of gift economy, and teacher of nonviolence, mindfulness and the Gift Ecology.  Read his blog, here: http://livingpermaculture.blogspot.com/2019/02/kais-permaculture-in-japan-2019-update.html

Organised by Totnes REconomy Project and Transition Town Totnes.  For more info, email Jay Tompt – jay@transitiontowntotnes.org

Workshop: How to create your own video!

Saturday, February 9am – 5pm
REconomy Centre, Totnes

Text is good. Images are nice. But if you really want to inform, connect, inspire, then video and animation are about the most effective media you can use.

This course will help you get started with filming, animation and editing for your own projects. We’ll cover:

  • how to work with video
  • using your favourite equipment, Dslr cameras, handycams, smart phone*
  • how to tell a good story and write a script
  • filming, editing and producing a small video ready to upload to your social media platforms
  • and a little introduction on how to use stop motion animation, for creating interesting and fun presentations of your project

* Please bring your own camera and/or smart phone, but if you don’t have either, that’s ok, too!

About Emilio Mula, Nu-Frame

“I’m an artist who uses different disciplines to express myself, like, filming, drawing, photography, and music, mostly. I’m very interested in ways of creating new narratives that can express more clearly the interdependence between nature and humans.”

From feature length documentaries to crowd funding videos, shooting deep in the Amazon to the streets of Paris, animated hours-long e-learning programmes to fun whiteboard doodles, Emilio has deep and broad experience in all aspects of video production.

Cost:  gift economy, pay what you can

Lunch: please bring your own lunch

Booking:  Please send an email to emilio@nu-frame.co.uk

 

 

 

Workshop: Getting to Grips with Social Media

Thursday 14th February 2019, 10am-1pm.

Who’s it for? Individuals and businesses who already use social media to promote their enterprise but haven’t yet got to grips with how to use it effectively. The aim of the course is to simplify social media and inspire you to create better and more meaningful content on a regular basis and to engage with your social network.

Social media needs to work for you and the more you enjoy it, the better your content will be received and shared by others, delivering more benefits to your business and paving the way for social media success.

What will it cover?

  • Why use social media?
  • How to tell a good story and why it matters.
  • The medium is the message – source and create better content for your channels.
  • Managing social media – plan, monitor and engage.
  • Measuring success – metrics and setting goals.

There will be opportunities to work on your own social media channels during the half-day session, so attendees are invites to bring along their laptop, tablet or smart phone. Following the workshop, each attendee will receive a 5-point plan to make improvements to their social media activity.

Cost: £20 (£10 per person to be paid in advance and donated to REconomy Centre).

Trainer: Alex Green, Green-Measures Media. green-measures.co.uk

Register your interest by sending an email to alex@green-measures.co.uk

Please include your name, business and social media handles, along with a short sentence about what you’re hoping to get out of the workshop.

About:
Alex has worked in journalism, PR and social media for public and private companies, including not-for-profits and charities. Much of her experience has been within the tourism sector and the marketing of place or destinations.

“I’m fascinated by people and places and the stories that bring them to life.

“Social Media can be a great tool for sharing these stories and helping you to connect with the individuals or groups that matter.”

Alex has a degree in Journalism and a Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in Managing Digital Media.

Testimonial from Kate Hewett, Volunteering Support Officer at South Hams Community & Voluntary Services (CVS):

“Alex came to support South Hams Community and Voluntary Services develop their social media engagement. Alex made the team feel relaxed and able to talk about their experiences of social media and what they wanted to get out of it. Alex is enthusiastic about the subject and able to provide simple practical advice as well as longer term vision. Our session with Alex made us feel like we understood social media a little better and made us feel like we had a clear idea about how we could start making improvements in a manageable way.”

Local Entrepreneur Workshop – Intensive

9:30am – 4:30pm, Saturday, February 2
REconomy Centre 13 Leechwell St, Totnes TQ9 5SX, UK

Local Entrepreneur Workshop Intensive is designed to stimulate, inspire, and support you as you develop your business plan, and maybe even to help you prepare to pitch your project at the next Local Entrepreneur Forum. 

 
Local Entrepreneur Workshop Intensive

Is your enterprise project ethical, sustainable, or otherwise going to benefit the community in some way?  Then this might be for you.  We’ll cover four themes:

  • Leadership and Organisation
  • Innovation
  • Business Models
  • Pitching Your Plan.

 Includes interactive discussion, handouts and ‘action learning’ assignments.

Coffee, tea, snacks provided. Bring your own lunch or get lunch at the Food in Community ‘pay what you feel’ cafe.

Cost: £20, bursaries available.

To book, email reconomycentre@gmail.com

Facilitator:  Jay Tompt, has an MBA, start up and consulting experience spanning over 25 years.  He’s a coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project and associate lecturer in economics at Plymouth University. 

Citizen-led Economic Transition – a four point framework for guiding action

Originally posted on EnterprisingEcosystems.org

Perhaps we all agree the current economic system is the problem. This is, of course, a generalisation which could be endlessly unpicked and elaborated. But if we’re concerned about global warming, biospheric damage, inequality, etc, the globe-sized elephant in the room, so to speak, is the dominant economic system powered by fossil fuels and predicated on endless consumption and growth. It’s efficiency-oriented and centralising, concentrating ever greater economic and political power in the hands of oligarchs and autocrats, which means change will not come easy.

Perhaps by now we also know that change is coming one way or the other. Experts warn we must rapidly reduce the energetic and material throughput of the global economic system by orders of magnitude in the coming years or face severe consequences, including a variety of collapse scenarios. These consequences will hit real people in real communities in our towns, cities, and surrounding regions. This suggests what’s needed is not just a radical rethink, but a radical reconfiguration of how we meet our needs.

Continue reading Citizen-led Economic Transition – a four point framework for guiding action

Personal Resilience – Key Quality for Entrepreneurs

Recent research for the Reconomy Centre shows that the quality entrepreneurs value most is resilience: to be able to take the knocks, weather the storm, and somehow still come back for more with a smile on their face.

Getting involved with trying to leave the world a bit better than we found it has its ups and downs. The inspiration and the excitement of working with kindred spirits, the satisfaction of seeing people moved or changed, stretching your talents – even getting paid for it – all fulfil the promise of what you came here to do.

But there is also a range of unpleasant feelings: overwhelm, doubt and anxiety. How can you possibly get it all done, and how can it be good enough anyway? And the self- judgements – who do I think I am taking this on? What do other people think of me and how can I manage that? Looking around you notice others seem to be getting on with it despite set backs. They don’t look like they have a permanent knot in their stomach or a constant nagging anxiety.

So what does resilience look like? I suggest it is trusting yourself that in any situation, however challenging, you have access to inner wisdom and clarity to know what to do in the moment. And although being human, you may sometimes feel insecure, stressed or self critical, you deeply know that those feelings are not based on anything that is ‘true’ and that they are transitory. It may look as if the feelings are coming from outside circumstances or from some past conditioning, but you do know they are to do with temporary thoughts and reactions. So no tools or techniques are needed – just a simple and profound understanding of how we create our experience.

I recently ran a series of workshops at the Reconomy Centre where w explored all of this called Accessing your Inner Resilience. It was such a success – I’m running them again. Some of the comments from participants included:

‘I had fresh insights which have given me an extraordinary lightness and clarity that it’s not on me to fix everything.’

‘It is something that sort of sinks in subliminally. After the last workshop I was in a situation where I could have let myself get quite upset and annoyed – and I was consciously aware that the way I thought about would affect the way I felt about it and I was able to let go.’

‘I loved being immersed in the inside/our way of looking at things. Erica held the group really well and brought each of us insights about how we could see ourselves, our situations and relationships more clearly’

‘I have seen for myself that I do not need fixing. I am a naturally resilient person and I do not need to read endless self-help books to re-build this. It is an innate quality that we all share. It just gets a little disguised sometimes. I have seen for myself that our experience is only ever one thought thick. This has helped me to stay more present with my day-to-day experiences and to be more accepting of life’s ebbs and flows. It’s also allowed me to be more compassionate towards myself and not push away my negative emotions/reaction but rather extend the arm of friendship and embrace them. I feel lighter and I find myself less entangled with my thoughts and emotions’

Please join me on Thursday 4 October at 6.30 for a FREE taster workshop at the REconomy Centre which will then be followed by a series of 7 weekly workshops. Cost for the whole course £65 (or whatever you can afford). To book either e-mail erica@inspiringaction.co.uk or phone/ text 07790 177146.

Access Your Inner Resilience

A series of eight weekly workshops on Thursdays

starting on 4 October 2018

from 6.30 p.m. until 8.30 p.m.

Meeting Room, REconomy Centre, 13 Leechwell Street TOTNES TQ9 5SX

The first workshop on 4 October at 6.30 is a free taster. The total cost for the following seven weeks is £65 (or whatever you can afford). PLEASE BOOK – spaces are limited.

To book please e-mail Erica on erica@inspiringaction.co.uk or phone/ text 07790 177146

If you are involved in contributing to making the world a better place this set of workshops could be for you. For example, setting up or growing an ethical enterprise, doing charity or voluntary work, campaigning or social activism.

What we do is often exciting and inspiring. However it can also be stressful. At times you might struggle or feel over-whelmed. You are not as productive as you’d hoped.

In this series of eight two-hour workshops we’ll be exploring an innovative understanding of how we create our human experience that enables you to navigate life’s ups and downs with more resilience and grace. You will then be much more in touch with the ease, clarity and well-being that we all naturally have, and take action in the flow.

Erica Lewis is an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator with a background in the social enterprise, housing and not for profit sector. She is a director of Transition Homes CLT in Totnes and a trustee of Building Bridges for Peace. Erica is committed to supporting people to make the most of their passions and gifts to contribute to a better world.

See more at www.inspiringaction.co.uk.

2018 Community of Dragons May 10th!

This is the 7th year of the Local Entrepreneur Forum, where members of the community come together to connect, support local entrepreneurs and raise up enterprises that are doing good.  It’s like a barn raising. It’s like how during the March blizzard, people delighted in the snow and looked out for one another, helping neighbours, helping strangers.  We’re all in this together.

This year’s Community of Dragons is Thursday, May 10th, at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom. Bar opens at 6pm and programme starts at 7pm.  We’ll have the Leader of South Hams District Council, John Tucker, offering some remarks to get things started. Yes – Cllr Tucker has been a keen supporter of the REconomy Centre and this project and we’re delighted he’s supporting the Community of Dragons.

But of course, it’s all about the pitchers and this year we have four amazing enterprises:

Rachel Musson

ThoughtBox Educationwww.thoughtboxeducation.com –  ThoughtBox programmes develop critical thinking, empathy & connection, helping our children learn to make sense of the world.

 

Anna Thomson

Nourishing Familiesnourishingfamilies.weebly.com – A social enterprise in the making, Nourishing Families is dedicated to supporting parents and children get maximum benefit and enjoyment from food and meals times.

 

Rebecca Cheshire

Revolutionary Womenwww.revolutionary-women.org.uk – Our mission is to connect women who are looking for opportunities to change their lives, and the world around them, with women who can help them to achieve their goals.

 

Yvonne Scepanik

Fieldgrassjuicefieldgrassjuice.com – Organic fieldgrown WHEATGRASS harvested traditionally, freshly pressed and frozen. ‘Nestled on the slopes of fertile Devon, near the coast at Beeson,  our WINTER WHEAT has weathered wild storms, grey blue ocean coloured clouds watering the earth seemingly endlessly…’

 

Everyone is invited and everyone can play the role of ‘dragon’ for the evening.  Investments include offers of help, support, money, hugs – it’s all good!  These enterprises will be lifted up by whatever we can ‘invest’. Come along – it’s fun and fulfilling. And help spread the word!