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From Complete Streets to a Complete Economy

March 29, 2017 7:00 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Many of us embrace the “Buy Local” Movement.  Together, we shift a portion of our spending from chain stores and online corporations to businesses owned by our neighbors, family and friends.  We move our money to community banks and credit unions and look for ways to invest our dollars on Main Street instead of Wall Street.

All of these actions amount to small steps towards creating the change we want to see in our little corner of the world.  Monadnock Buy Local thinks it’s time for a leap, and we believe we can get there by focusing on policy change: revisiting the rules that cultivate or crumble our Local Living Economy.

From Complete Streets

There’s an effective model for inspiring policy change that’s already alive and well in our region: The Complete Streets Movement.  Complete Streets, a program of Smart Growth America, advocates for policies and practices that ensure streets are safe for people of all ages and abilities.  

Thanks to the work of Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) and Healthy Monadnock, four communities in our region adopted Complete Streets policies.  SWRPC also organized three Complete Streets demonstration events where they made transportation policies come alive -- by temporarily transforming a street into a more walk-able, bike-able and welcoming neighborhood.  They created crosswalks, bicycle lanes, pop-up parks and public art, all installed for just one day.  Community members got to see, touch, smell and enjoy the changes that Complete Streets policies can give rise to.  We were hooked, and hope to see these changes happen permanently on some of our streets soon.

To a Complete Economy

Inspired by this work, we’re cultivating a “Complete Economy” Movement -- an effort to implement polices and practices that ensure our local economy works for more of us.  A Complete Economy would balance the needs of different types of businesses and support a stronger quality of life for all.

What might this movement look like in our community? It’s up to us to decide -- but here’s some inspiration: We could create policies that bring us better access to broadband, more composting and less trash, more hospitals and municipalities buying from locally owned businesses and more access to capital for triple bottom line businesses.

To ready our community for this leap, we will bring Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) to Antioch University New England in Keene on the evening of May 4.  Stacy is a senior researcher with ILSR and directs its initiatives on banking and independent business. Her book Big-Box Swindle appeared on several top-ten lists and Bill McKibben calls it “the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country.”

We invite civic-minded businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor our Complete Economy event.  You can support this event by becoming a Citizen Member of Monadnock Buy Local for $25.  We’ll list all of our 2017 Citizen Members on our website and our Complete Economy event program.  Become a Citizen Member online or mail a check to Monadnock Buy Local, 63 Emerald Street PMB 114, Keene, NH 03431.

View sponsorship details for businesses and organizations.  As of this writing, our Complete Economy event sponsors include the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock Shopper News and Toadstool Bookshops.   Thank you!

Instead of just acting individually as consumers, we want to inspire people to come together as citizens and advocate for policy changes that create a more diverse, fair and regenerative economy in the Monadnock Region. We invite you to support this work.

The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431

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