BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) has announced its second cohort of BALLE Local Economy Fellows, the only Fellowship of its kind in North America, dedicated solely to advancing the local economies movement.
Selected Fellows convene communities of businesses around a shared vision. Fellows are leaders at the forefront of rebuilding communities from the ground up through creative economic development strategies that enhance the staying power of locally owned businesses, and through emerging sustainable innovations in manufacturing, finance and food.
BALLE Local Economy Fellows participate in an intense, close-knit and rigorous 18-month leadership immersion program that strengthens their capacity for transformative change in their communities.
Andrea Dean, of North Kohala, has been selected as a 2013 BALLE Local Economy Fellow.
Dean is known for her projects focused on local food and economy such as: Think Local, Buy Local — a public education initiative to support the local economy; Hooulu ka Ulu — a project to revitalize breadfruit for food security in Hawaii; Hawaii Alliance for a Local Economy (HALE), a local chapter of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) focused on growing the local, green economy; North Kohala Eat Locally Grown Campaign — public education, community capacity building and market expansion initiatives; Growing a Local Food System in North Kohala — community-based strategic planning; Community Harvest Hawaii — food harvesting, preparation and distribution; EBT (SNAP) at the Hawi Farmers Market — increasing access to locally grown foods for low income families.
Dean’s projects have been sponsored by a variety of sources including the County of Hawaii, Kaiser Permanente, Local Initiatives Fund of RSF Social Finance and the Island Innovation Fund of Hawaii Community Foundation.
“I am honored to be part of a group of such innovative leaders from all over the nation,” Dean said. “My particular interest is in growing the local food system in Hawaii and about half of the fellows are also working in that arena — the opportunity to cross pollinate and learn from each other will be invaluable. One of the great things about the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship is that the primary emphasis is on bringing home what I learn in order to benefit Hawaii.”
The new group of BALLE Local Economy Fellows were selected through referrals and support from some of the most respected and well-known organizations in the field: NoVo Foundation, Ashoka, New World Foundation, Rising Tide Capital, Rutgers Social Innovation Institute, Social Venture Network and Surdna Foundation.
The 16 new Fellows are localizing food systems, reversing long-term unemployment trends, and transitioning the workforce toward new economy jobs in communities from Hawaii to Detroit to Oakland to Appalachia.
BALLE’s Local Economy Fellowship began in 2011 and is dedicated to building local economies from within – investing in the people and businesses rooted right where they are – and has seen profound, lasting outcomes within just a few years.
“Creating real jobs and rebuilding local economies requires working on multiple fronts,” said Michelle Long, executive director of BALLE. “Expanding local ownership, spreading effective ideas and models, connecting entrepreneurs to values-aligned financing, and connecting businesses with each other to leverage their collective strength is at the heart of our Fellows’ work.”
An approach to economic development that fosters local business ownership and sustainability isn’t new, and thankfully it’s becoming more main stream every day.
From Economic Development Quarterly to Harvard Business Review, traditional economic voices are certifying that communities with a higher density and diversity of local, independently owned businesses have more wealth, jobs, and resiliency.
The BALLE Local Economy Fellowship’s vision is not without grandiose expectations: the aim is nothing less than a new economy, one that is built on fairness, cooperation, and sustainability.
BALLE Fellows aren’t waiting for big government or big business to step in and fix all that ails a dying system – instead they are working to change economies right where they are, starting with the tools and resources they have: human capital, resourcefulness, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Thanks to the visionary support of partners like the NoVo Foundation, Surdna Foundation, RSF Social Finance and others, the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship is strengthening North America’s collective leadership capacity to make and grow the things we need to live – in harmony with our natural world, and to reawaken within ourselves the understanding that we are meant to help each other.
Michael Kramer, co-founder of the Hawaii Alliance for a Local Economy and managing partner of Natural Investments, said, “Hawaii’s drive to become food and energy self-sufficient must be based on local production, local ownership and sustainable practices, and Andrea Dean, with her expertise, networks, and endless dedication, will use the opportunity as a BALLE Local Economy Fellow to help catalyze change.”
The 2013 BALLE Local Economy Fellows are:
* Andrea Dean, Owner, Sustainable Initiatives LLC, Hawaii
* Toby Barazzuol, Board Chair, Strathcona Business Association; President, Eclipse Awards, Vancouver, B.C.
* Sarah Bishop, Executive Director, Buffalo First, Buffalo, N.Y.
* Adrienne Maree Brown, Facilitator, Detroit Food Justice Task Force, Detroit, Mich.
* John Ennis, Economic Development Officer, Edmonton Economic Development, Edmonton, Alberta
* Christine Hanna, Director, Seattle Good Business Network, Seattle, Wash.
* Angie Maiden Hawk, President/CEO, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, Athens, Ohio
* Nikki Henderson, Executive Director, People’s Grocery, Oakland, Calif.
* James Johnson-Piett, Principal/CEO, Urbane Development LLC, New York, N.Y.
* Erin Kilmer-Neel, Director, East Bay Sustainable Business Alliance; Advisor, One Pacific Coast Bank and Foundation, Oakland, Calif.
* Mickki Langston, Co-founder and Executive Director, Mile High Business Alliance Denver, Colo.
* Matt Raker, Vice President Entrepreneurship, AdvantageGreen and AdvantageWest, Asheville, N.C.
* Amy Robinson, Executive Director, LoCo BC, Vancouver, B.C.
* Sarita Schaffer, Director; Co-founder, Viva Farms; Coordinator, WSU Immigrant Farming Program, Mount Vernon, Wash.
* D’Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director/CEO, Social Justice Learning Institute, Urban Agriculture Enterprises, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.
* Malik Yakini, Executive Director, Detroit Black Food Security Network, Detroit, Mich.