If Vermont can do it, surely so can we, North Carolina! WNC has a particularly innovative  local food culture, boasting one of the most vibrant food cultures in the country, infrastructure support for those systems, and developing extensive supply chain, regional and local economic development priorities for local, healthy food. However, WNC also has a reputation for siloing, a history of “stingy culture” (low wages and we are third in the nation for food hardship), duplication of efforts (highest per capita number of non-profits in the country is one example I’ve heard cited), factioning and turfism amongst local, regional and state organizations.. This lack of true cooperation is detrimental to our region, and perhaps why, even with all of our amazing accolades for a vibrant food culture, still only 2% of the food consumed locally is produced locally. We have alot of good, smart people with heart who perhaps can see beyond their turf to the bigger picture and come together to truly accelerate our local food economy, accelerating farmers out of poverty and accelerating better health for our populous . Maybe a little friendly “coopetition” with Vermont can ignite a vibrant statewide food systems serving ALL of WNC and the state.

“I have seen the future of how we can transition to a healthy local food system and it is in Vermont. Picture this: 180 people from all parts of the state’s food system, in one room, reflecting on how they have worked together over the past year in a coordinated way towards goals of doubling local food production, increasing jobs, and improving access to healthy food for all Vermonters. Picture a network that connects and provides the structure for collaboration among farmers, food processors, food businesses, retailers, consumers, policy makers, state agencies, university researchers, technical assistance providers, educators, non-profits, and funders. Picture these conversations informed by data and ideas gathered through in-depth research and stakeholder input of over 1,200 people in the state, summarized in a close to 1,000 page strategic plan” (eek, 1000 pages, but if 1200 people are implementing, maybe not so bad!).

Here’s the full article  and I’ll be advocating for this with my friends in state, regional, local governments and the private and non-profit sectors :)

Vermont Collective Impact to Transform a Food System


So, I’m writing from Hayes and Divisidero in the NOPA district of San Fran. Ready to plunge into SOCAP, THE MARKET AT THE INTERSECTION OF MONEY AND MEANING, THE SPACE BETWEEN GIVING AND INVESTING, WHERE PEOPLE COME TOGETHER TO PUT THEIR RESOURCES TO WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”. Am in the esteemed role of Living Bridge/connector/socent leader/den mother for 100 scholarship entrepreneurs coming in from around the world. Connecting them, making sure their experience is meaningful, and learning more about their extraordinary work . Am so excited, like, can’t sleep excited! Thanks to mentors/advisors Kevin Jones and Rosa Lee Hardin for setting me up with this cool gig :) I just hope there is enough of me for all 100 of them!! The “living in the hostel with 100 extreme do-gooders from around the world”, am calling #SOCENTREALWORLD!! I need a video camera. Here till October 6th…..then back to sweet and gritty Appalachia to continue advancing GrittyWorks, our accelerator for good innovations for land-based economies.

So I relived my “Michelle Shocked” moment at the Global Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley this past July – well, sort of. The folks at Michelle Shocked were super fun and noisy – Silicon valley, thoughtful, and a little more restrained ;) “My Michelle Shocked moment” was at a show in Newport, Kentucky, when she asked if anyone in the audience of about 450, would like to come up and play. I had no plans to, but suddenly found myself onstage. And what was so cool is that SHE was truly shocked that not only could I play her songs, but I knew the lyrics and backed her up. And the audience loved it, during and afterward, many folks came asking who I was, where was I from, what was I doing. My Silicon Valley moment so similar: no plans to make a pitch, but found myself making a you tube pitch, along with 59 others, and was selected as one of 5 to come onstage and make a longer pitch to the crowd of about 450 and a panel of investors. And some of the naysayers that were sitting at my table before I made the pitch, insisting that small agriculture was dead (folks who seemed very detached and worked mostly for big government and big corporations – could there be a connection?), were also truly “shocked”. I was a little surprised myself! And sooooo many good folks came up after, wanting to know who I was,  where I was from and what I was doing :)

Great research on accelerators, and looking forward to working and collaborating with Village Capital and Unreasonable Institute – both founders offering to collaborate and partner. VilCap seems to be very good model for regional, has a nice chunk of capital at the end, and runs on a bare bones budget. Looks like we have our grant funding, awaiting on contract to ensure it doesn’t get gobbled up into some governmental programmatic staffing nightmare. Still need to raise about $250k in philanthropy and investment.

Off to North Beach for a macchiato in the Italian neighborhood, pick up my daughter, Amelia, and to say “hey” to my crazy lovely sweatermaker friend, Marianna, whose little shop in the neighborhood bursts with amazing creations of sweaterhood. Then to THE HUB, for the deluge of good! Follow the fun @esaraday!

Developing my timeline for GrittyWorks, the new name for our accelerator. looking at different business model templates, liking the Business Model Canvas right now. Open for suggestions on how best to share and get feedback on the business development process thus far :) Included as part of huge regional grant but won’t know if we’ve got some funding till August, bootstrapping it for now, and even though there’s lots of regional and local enthusiasm and confidence that the funding will be there, it ain’t there yet!! Good stuff happening, though, and keeping as optimistic as I can – getting to be part of the sweet documentary on stories of strong Appalachian women, “We Are Here Appalachia” (contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, it’s a Kickstarter “staff pick”!) On my way to San Francisco this week for the Global Innovation Summit to contribute to conversation on (in their words) “solving one of the overarching questions of our time: how do we intentionally grow innovation ecosystems in new places?” Hmmm, that’s what we aim to do in Asheville with the Grassroots Institute for Good (The GIG) to serve the land based economies of Appalachia and the world.  Then to Boulder for the Unreasonable Climax ;) part of the NC Entrepreneurship Summit in September and then back to SFO in October, thanks to Rosa Lee Harden, to help with the entrepreneur experience at SOCAP12 – i guess that sounds exhausting, but I’m Wide Awake!
We Are Here

“To successfully make the transition to the new socioeconomic era of the information age, we need to learn to focus the enormous power and efficiency of capitalism on the world’s most important problems. To do so will require figuring out how to unite the scalable tools of Technology Entrepreneurship with the moral ethos of Social Entrepreneurship. This is the essence of what the Startup Genome is calling Transformational Entrepreneurship.”

I think we are heading in this direction with our accelerator. i have reached out to the folks opening Asheville’s new tech accelerator to collaborate and connect with ours and they are interested. i want us to launch transformational entrepreneurs in farming, forestry, culture and fiber – don’t ya’ll? http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/04/transformationalentrepreneurs.html

removing obstacles to becoming an accredited investor http://www.crowdsourcing.org/blog/the-crowdfund-act-little-investor-big-market/12836?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.generationim.com/ just released a white paper called Sustainable Capitalism. An excerpt from the 26-page paper:

“The objective of this paper is twofold. First, we make the economic case for mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism by highlighting the fact that it does not represent a trade-off with profit maximisation but instead actually fosters superior long-term value creation. Second, we recommend five key actions for immediate adoption that will accelerate the mainstreaming of Sustainable Capitalism by 2020:

1. Identify and incorporate risks from stranded assets; 2. Mandate integrated reporting; 3. End the default practice of issuing quarterly earnings guidance; 4. Align compensation structures with long-term sustainable performance; and 5. Encourage long-term investing with loyalty-driven securities.

Read the rest: http://www.generationim.com/media/pdf-generation-sustainable-capitalism-v1.pdf

For our appalachian accellerator of farms, forests and indigenous culture, a hybrid of seth godin’s manifesto, http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreamswww.unreasonableinstitute.org, www.echoinggreen.org, and others…..

The Long-Term Capitalism Challenge seeks to accelerate the shift toward a more principled, patient, and socially accountable capitalism—one that’s truly fit for the long term.


Sustainability Initiatives at the Tribal Colleges.

there are no shortage of “target sectors” being singled out by economic development organizations (in asheville, the 5×5 campaign used to market and support the following five local job sectors: advanced manufacturing, healthcare, arts and culture, science and technology, and knowledge-based entrepreneurs), accelerators, funders, incubators, networking events, co-working. not  dissing any of that activity, it is good work. there is a world of gifting and bartering and sharing that is not painted into those sectors. a picture, a map, a painting – the art of economy, for lack of better expression for now. in getting there, the artist has an instinct to which it must be true, but wanting it’s selfish vision to be collaborative. staying true to instinct, collaboratively, collectively, and wary of sectoring too soon, siloing shutting off the hive mind. <as soon as you choose a language, and jargon in particular, you leave someone behind>. but staying with insticts – it’s a dance with vision by the artist in a collective realm, which artists are not wont to do. in this dance, it wants to paint a picture, with completion by the collective. the artist realizes she must be clear, because vague-booking the vision has stirred up scorn, directives, arrogance, guidelines, turfism, excitement, honor, and intrigue. so artist, do not feel guilty of your selfish vision, the collective has their own selfish visions as well (as evidenced by their reactions), even as they arc toward collective, it is a bumpy re-programming for this hard-scrabble appalachian-american culture. the instinct wants to see a picture, a complex web and hive of the humanity of gifting, bartering, mentoring, mining, fees, wages, connecting, bridging, pollinating. how huge and beautiful and complex and human is our economy.