BALLE Video features Accelerating Appalachia

Accelerating Appalachia is honored to be featured in a new organizational trailer by the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE):

This video includes Accelerating Appalachia founder and BALLE Fellow, Sara Day Evans, with Kimberly Hunter, Jennifer Flynn and Dayna Reggero, as well as the beautiful city of Asheville, our partner Warren Wilson College and inspiring sustainable students, and several 2013-2014 Accelerating Appalachia nature-based businesses: Bark House, Riverbend Malthouse and Echoview Farm and Fibermill.

Here at BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, we know that real prosperity is local by its very nature. It’s in our place where we recognize that how we treat each other matters. That we are connected. From Seattle to Cincinnati, Asheville to Minneapolis, New Orleans to Buffalo, BALLE is celebrating, recognizing, supporting, and connecting the leaders of a new economy.

Narrated by BALLE Executive Director Michelle Long, this organizational trailer highlights a sampling of BALLE Local Economy Fellows in action in their places — James Johnson-Piett, Alfa Demmelash, Aaron Tanaka, Kimber Lanning, Carlos Velasco, Sara Day Evans, Malik Yakini, Nikki Silvestri, and José Corona — along with many other Localist leaders who together form the BALLE Community.

We’re thrilled to host Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and author of “Good Morning Beautiful Business” at our upcoming 2015 Accelerating Appalachia Pitch Party in Asheville on May 14.

 

People, Place & Prosperity & the three-legged stool that supports us: Private Sector, Public Policy and Personal Transformation

In her October 9, 2015 Voices of Industry article “Hemp, Industrially”, Adele Stafford eloquently describes the subtleties we must attend to as we re-awaken hemp farming after 70 years dormant. We must take care that we don’t build hemp into another extractive ag industry as we have done with corn and soy. I could not be more aligned with Adele’s thinking, love her writing and am excited for her Kentucky visit in November. She has also unwittingly permitted me to pen my own swirling and colliding thoughts on hemp, abundance, Appalachia, biocultural diversity and People, Planet & Prosperity meets Private, Public & Personal. FB, I thank you in advance for this archive.

Speaking at Hemp X Asheville NC a few weeks ago, I may have startled a few folks by saying that hemp was not going to save the family farm. No single crop is going to save the family farm – it’s not a silver bullet, it’s buckshot, and it’s complicated. For the sake of our land, our farms, our families, our health, vibrant rural communities, our resiliency, our way forward must be diverse – diverse people, cultures, indigenous wisdom, food crops, hemp, forest farming, fiber farming, botanicals, and other thoughtful consumption of our basic needs in ways that regenerate us, our land, plants, animals, water and air. Resilient systems are diverse systems – mono-crops and mono-economies are subject to blight, famine, collapse – we’ve seen this with superpests that wipe out a 10,000 acre mono-crop and a monolithic trade agreement that ships half of our jobs overseas. Diversity = Resilience. Period.
When it comes to biodiversity, Appalachia is unparalleled, in the top 5 most biodiverse regions in the world. Southern and central Appalachia has recently been anointed as THE most AGRO-biodiverse (most diverse foodshed) region in the U.S, Canada and Northern Mexico. With over 1500 heirloom seeds under cultivation, we grow abundance. From anthropologist Jim Veteto’s “Place-Based Foods of Appalachia”:
  • “Let’s just go ahead and say it: People across southern and central Appalachia are crazy about plants and animals. In my lifetime of interacting with Appalachian farmers, gardeners and wildcrafting enthusiasts, I have never ceased to be amazed by their knowledge and love for all things green and growing. Whether they save seeds, graft fruit trees, dig roots and bulbs, can foods, harvest wild plants, hunt game, or raise heritage livestock breeds, it is a truism that older people and a smattering of younger people across the region have immense wildcrafting and agricultural skills. The deep mountain backcountry areas of North Carolina, East Tennessee, southwest Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia are pockets rich and diverse in food crops within the central/southern Appalachian foodshed. This should come as no surprise: Appalachian people live in one of the world’s most bio-diverse temperate zones. Global areas of high agrobiodiversity correlate with high degrees of economic, cultural and geographic marginality—conditions that are no stranger to the highlands of Appalachia. Additionally, most of the world centers of agrobiodiversity are in mountainous areas. Given these factors, southern and central Appalachia has the highest documented levels of agrobiodiversity in the U.S., Canada and northern Mexico. Appalachia is the longest continuously inhabited mountain range in the United States, and it has an extensive history of indigenous agriculture by the Cherokee and other American Indian peoples.”
Appalachia’s geography, geology, climate, elevation, latitude have birthed this abundance and it’s ours to revere or lose. Our craggy mountains, which have been frowned upon for their lack of ‘flatland” on which to build and grow, are actually a blessing if we care to embrace and nurture our unique place-based natural economy. Small holder farms growing a diversity of crops, owned by a diversity of people, are good for us, our place and planet. As pastoral and lovely this vision, there is plenty working against us: the not-so-free-market, onerous public policy and we, ourselves and us.
Private Sector: Millions of people across the globe are trying to disrupt the extractive, profit-by-any-means-necessary market by building social enterprises that do well by doing good, investing in those enterprises (impact investing), supporting local & regional, divesting from Wall Street and investing in Main Street and trying to make capitalism work for us and our place. There is wind in our sails: smaller, neighborly, local, even for some of the biggest organizations, is trending; Social Capital Markets, the largest convening of impact investors on the globe, is looking more like Be A Localist every year.
Accelerating Appalachia, Growing Nature-Based Businesses for Good, seeks to solve for our economy and ecology by supporting enterprises that do more good, pay a fair wage and seek to regenerate nature in their business design. Our businesses span the sectors of food, farming, forest products, fiber, clean energy, natural building, outdoor enterprises, wellness and botanicals and serve our basic needs of food, shelter, energy, wellness and clothing: they are models of collective corporal responsibility and not just an industry arm of corporate social responsibility. We iterate the new accelerator model with old wisdom – the wisdom of nature, the wisdom of diverse and indigenous cultures, the wisdom of generations of families that know and love the land. We help these nature-based businesses quickly iterate their business model, saving them years of trial and error and connecting them quickly to a local.regional.global expanse of problem solvers. Our accelerator is new, just over 2.5 years in, but our team has been doing good work in Appalachia for over 70 years. We have gained traction with applicants from all over the world and plenty of folks from across the globe to help build an accelerator for nature-based businesses. But mostly, we are gaining traction in Appalachia, faltering and succeeding, just as with any start-up.
As founding director for Accelerating Appalachia, I’ve spent 20 some odd years solving for the ecology and economy of our region, with some success. Besides being an entrepreneur, geologist and policy developer, I am an artist, musician and love to write, and tho my songwriting has been somewhat dormant as we launch and grow our program, it’s easy for me to type away and prescribe this resilient/regenerative path, knowing full well the huge challenges that “sustainable farming” presents, that a “regenerative economy” presents, knowing full well that the “free market” is not at all a free market, that in fact the market is stacked against small farms and stacked against most of us. I love our work and am excited about the global social enterprise revolution that is happening and am proud to be a small part. But the big missing piece from our “triple bottom line” of people, place, prosperity, and which I see consistently in social enterprises, is that pesky “prosperity” part, and especially small farmers: how do farmers make a living and afford to stay on their land? We need them on our land and we need more farmers, as we are constantly reminded by Mary Berry of the Berry Center in New Castle, KY.
Policy: As much as I love working with the private sector, with hopeful social enterprises and regenerative agriculture businesses, I know its going to take more than the private sector to resettle our economy and regenerate our ecosystems. We are up against corrosive Policies and Laws, with huge corporate incentives for agri-business and big business that create a deeply unjust market – food deserts in rural farmlands, where moderate to low income families living in the midst of natural abundance can hardly afford to support their equally low income local farmer, even though they want to. The equation is fixed and not fair and we cannot ignore policy or our policy-makers – we have entrusted them to manage our money and make our laws and they are failing. Yes, I vote and you should too. Yes, I write and advocate for better farm policy and I wish you would, too.
While employed by N.C. Department of Commerce, I was working to help rebuild Appalachian western NC counties that had lost half their jobs when textile and furniture industries fled for cheaper labor. A practically impossible task, given that state incentives were only available to those same large industries that had gotten us into the dire unemployment conditions we were trying to solve for, industries creating 100 jobs or more. Ever the pollyanna, I had the bright idea to establish incentives for a collection of small businesses that together created 100 jobs or more, building a truly diversified economy that would not crash if one or a few of those businesses did not succeed. Crickets. And bumfuzzled, since 70% of U.S. jobs are created by small to medium enterprises. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and soon after the 2010 elections, my program and many others met the budget axe. But, ever-determined, I still hold out hope that we can make this transition within federal, state and local policy to provide more incentives for small to medium enterprises creating good jobs locally. I stay active in policy discussions and actions in my community, and nationally as a BALLE Fellow. I’m active in opposing extractive, local economy killing trade deals.
Policy CAN work: during my 13 years in environmental policy, I wrote the first draft of what many consider to be good legislation – the Kentucky Pride fund – for the clean up of dumps, remediation of landfills, implement recycling programs and cleaning up litter. I testified before the legislature, and with a team of 22 committed folks, built consensus across counties and the private sector and we got it done. And we built a fund that has made a real difference to counties, cities and across the state. Costing only about $1 per month per household increase in garbage bill, we made real progress over 5 years: illegal dumping declined by 85%, recycling increased by 25%, millions of waste tires cleaned out of rivers and hollers, roadsides & rivers observably and consistently cleaner and began the long delayed task of remediating old landfills. This could not have been accomplished had we not worked to repair previously strained relationships between counties and state government, who had previously enforced an unfunded mandate on the counties. I distinctly recall this conversation and the first briefing to my cabinet Secretary that if he wanted to clean up Kentucky, we could not put that burden entirely on the counties without also funding the program. And I distinctly recall the fear in the pit of my stomach in presenting to my new boss (a former Army general who had moved back to Kentucky after being away over 30 years and was appalled at the state of the hillsides and rivers in his childhood home, Harlan County, Ky). Fortunately, he saw the wisdom in this, as did the counties, as did the cities, the private sector and the legislature. The bill passed unanimously. Policy can and should work for us, but we have to make it so.
Personal: It’s work to appreciate this life I’ve been given, make meaning of it, to feel deeply grateful for it and to be still enough to let the joy in. Finding and rooting out my biases, blocks, preconceived notions, unhealthy patterns, while discerning what is good, what is true and what are the takeaways. Remaining open to the unlimited possibilities of the “yet to be known”, reminding myself that what I know pales in comparison to what I have yet to learn. Giving myself time to grieve the pain, the losses, the abuses and reminding myself that it’s a trick of our ego to think we are alone in our pain, that in fact everyone is in some kind of struggle and someone can always one-up your misery or joy – don’t waste your time on that useless competition. To be hopeful around my creative capacity, to be quiet, to love, be loved and to forgive.
It’s work to be human, and as such we mimic the very tension of the universe: we are here on this planet because of the state of tension in which our planet is held, enough balance to allow for life. Tension is just in our nature, and it’s uncomfortable and painful and forces us to grow. At least that’s how it appears to me at this juncture – there could be a blissful nirvana that I’ve not yet achieved that will change everything I’ve just written 😉
So like this lovely hemp plant that’s been pent up 70 years and now being released to be PART of a diverse healthy farm system, and 70 year pent up rivers released to help build Appalachian outdoor economies and river ecosystem restoration, and like many of us, pent up and wanting better for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our communities, our world – we have to get in there! It’s complicated and it takes commitment, but what else are you going to do with your wild and beautiful life? Plant some heirloom seeds, trade with your neighbors, buy local, invest local, vote with your pocketbook, speak up, take care of yourself.
This triple bottom line of “people, place, prosperity” can only move forward if we engage in solutions and support for good businesses in the private sector, pay attention and stay active on policies that impact our lives and freedoms and attend to our personal lives. All three legs of the stool are essential to hold us up. It’s not a silver bullet, this life, it’s buckshot.

Neighborhood Economics

We will be in Louisville, Kentucky November 12-13. Accelerating Appalachia founder Sara Day Evans will be speaking alongside international thought leaders and local change makers at Neighborhood Economics:

We are coming together from a wide variety of sectors to look at economic development within a relational, community oriented perspective. Our goal is to change the story of the economy from empire to community.If you want to be part of amazing conversations between local change makers learning how to get it done together, and participate at the ground level of a collective learning network, then you need to join us for this unique summit of action oriented change-makers.

neighborhood economics

While in

Climate Listening Project

We’re excited to be featured in a new Climate Listening Project for our work accelerating sustainable businesses in Western North Carolina, along with Riverbend Malt House and Echoview Farm, two great businesses that participated in our inaugural program, as well as Accelerating Appalachia’s sustainable business class at Warren Wilson College. Also featured are NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, The Collider and Center for Climate and Resilience, and Facebook Data Center, among others.

Watch the trailer below:

We are proud to connect and accelerate businesses, investors and networks that are creating sustainable solutions in local communities. Every community has a story, from Western North Carolina, throughout Appalachia, and beyond. This storytelling project focuses on people and place and inspires more local conversations about climate resilience.

People are invited to share their climate stories on Facebook @ Climate Listening Project.

The Climate Listening Project is produced by Dayna Reggero, with support from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA).

 

Accelerating Agriculture with Hemp

Accelerating Appalachia is excited about making real connections throughout Appalachia.

Smiling Hara Tempeh, LLC in North Carolina is campaigning to create the first-ever Hempeh, soy-free tempeh, with hemp from Kentucky’s Growing Warriors.

From the Smiling Hara kickstarter campaign:

Sarah Yancey and Chad Oliphant started Smiling Hara (which translates to “happy belly”) in 2009 with the intention of providing an organic, non-GMO and locally sourced tempeh to customers in the Southeast. The hemp seeds and beans in Hempeh will be sourced from Growing Warriors, a working farm in Kentucky that teaches military veterans how to grow their own food. If brought to market, a portion of the profits from Hempeh will be donated back to Growing Warriors. Brothers and military veterans Mike Lewis and Fred-Curtis Lewis started Growing Warriors Project to address the needs of other veterans transitioning to civilian life.

hempehSara Day Evans of Accelerating Appalachia, with Chad Oliphant, Smiling Hara Tempeh, and Fred-Curtis Lewis of Growing Warriors.

Read more about Growing Warriors.

Accelerating Appalachia Chosen for BALLE’s Local Economy Fellowship

National Business Alliance Names Third Cohort of Localists Leading the New Economy

balle fellows

Accelerating Appalachia Chosen for BALLE’s Local Economy Fellowship

BALLE (the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) today announced its third cohort of BALLE Local Economy Fellows – 17 leaders from across North America chosen as the top pioneers of the Local Economy Movement. BALLE Local Economy Fellows participate in an intimate and rigorous 18-month leadership immersion program that further strengthens their capacity for transformative systems change in their communities. Locally, Accelerating Appalachia’s founder, Sara Day Evans, has been selected to represent Appalachia; the profile can be found here: https://bealocalist.org/sara-day-evans.

“Accelerating Appalachia connects innovative nature-based businesses, investors and mentors aligned with people, place and prosperity,” says founder, Sara Day Evans.

Accelerating Appalachia’s next intensive session will commence in Winter of 2014, with applications for admission starting in September 2014. They will bring in seasoned entrepreneurs and proven practitioners to serve as business development mentors, and coach entrepreneurs around pitches for funding and expanding networks. Accelerating Appalachia is responding to success and growing demand from it’s inaugural session in 2013:

  • Entrepreneurs – 100+ businesses applied to inaugural session in 2013, 5 of 10 in final cohort received investment, $500,000 received across businesses seeking investment
  • Investors/Mentors – More than 40 participated in our inaugural session, in-kind support of $1.5m, development of fund for small to medium investments from individuals in Appalachia and around the world
  • Communities – More than 30 jobs created, at least 5 Appalachian communities seeking our services in 4 states after just one year
  • Youth/Students – Currently working with two Appalachian universities (Warren Wilson College in Western North Carolina and Berea College in Kentucky) and several more higher education institutions are interested in working with ACAP
  • Women – 75% of the accelerator applicants were women-led businesses
  • Media – Great coverage from Bloomberg Businessweek, Capital Institute, Upstart Biz Journal, Triple Pundit and others

Individually, each 2014 BALLE Local Economy Fellow is a proven leader and innovative local economy connector – someone who represents, convenes, and influences whole communities of local businesses from Boston to New Orleans to Minneapolis. Combined, they are a diverse group of leaders who represent the cutting edge of social entrepreneurship incubation, community capital cultivation, and social justice.

“These challenging times require a different type of leader who can create the conditions for a new economy to emerge. Developing this type of leader is the purpose of the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship,” said Michelle Long, executive director of BALLE. “With the transformational leadership development, skills and tools, and connections these leaders will receive as part of the fellowship, BALLE Local Economy Fellows will be poised to democratize opportunity, ownership and the economy, and bring real prosperity to more people; fundamentally fixing our global economy from the ground up.”

BALLE’s Local Economy Fellowship began in 2011 with a vision of creating an interconnected network of local economies that work in harmony with nature to support a healthy, prosperous, and joyful life for all people. Within a decade, BALLE plans to connect and support 250 communities of practice across North America that bolster their local economies from within – investing in the people and businesses rooted right where they are.

“The combination of personal transformation work and concrete support in planning local economies has accelerated our work in ways that I had no context for before this fellowship,” said 2013 BALLE Local Economy Fellow and Green For All Executive Director Nikki Silvestri. “I’ve gotten better at economic development and I’ve gotten better at being a leader.”

The new group of fellows joins the 2011 and 2013 cohorts, bringing the total number of BALLE Local Economy Fellows to 42 leaders representing more than 34,000 businesses and reaching over one million people. The program has already seen profound, lasting outcomes within just a few years, such as $4.28 million raised by January 2014 in new funding that Fellows directly attribute to connections or skills developed through the fellowship and 74 instances of collaboration.

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, Echoing Green, Ashoka, New World Foundation, Rutgers Social Innovation Institute, Social Venture Network and Surdna Foundation. BALLE’s central partner in Local Economy Fellowship content development and program oversight is the Ventana Group, world-renowned leaders in transformative leadership development and systems change.

“We believe that an economic and cultural transformation to create real prosperity will require supporting emerging innovators,” said Jennifer Buffett of the NoVo Foundation. “This is why our partnership with BALLE to identify, connect, nourish, and illuminate today’s top local economy leaders is a key part of our strategy.”

An approach to economic development that fosters local business ownership and sustainability isn’t new, and is becoming more mainstream 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 aim of the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship is nothing less than a new economy built on fairness, cooperation, and sustainability.

“BALLE Local Economy 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 BALLE Local Economy Fellows Announcement are, starting with the tools and resources they have: human capital, resourcefulness, and an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Shawn Escoffery, Director of the Strong Local Economies Program for the Surdna Foundation.


Congratulations to the 2014 BALLE Local Economy Fellows!

1. Name: Jay Bad Heart Bull
Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Organization: Native American Community Development Institute
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/jay-bad-heart-bull

2. Name: Andrea Chen
Place: New Orleans, Louisiana
Organization: Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/andrea-chen-fellow

3. Name: Jose Corona
Place: Oakland, California
Organization: Inner City Advisors
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/jose-corona

4. Name: Alfa Demmellash
Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
Organization: Rising Tide Capital
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/alfa-demmellash

5. Name: Steven Dubb
Place: Takoma Park, Maryland
Organization: The Democracy Collaborative
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/steve-dubb-fellow

6. Name: Sara Day Evans
Place: Asheville, North Carolina
Organization: Prosperity Collective and Accelerating Appalachia
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/sara-day-evans

7. Name: Crystal German
Place: Cincinnati, Ohio
Organization: Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/crystal-german

8. Name: Eric Griego
Place: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Organization: Fast Forward Consulting
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/eric-griego

9. Name: Robert “Bob” Junk
Place: Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania
Organization: Fay-Penn Economic Development Council
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/bob-junk

10. Name: Ramon Leon
Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Organization: Latino Economic Development Center
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/ramon-leon-fellow

11. Name: Adele London
Place: New Orleans, Louisiana
Organization: Good Work Network
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/adele-london

12. Name: Jessica Norwood
Place: Mobile, Alabama
Organization: Emerging ChangeMakers Network
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/jessica-norwood

13. Name: Kelly Ramirez
Place: Providence, Rhode Island
Organization: Social Enterprise Greenhouse
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/kelly-ramirez

14. Name: Eunieka Rogers-Sipp
Place: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Organization: Sustainable Rural Regenerative Enterprises for Families (SURREF)/SURREF Enterprises, Inc.
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/euneika-rogers-sipp-fellow

15. Name: Aaron Tanaka
Place: Boston, Massachusetts
Organization: Boston Impact Initiative / Center for Economic Democracy
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/aaron-tanaka-fellow

16. Name: Carlos Velasco
Place: Phoenix, Arizona
Organization: Fuerza Local Arizona
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/carlos-velasco-fellow

17. Name: Donovan Woollard
Place: Vancouver, British Columbia
Organization: Transom Enterprises / RADIUS Ventures
Full profile: https://bealocalist.org/donovan-wollard


 

BALLE is a non-profit organization focused on creating real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions that work, and driving investment toward local economies. BALLE equips entrepreneurs with tools and strategies for local success, and provides a national forum for the most visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity and innovate.

BALLE is based out of the Impact Hub Oakland.

The Nature of Investing at #SOCAP14

At SOCAP 14 in San Francisco, 2500 entrepreneurs, investors, innovators and community leaders from across the globe are coming together to discuss breaking new ground in social impact and Igniting Vibrant Communities.

Check out our video interview with SOCAP co-founder and executive producer, Rosa Lee Harden.

The Nature of Investing discussion was led by Katherine Collins, founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital, Shaun Paul, president and founding partner of Reinventure Capital, and Gregory Wendt, senior wealth advisor and head of west coast office for Stakeholder Capital.

“There is vast potential to create more coherent and regenerative economic activity by examining the ways in which nature creates robust and resilient ecosystems. Investments can be designed with a “whole system,” biomimicry approach that creates processes and products that support the health of the whole. This approach highlights the role that local connection and local engagement play as essential components of any healthy system.”

Accelerating Appalachia is excited to be out west this week representing innovative nature-based businesses from the east.

If you were unable to attend, you can watch SOCAP from Appalachia and beyond on YouTube. Plus, follow the discussion on Twitter at #SOCAP14.

Also, we launched our Twitter account this week! Please stop by and connect with us at AccelAppalachia @Nature_Business.

Igniting Vibrant Communities: Conversation with SOCAP

This week, September 2-5, is the 7th annual flagship SOCAP conference.

SOCAP14 will unite innovators in business, tech, the sharing economy, health, philanthropy, and more to advance environmental and social causes.

Rosa Lee Harden, co-founder and executive producer of SOCAP: Social Capital Markets, talked with Dayna Reggero of Accelerating Appalachia over the winter about bringing together investors and communities to provide support to women entrepreneurs and other innovators who are solving environmental or social problems. Watch:

Follow the #SOCAP14 conversation.

Check out our post on The Nature of Investing at SOCAP.

Slow Money Event in Asheville

Accelerating Appalachia co-hosted Slow Money NC: Financing our Foodshed meeting on Sunday, Aug. 24.

“Asheville really stands out in the area of entrepreneurship,” says Hewitt, who cited both the quantity of entrepreneurs in the area and the community’s general support for entrepreneurship as major contributors to Asheville’s food industry excellence.

“Co-hosting the event was Accelerating Appalachia, another power house in community financing for sustainable food businesses. The Asheville-based organization catalyzed six loans its first year of operation.”

– Mountain Xpress

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies: BALLE

BALLE connects leaders, spreading solutions and attracting investment toward local economies. BALLE Fellows have the privilege to being a part of an 18 month fellowship designed to  give them the resources to better local economies. Accelerating Appalachia founder is proud to be invited to be a BALLE Fellow and participate in the BALLE Conference in California.

At a deeper level, the BALLE community is changing how we think about the purpose of business and the economy.

Through collaboration we identify and spread the most innovative solutions and business models for creating healthier, sustainable, and prosperous communities. And with a growing network of 30,000 local entrepreneurs spanning 80 communities, we are leveraging the collective voice of this movement to drive new investment, scale the best solutions, and harness the power of local, independently owned business to transform the communities where we work and live.