Posted 11 months ago on Dec. 12, 2012, 10:26 p.m. EST by Ecophoenix
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I have been working on a concept for quite some time. I finally have a concrete proposal to put forward. I am currently occupying the Pacific Crest Trail to raise awareness for the need to do the plan detailed below, and visiting with small business owners in the towns I visit when I resupply in order to see how they feel about the concept and to interview them to see what they feel needs to be done. You can read more about my journey at www.ecophoenixroost.blogspot.com Here is the initial plan:
Step 1- Fundraising enough money to create the cooperative business structure and keep Ecophoenix Rising fed as he climbs mountains. We will do this by making contacts with small business and soliciting donations. All finances will be kept completely transparent. If you would like to donate, please do so at either of these two links. https://www.wepay.com/donations/thetransitionteamcooperative or https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/help-me-form-a-workers-cooperative-to-help-communities-relocalize-production-and-end-corporatocracy
Step 2- Recruit the subject matter experts, and when we reach enough funding, have an Open Space Technology meeting to formalize the arrangement, by consensus.
Step 3- Recruit the ground team. These individuals will approach community organizations, local businesses, and lo cal municipal officials about how we can help their community.
Step 4- Find depositors in these communities and form the local credit union with the following features. It will have a dual currency system; US dollars and a local currency based on a composite of locally-produced goods, preferably the products of the next step. It will also be a not for profit entity, and preferably a cooperative. The dealings of this institution will be completely transparent, and any excess funds at the end of the fiscal year will be given to other not for profit entities in the following way. Depositors will get to choose 5 organizations meeting the not for profit criteria, and whatever percentage of the current holdings of the CU they own will be distributed to those 5 entities. For example, if someone owns 1% of the current holdings, the 5 entities they choose will get .2% of the excess funds each, totaling 1%.
Step 5- Local business and municipal officials will be approached and will be offered the opportunity to participate in the local currency program. If they accept, any purchases using the local currency will be exempt from sales tax, or at least a significant discount. The purpose of this will be to provide an incentive for the use of the local currency.
Step 6- When the credit union is formed, we will find members of the local community that want a stake in the ownership of the vertical farm, based on the toolkit being developed at: http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Category:Holistic_Aquaponics_Greenhouse_Toolkit
The preferred format for this business will be a workers cooperative, but other structures may be allowed, dependent on what is decided in step 2. The construction of the vertical farm will also be accomplished using local resources and open source technology from the Global Village Construction Set being developed by Open Source Ecology, were possible. For more details about the GVCS, visit: www.opensourceecology.org
Step 7- The goods produced by the vertical farms will be sold at farmer's markets and premium grocers in the 100 mile area surrounding the community first in order to reduce food miles. After that, it will be sold at 125, then 150, and so on miles out until all the products are sold.
Step 8- As the funds that were used for the loan for the vertical farm come back to the credit union, it will be added to a local microloan funding pool administered by the credit union, with the goal of increasing the funding the pool by 20% per year, adjusted for inflation. Local businesses in need of construction services will be given preference if they choose to use a builder that uses GVCS tools in the construction process.
Step 9- When the GVCS approaches completion, a loan will be made available for a local fabrication shop and a retail location for locally-made durable goods.
This is by no means formalized, but is a good starting point for the consensus that will occur at Step 2. Thanks for reading! Feedback is always welcome!
Here is the Facebook page to visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheTransitionTeamCooperative