The Latest Local Economy Buzz: Pollinator Enterprises

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

“In nature pollinators like bees, butterflies, or bats carry pollen from plant to plant, and they instinctively know that the intermixing of these pollens nourishes the entire ecosystem. Pollinator businesses similarly carry the best elements of one local business to another, thereby fertilizing all local businesses and creating a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

~ Michael Shuman, The Local Economy Solution

This spring, Monadnock Buy Local is excited to offer a unique opportunity for our region — one that we hope creates much “buzz” and boosts our collective efforts to grow our local economy.  Michael Shuman, author and a leading expert on community economics, will visit our region on April 6 – 7 to share the latest buzz in local economy work — pollinator enterprises.  He will provide inspiration for developing, launching and amplifying the work of new and existing pollinator enterprises here in the Monadnock Region and beyond.


Pollinator Enterprises are innovative, self-financing businesses and nonprofits that drive job growth and community prosperity by supporting economic planning, entrepreneurship, local purchasing, workforce development, collaboration and local investing.  They are diverse in nature and include youth entrepreneurship schools, local debit cards, makerspaces and local farm delivery services.

The success of these businesses is not solely tied to their financial bottom line, but is connected to community goals like the percentage of jobs in locally owned businesses, number of citizens prepared to start a new business, survival rate of local businesses and other social and environmental measures.

Shuman’s book “The Local Economy Solution” digs deeper into 28 models of Pollinator Enterprises.  Here are just a few examples to pique your interest:

Fundación Paraguaya runs agriculture education schools in Paraguay financed through the revenues generated by student-run enterprises.  Their theory is to “learn by doing, selling and earning.”

Fledge is a business accelerator in Seattle that offers training and mentorship for startup mission-based businesses.  It actually pays the startup to participate in its program, set up as an investment in the company.  Fledge then earns equity from the startups that graduate from its program and launch into successful socially responsible businesses.

Tucson Originals is an alliance of locally owned restaurants in Southern Arizona that buys supplies in bulk and markets the benefits of dining locally.  More importantly, they work to preserve the heart and soul of their regional culinary culture.

Credibles, based in San Francisco, is an online platform where customers can pre-pay for food from their favorite restaurant, coffee shop or grocery store, and that business receives critical capital needed to grow their business.

Main Street Genome, based in Washington, DC, looks closely at a business’ operations to identify inefficiencies.  The savings gained from fixing those weaknesses are split between Main Street Genome and each business it works with.

What about Pollinator Enterprises that already exist in our region?  There are many businesses and nonprofits with Pollinator Enterprise-like qualities.  We hope to see more of them become self-financing in the future.

They include the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship’s Incubator Program, Monadnock Buy Local’s emerging Debit/Loyalty Card Program, Monadnock Table Magazine, Monadnock Art x Tech Markerspace, Make It So Makerspace, Monadnock Menus, New England Web & Tech Collective, Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Arts Alive!, Team Jaffrey, Keene Downtown Group and many more yet to be identified.  Help us add to this list by contacting monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.  Stay tuned for more Monadnock Region Pollinator Enterprises at monadnocklocal.org/monadnockpollinators.

We invite you to learn more about Pollinator Enterprises at Michael Shuman’s free public talk on April 7th at 7 p.m. at the Keene State College Alumni Center. This event is part of the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Issues Series and is sponsored by the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Healthy Monadnock, Keene Yoga Center and W.S. Badger Company.  Michael will also lead a more in-depth daylong workshop on April 8th at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship.  Learn more at monadnocklocal.org/pollinators.

Our region has a strong vision for a sustainable community and solid economic development plans to get us there.  Let’s expand our capacity to implement this work!  Pollinator enterprises illuminate a path forward for us — towards our collective vision.  Please explore this new model of community economic development with us, and discover how we can help our local economy flourish.

A Roadmap to a Sustainable Community: The Keene Comprehensive Master Plan

Monadnock Buy Local

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

A sustainable community is one that is economically, environmentally and socially healthy and resilient.  It meets challenges through integrated solutions rather than through fragmented approaches that meet one of those goals at the expense of others.  And it takes a long-term perspective — one that’s focused on both the present and future, well beyond the next budget or election cycle. – The Institute for Sustainable Communities

The City of Keene’s Comprehensive Master Plan reflects this call for a long-term perspective — and sets its sight on a vision for Keene in the year 2028.  This plan, based on a shared community vision, is now in its fifth year.  It’s time to collectively assess our progress around implementing this roadmap to a more sustainable community.

One opportunity to come together and reflect on our progress is at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship’s

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Evaporation As A “New” Approach To Stormwater Mitigation

Originally Posted at Biomimicry NYC

The Urban Greenprint is working with a diverse group of experts to determine how buildings and infrastructure can mimic [forest] functions, researching materials and digging into questions such as:

  • What if rainwater, after being used inside a building, gravity-fed out to a spongy façade where it was held until it evaporated?
  • What if building skins had hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces, like moss, to hold onto water and slowly trickle it off the building, increasing the opportunity for evaporation?
  • What if curbs were built of material mimicking mushrooms to remediate stormwater and store it until it could evaporate?
  • What if downspouts coming off our buildings were designed to pool water in staggered trays along their height, allowing for evaporation, like the leaves of a tree?

Read: Evaporation: Closing the Gap between Forest and Urban Water Flows

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Opportunity: Building & Development

From City of Keene’s Climate Adaptation Plan

Reduce the likelihood of structural damage resulting from predicted increases in severe weather events.

Targets:

  • Encourage more pitched roofs and incorporate design standards that consider snow stacking (zones and increase in roof loads) and ice falling zones.
  • Identify a 200-year floodplain and prevent future development in these areas.
  • Investigate design standards for buildings that currently handle weather conditions similar to the climate forecast New England can expect in the future (e.g., buildings constructed in the southern states).
  • Continue to research and allow City staff to participate in educational opportunities to learn about advances in green building design and practice.

Create, adopt, and implement a City building and energy code that incorporates sustainability, green building materials, and energy conservation principles by 2012.

Targets:

  • Research and review existing information and how similar codes have been developed and implemented in other communities.
  • Improve existing energy conservation standards to a minimum of 25% through implementation of the code in both commercial and residential development.
  • Garner input from the development community and other stakeholders to ensure the development of a code that is easy to understand and easy to implement, while simultaneously achieving the City’s sustainable development and energy conservation goals.
  • Explore the use of traditional and alternative building materials for added strength and durability of construction to improve the longevity of buildings and then incorporate these materials into building code requirements.

Make all new development in Keene “green” (i.e., sustainable).

Targets:

  • Build a green building (City-owned or private) in Keene that can serve as an example for the community that incorporates sustainable design and materials and is 50 to 70% more energy efficient than a conventionally designed building, within five to seven years.
  • Incorporate sustainable stormwater design and management techniques to lessen the ecological footprint of new development, and take into account the potential for greater storm loads, by 2012.
  • Explore, craft, and implement design standards that will support development that creates a smaller ecological footprint for municipal and public buildings (e.g., LEED certification for municipal buildings) while enhancing their resiliency to severe weather events.

Goal D: Lower the ecological footprint of existing buildings.

Targets:

  • Update City code to include green building standards for all major renovations, in a fashion consistent with Goal A outlined above, by 2012.
  • Include options and incentives in the building and energy code for developers and homeowners: alternative building materials, alternative energy sources, HVAC system designs that achieve, at a minimum, 50% greater energy efficiency, by 2012.
  • Update the City’s Infrastructure Standards to ensure public safety in the event of major flooding or severe storm events.

Reduce sprawl and promote infill development/redevelopment.

Targets:

  • Identify areas within the City that have infill or redevelopment potential and are outside an area of potential significant impact to flooding. Aim to have 50% of these areas developed by 2027.
  • Adopt smart growth principles in the comprehensive master plan to support this goal, which provide for growth boundaries to avoid new or continued development in areas that are deemed high risk through a vulnerability assessment.
  • Revise conservation subdivision regulations to create incentive for the developer to provide greater densities and community services in this type of development, while achieving open space conservation.
  • Devise incentives to foster infill development in areas within the City that have been identified as being at low risk for flooding.