Every year during the first decade of this century, the Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE) would hold its annual conference. Those conferences were a celebration of local economies and the small businesses that built those economies. Judy Wicks, Michael Shuman, David Korten, Laury Hammel, Don Shaffer, Michelle Long, and Merrian Goggio Borgeson were among the regular masters of ceremonies. Part an articulation of a new economic vision, part story telling from the field, part a three day party — the conferences inspired the growth of a movement.
Judy Wicks and Michael Shuman were part of the original group that founded BALLE (now Common Future). They have continued to dedicate their energies to support just, diverse, and place-based economies. Both are prolific writers and engaging speakers, as demonstrated by their E. F. Schumacher Lectures.
In celebration of 40 years of the Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, and in anticipation of the October 25, 2020 Lectures, with Kali Akuno and George Monbiot we are highlighting the work of past speakers, asking for updates of their earlier remarks, and inviting them to reflect on what they would say to a contemporary audience.
On July 9 at 2pm EST, Michael Shuman and Judy Wicks will participate in a virtual conversation on Zoom moderated by Merrian Goggio Borgeson. They will reflect on their original talks given current political, economic, and social realities and will then comment on each other’s work. They are sure to have great stories from their BALLE days! Registration is free. A question and answer period with participants will follow initial presentations.
Judy Wicks is a leader, writer, and speaker in the localization movement. Currently, she is working to build self-reliant regional economies in her home city and state with All Together Now Pennsylvania and the Circle of Aunts & Uncles, a micro-loan fund for under resourced entrepreneurs.
She began buying from local farmers in 1986 for her restaurant, White Dog Cafe?, which she started on the first floor of her Philadelphia row house in 1983. Realizing that helping other restaurants connect with local farmers would strengthen the regional food system, she founded Fair Food Philly in 2000. The following year she co-founded BALLE, the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (now Common Future) and founded the local affiliate Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, currently with over 400 members. In 2009 Wicks sold the White Dog with a unique agreement that preserves local, independent ownership and maintains sustainable business practices, including buying from local farmers, composting, and using renewable energy.
Her work has earned numerous local and national awards, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian Award, and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Lifetime Achievement Award. Wicks was inducted into the University Science Center’s Innovators Walk of Fame in 2016.
Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a leading visionary on community economics. He’s Director of Local Economy Programs for Neighborhood Associates Corporation, and an Adjunct Professor at Bard Business School in New York City. He is also a Senior Researcher for Council Fire and Local Analytics, where he performed economic-development analyses for states, local governments, and businesses around North America.
He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding. He has authored, coauthored, or edited ten books. Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years in nearly every U.S. state and more than a dozen countries. His most recent book is Put Your Money Where Your Life Is.