What is the free market consumer ideology? How does its assumptions affect our lives? In this “The One You Feed” podcast, guest Peter Block discusses concepts from his book, An Other Kingdom, including the pillars of the free market consumer ideology: Scarcity, Certainty, Perfection, and Privatization. As people search for meaning and freedom, Peter shares how neighborliness and covenant are part of an alternative narrative.
“Questions bring us together. Answers alienate us.”
“The scarcity mindset is a lie. There is enough.”
“The ‘how’ question destroys our faith in each other, as if the only thing that matters is how long, how much, how predicable.”
Fare & Square VP of Retail Operations Mike Basher shares insight into the Chester, Pennsylvania supermarket formed by a Philadelphia food bank (Philabundance). Fare & Square is the first nonprofit grocery store of its kind in the U.S. bringing healthy, affordable food to what was once a food desert.
Operating in a low-income neighborhood, the store takes an interest in sharing how to prepare healthy food for low cost. Competing for low prices on meats, offering a special carry cash rewards system and educating customers on different choices are some of the ways Fare & Square is uniquely serving its community.
Don’t miss listening to the full conversation and hear how this model could be replicated across the country.
“We’re trying to provide families in this community fresh affordable healthy foods that they can get right in their own back yards.” – Mike Basher
Fare & Square (store website)
Chester’s Nonprofit Food Market Tries to Square Mission with Bottom Line (online feature by Laura Benshoff for WHYY)
Chester Supermarket, ‘Fare & Square’ Changing Lives in Community (news clip by Matt DeLucia, NBC10 News)
Lisa Gale Hadden, Michigan Area Health Education Center executive director, has learned that when medical and nursing students go to neighborhoods to talk with families about their health they discover untapped resources and assets.
“They really saw the value in connecting to the neighborhood health wisdom and used that to become better health care professionals. It changed their care planning for their patients.” Students asked appreciative, open-ended questions to discover how neighbors define their own health in their own terms. Twenty years later, the students have who are now practitioners are still talking about it.
In this conversation, Lisa – who acts as a bridge between medical and community knowledge in her work – shares more about this experience with John McKnight and Peter Block.
“The more that there’s income equality in a community, or city, or town the healthier people are.” – Lisa Gale Hadden
“Our advice (to students) has always been . . . you’re there first and foremost to just be a neighbor. I think our students really began to see that as they developed relationships with our neighbors.” – Lisa Gale Hadden
How can we connect local change-making pioneers and reduce their sense of isolation? A new, online platform called PeoplesHub will bring interactive, participative processes to local neighborhood groups and connect them to trainers and other groups across the country.
Sarah van Gelder, co-founder of YES! Magazine, says PeoplesHub training will range from general topics – such as how to host an ecstatic meeting and how to navigate conflict – to providing tools for specific areas of change people are working on.
Instead of bottom-up or top-down, the platform promotes lateral connections amongst people who are engaged in social innovations. In this call with Peter Block and John McKnight, Sarah discusses the initial phases of the new online platform and its methodology.
“(The) power that people have in their own communities to get stuff done … if we can unleash that power, we can have a real transformation of this country.” – Sarah van Gelder
Tune into this insightful conversation with Cormac Russell. Cormac, Managing Director of UK-based Nurture Development, has been doing asset based community work in over 100 neighborhoods around the world.
In this conversation, Cormac shares the 8 Touchstones he developed for animating neighborhood relationships. He also shares about learning sites, the role of the community animator and connector, and lessons being learned.
“A lot of our work is about just calling people into a radical presence and a radical act of revealing what’s here, and how we can get that connected up and mobilized.” – Cormac Russell
“We are very focused on how we can accompany local residents and interested practitioners on the journey of getting into right relationship with each other. That’s a critical first touchstone.” – Cormac
Photo via Nurture Development
Former mayor Priscilla Corcoran Mooney talks with John McKnight and Peter Block about community life in the small coastal town of Branch, Newfoundland, Canada. In 2007, Branch town council held a “come home” reunion-type event and listed the “Top 21 Reasons to live in Branch,” attracting national media attention. Branch citizens are known for their strong sense of belonging.
Priscilla shares about initiatives connecting people and contributing to well-being, such as a community dinner where photo slideshows spark conversation and a corner store with healthier food options.
Top 21 Reasons to Live in Branch
Jubilee is an attempt to be a “ray of light that pierces through the darkness of fear,” says Adam Clark. In this audio recording, Adam, Associate Professor of Theology at Xavier University, talks with Peter Block about the modern vision of Jubilee – a biblical metaphor based on a period of economic re-distribution where slaves are set free, land is returned to its original owners and debts are forgiven.
Adam talks about the ideology of consumerism as a form of religion, the politics of disposability, distributing ownership and more in this radical conversation. Listen here:
“What’s so kind of remarkable about the consumer religion is that it’s not attached to any place. It’s all over. Any place is interchangeable . . . . The religion is something that thrives in homogenizing global culture.” – Adam Clark
“A beloved community is where everybody has some control over their economic lives and participates in the economy. That’s just never happened.” – Peter Block
View these videos of Adam Clark in conversation with Peter Block:
In Rochester NY, Deborah Puntenney and her network are transforming the conventional wisdom about how foundation money can produce resident health outcomes. Eight years into the project with the Greater Rochester Health Foundation they are investing in the social determinants of health through grassroots, place-based and resident-driven efforts. This is not about more health services.
The foundation and a group of its grantees formed the Neighborhood Health Status Improvement Initiative, where four neighborhood groups are using Asset Based Community Development to work on health-related issues.
Deborah shares examples from an inner-city community in this conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:
photo courtesy Pixabay.com
“We are here to change the paradigm, how you think, about public housing residents,” says Lashkela “Nikki” Steele, the Parliamentarian and Service Coordinator for J-Rab (Jurisdiction Resident Advisory Board) Inc. J-Rab advocates for social justice and represents more than 15,000 public housing residents.
Nikki shares how J-Rab’s business and service coordination center is working through the six “p’s” to prosperity. The first task is planning and looking at residents who have capacities and skills that are marketable. They are bringing resident-owned businesses together and supporting them. “There is good every single day that goes on (in public housing),” she says.
A mother of three and grandmother of 11, Nikki is a Sullivan Community College graduate and aspires to receive a Bachelor’s and then Master’s degree. Listen to her talk at the “Sanctuary as Jubilee” Community Forum and Conversation:
Part of Jubilee work is to change the narrative away from the predominant culture where people who don’t have wealth are considered broken. Peter Block says reconstructing our language and thinking involves changing how neighborhoods are measured.
He’s working on an economic neighborhood vitality index that measures the economic productivity of citizens and neighborhoods that are traditionally called broken, poor or untrained. Questions such as: What are you good at? What do you make/fix/care for? Where do you get money if you need to borrow it?
“That’s the real Jubilee idea,” says Peter, convener of the Jubilee Circle. “It’s not we’re going to write out a check and forgive the debts. It’s that we’re going to re-construct the narrative of who these neighbors are.”
He also shares about the need to welcome and get connected with people who are strangers. Peter was one of the speakers at The Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” Community Forum and Conversation. Listen to more:
Cincinnati resident Ras TafarI shares about his own path to Jubilee and involvement with his building’s J-Rab (Jurisdiction Resident Advisory Board) – which advocates for social justice and represents more than 15,000 public housing residents. He shares about the impact of getting involved in J-Rab meetings, learning about being a section three resident and making community connections.
Listen to more of his story from The Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” forum:
How does the world we live in give rise to the need for sanctuary as Jubilee? In response to vulnerable community members and undocumented immigrants the Cincinnati faith community is knitting together a sanctuary movement, with roots after the Hebrew scriptures cities of refuge. Places of worship are viewed as a safe place, and 17 congregations are offering sanctuary.
Rev. Troy Jackson, Executive Director at the AMOS Project and former Senior Pastor at the University Christian Church, discusses how Jubilee involves a restoration of property and place and equalizing.
Listen to Rev. Jackson’s message from the Economics of Compassion Initiative’s “Sanctuary as Jubilee” forum: