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Peter Block

In addition to The Abundant Community, co-authored with John McKnight, Peter Block is the author of Flawless Consulting, Community, Stewardship and The Answer to How Is Yes.
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Ground-breaking grocery store

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.

Listen:

 

Quotes:
“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

 

Related Links:
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)

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Engaging Neighbors Opens Thinking for Health Professionals

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.

Listen:

 

Quotes:

“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

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Small Town Invites Younger Generation to Come Home

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.

Listen here:

 

Related Link:
Top 21 Reasons to Live in Branch

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Neighborhood initiative impacting social health

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:

 

 

Related Links:

dpuntenney.com
thegrhf.org/funding/neighborhood-health/

photo courtesy Pixabay.com

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Changing the Neighborhood 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:

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Did You Know There’s a Union Co-op Movement?

What possibilities do worker-owned co-ops hold for an alternative economy? In the Basque region of Spain, Mondragon is the world’s largest group of industrial worker-owned co-operatives transforming the region from poverty to thriving and resilient communities. In Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI) is doing the same.

Michael Peck, co-founder of 1worker1vote.org and a North American Delegate for Mondragon, and Kristen Barker, president and co-founder of the CUCI, join Peter Block and John McKnight in a conversation about union co-op possibilities, successes and struggles. Listen to the full conversation:

 

Quotes

“This integrated network of co-ops is one of the exciting things that is now coming to life in a much bigger way in the United States because of this Mondragon union co-op.” Kristen Barker

“Stakeholders are coming together who have decided that it’s time to re-own their own economy. It’s time to take their economic sovereignty back and they look to us as a way forward to do that, not just a pathway out of poverty, but a pathway to actual prosperity.” Michael Peck

More Resources

1worker1vote.org

Mondragon: http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/eng/

Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative: https://www.cincinnatiunioncoop.org/

Upcoming event: National Union Co-op Symposium

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Old Age as an Asset: Conversation with Parker J. Palmer

World-renowned writer, speaker, and activist Parker J. Palmer talks about aging as an asset that is tied in with community development. Parker is co-founder of Center for Courage and Renewal. Parker talks about the need for meaningful, intergenerational activities, where seniors sit with school children or talk with young adults about their vocation and life calling. He shares about periods of struggle in his life and how a friend found a surprising way to provide comfort and connection.

Quotes:

“…this abundance we all have if we’re not afraid of each other, which is the abundance of simple presence to another human being.”

“When our circles gather, we say, rule number one is there shall be no fixing, no saving, no advising, and no correcting each other.”

“It doesn’t matter how old we are, the search for meaning and purpose never ends.”

 

Listen to the full conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:

 

(Parker J. Palmer photo courtesy Center for Courage & Renewal)

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Citizens and local democracy: a conversation with David Mathews

David Mathews shares the story of a community where the schoolhouse’s paint was falling off. When a group of neighbors got together and repainted the school the purpose wasn’t about getting paint on the walls – but to demonstrate when people get together they can make a difference.

The Kettering Foundation’s primary research question is “what does it take to make democracy work as it should?” Research is conducted from the citizen’s perspective and explores what people can collectively do to address problems.

David shares these ideas and more in a conversation with John McKnight and Peter Block. Listen here:

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Peter Block and John McKnight in Conversation

On Dec. 12, 2016, more than 60 callers listened to Peter Block and John McKnight reflect on their long history of working to building communities by focusing on gifts and connecting people. They discuss what ideas have endured and what questions remain. (more…)