Category Archives: Community Building

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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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PeoplesHub: Connecting change-makers online

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.

Listen here:

 

Quotes:
“(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

 

Related Link:
revolutionwhereyoulive.org

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Exploring How Community Animators Work: Cormac Russell

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.

Listen here:

 

Quotes:

“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
Russell

Photo via Nurture Development

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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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Visions of a Just Economy

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:

Quotes:
“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

Related Links:
View these videos of Adam Clark in conversation with Peter Block:
http://www.restore-commons.com/jubilee-professor-adam-clark/
http://www.restore-commons.com/professor-adam-clark/

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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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Creating an Alternative Economy: BALLE’s Michelle Long

Michelle Long, BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) executive director, shares the story of BALLE’s co-founder Judy Wick, who built the socially responsible White Dog Café in Philadelphia through sourcing based on relationships with the land and people in her community.

Founded in 2001, BALLE (pronounced “bahl-ee”) works with local businesses who want to collaborate for the good of their communities, and helps the communities share ideas in various places in North America.

BALLE formed a Community Foundation Circle for foundation leaders who want to see investments used to strengthen community economies. Traditionally, when a donor gives a community foundation gift, the money is placed as a community grant. People are waking up to using money for impact investments.

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

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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…)