by Ajax Greene
Re>Think Local just celebrated its one-year mark at a wonderful event at the Falcon in Marlboro. We are so excited by what we have accomplished this year.
In their remarks at the anniversary event board co-chairs Jennifer Schwartz Berky and Scott Tillitt talked about our three areas of focus: community building, programs and education.
Let’s start with education. We started off in January 2013 with our first educational talk on what it means to be a certified B Corporation or a New York State benefit corporation—or for some of us, both. Many view this as the future of business, us included. We believe in good companies, not just good marketing. Stay tuned for more on this important long-term trend that will affect you and your business.
In February we were blown away by the response from both speakers and audience when we held our Creative Placemaking session at Arts Society of Kingston. Not even the speakers knew about all the good work happening regionally. To me this was proof of the importance of a regional organization connecting (not reinventing) the great work that is happening throughout the Hudson Valley. The ripples and connections made at that meeting were still manifesting as I write this and will definitely extend into 2014 and beyond.
In March we had a fantastic panel on community building online through social media. In June we participated in a sold-out inspiring TEDxLongDock conference that Re>Think Local helped produce.
In July we hosted Judy Wicks, the “BALLE Mama,” widely considered the founder of the Localist/Think Local First movement. We have been pleased to be able to offer such nationally known speakers and world-class content here in the Hudson Valley.
Our monthly networking events, what we call Re>MIXes, have been held at Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, Terrapin in Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie’s Bull & Buddha; Tousey Winery in Germantown, and Fruition Chocolate in Shokan. And let’s not forget the memorable sail on the Sloop Clearwater. We get around! (We promise we’re not changing our name to Re>Drink Local!) Having heard from countless participants, I can say with confidence that our Re>MIXes rock. The people are friendly, down-to-earth, up for a “real” conversation, and movers and shakers who are making good things happen for themselves right here in the Hudson Valley. If you are a like-minded business interested in hosting an event, contact us.
One of the things we are most excited about is that terms like Localism, triple bottom line, social enterprise, and many more that were rarely uttered two years ago in the Hudson Valley are now becoming much more common in their usage and understanding. It is through a real and deeper understanding that the positive benefits of the Localist New Economy will be most widely felt.
One of the lessons of this year has been that real, lasting community building takes time. Our strong and clear vision to co-create an economy that is vibrant, sustainable, locally rooted and human scale with equal concern for people, planet and profit by connecting, educating and advocating has really resonated. We have more than 100 members with hundreds more getting our newsletter and Facebook posts as well as the hundreds of folks who have attended our events. Re>Think Local understands that not everyone is an early adopter. The good news is more and more folks are seeing the benefits to themselves and their community of being a connected Localist.
What does the future hold? More networking and more events, for sure. And more education. There is such a wealth of knowledge that currently exists on how to be a successful triple bottom line business. (Follow our Facebook page: It’s a massive resource of New Economy knowledge with more being added every day.) We will expand on the concept of building blocks of a local living economy. Our wellness conference was our first effort at this kind of business sector focus. Look for more sectors to be visited in the coming years. (If your group—Rotary, BNI or social club—is looking for outstanding speakers for your 2014 calendar we’re happy to help.)
Our biggest initiative just now commencing is our GO LOCAL Hudson Valley campaign, focused on shifting how we collectively spend our dollars. If we shift our spending by just 10% it will put millions of dollars into increased circulation in the Hudson Valley, thus creating thousands of new jobs.
We have a lot to be thankful for…and a lot to look forward to in the coming year.
One final thing for Re>Think Local members: remember that one of your many member benefits is a free business advisory session with a seasoned triple bottom line expert. Start the year off right with a brainstorming session to get you revved up and going on the right track.