This one somehow got saved as a draft yesterday. Better late than never…
I just spent the day at the California Small Farm Conference, which was just a big inspiring ball of happiness. Most of it was groovy information about how to be more effective and sustainable farmers. One possible exception was the Rodenator booth in the display hall, which was harshing the mostly peaceful vibe by looping an infomercial of killing burrowing pests with an(admittedly ecologically benign) propane-fueled underground explosion.
There were a whole bunch of neat projects being described, including many that are providing some really positive steps toward building a new food system that is less dependent on shipping food through distant warehouses, and more based on local needs.
My favorite had to be Big Wave, which is a planned eco-village for people with developmental disabilities, organized along somewhat cooperative lines. It will have an organic farm, and is located right along the coast just south of San Francisco. Sweet.
But another bit of good green news was not from the conference. Republic Windows and Doors will soon be reopened by a green building supply company! Secretly I am a little bit disappointed that it is not a cooperative rescue, but I’m glad that it is happening nonetheless. I’m not a big acquisition fan, but if someone is using stimulus money to fund mergers, it might as well be mergers with companies that are already dead and gone.
I will be the first to admit that cooperative organizing is a lot like herding cats, and it is generally not the best way to move quickly. There are ways to balance against this, but it is tricky and rarely done. So that remains a major flaw in my little plan: the accelerating collapse of the economy demands quick action, and democratic organizations are almost always going to have a disadvantage to autocratic ones. I’ll have more thoughts about this in my next post.
There is still some hope for groovy capitalists to do good, and it looks like we’ve got quite a good bunch on our hands in the cavalry arriving from Serious Materials. I’m particularly impressed that their web site features bios (and often photos) of their executives, board, and advisors, as well as information about their investors. This transparency is quite refreshing and should be the standard.
I mean, really, (speaking now to ex-executives who looted Merrill Lynch) if you really believe what you say about deserving all those “bonuses,” show us your faces.
I didn’t think so.