Community-Supported Industry

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David Bollier:

"The Schumacher Center is currently developing a creative offshoot of the urban community land trust -- "community-supported industry." This legal/organizational form is legally structured to mutualize community participation & benefit from owning & leasing land for socially minded *commercial enterprises -- without running afoul of US tax laws that apply to CLTs. In essence, the CLT creates a for-profit affiliate that is legally allowed to stipulate conditions for the business or building that would not otherwise be legal for a CLT (e.g., type of business, appropriate building design, particular tenants, etc.)." (David Bollier, email, August 2017)


Susan Witt:

"Building a responsible movement for a new economy will require planning how to create new jobs without increased growth. One approach is a strategy of import replacement.

Currently, the majority of goods purchased in the US are imported from distant countries and shipped across oceans to reach us. The goal of an import substitution strategy is to strengthen regional economies by replacing some of those imports with goods produced by local businesses that provide living wages and employ sustainable manufacturing processes. This may be an ambitious objective, but it is necessary if we are to transition to an economic system that is both equitable and sustainable.

Such a strategy will mean activating citizen support for regional businesses.

It will necessitate the convening of meetings of business owners, retired persons, youth, investors, organizational leaders, public officials and concerned citizens to ask the questions:

  • What products might be produced in a region that are not there yet?
  • How can citizens help create conditions to ensure the success of new enterprises?
  • What skills can be offered to help in the process? These skills may include development or review of business plans, market research, site selection, equipment identification, mentoring, financing, permitting and skill development.
  • How can engaged citizens leverage the wealth of community resources to support the budding entrepreneurs who will run the new appropriately scaled and environmentally sound businesses that are the foundation stones of a new economy?

We use the term ‘Community-Supported Industry’ to describe this strategy.

However, it will not be enough to only imagine the new green, fair, sustainable, slow, resilient businesses; not enough to build a library of good business plans; not enough to whet the appetite for regionally made goods and locally grown food. Implementing the new industries identified and fostered under the umbrella of Community-Supported Industry will take securing affordable access to land, identifying (or training) skilled workers, and accessing appropriate capital. It will mean maintaining an ongoing national dialogue about imaginative land tenure options, distributed ownership and the democratized issuing of currency.

It will take multiple villages and villagers working together to grow a new economy." (