The first ever Slow Money Regional Gathering, called Money and Meaning, began on Thursday night, September 10, at the Fearrington Barn between Pittsboro, home of Slow Money NC, and Carrboro. After some excellent farm to table fare and beverages from Pittsboro’s Fair Game, Frank Stacio of WUNC-FM’s State of Thing interviewed and conversed with BALLE co-founder Judy Wicks. Wicks created Philadelphia’s legendary White Dog Cafe, a farm to fork pioneer, and author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business.
The audience included Slow Money founder Woody Tasch, Frank and Kaola Phoenix of the Fenwick Foundation, and prominent Chatham County localist Gary Phillips. Carol Peppe Hewitt founder of Slow Money NC and a conference organizer introduced Emerson Waldorf students and Pickard’s Mountain Eco-Institute interns in the audience.
While those familiar with Judy’s work, speaking, and writing knew much of what she had to say, Frank’s radicalism toward the transnational suicide economy was revelatory. I listen to his “The State of Things” on WUNC-FM almost daily, but had no idea how well versed he is in localism nor how much he opposes out of control capitalism. Frank expressed complete disapproval of any business that shipped money away to benefit shareholders rather than reinvesting locally. He even stated that “’the economy’ is the enemy.”
Stacio began things by announcing that “local living economies are the story tonight.” He asked how Judy gained awareness. She explained that “the turning point for me was… when I turned from all about us to sharing our supplier list to our competitors…. Sharing and cooperation are contagious. Cooperation and opening our hearts are integral to BALLE’s work. Learning to share is essential to human survival.”
Frank noted, “how sad it is that we have to teach sharing and cooperation these days.”
“Community self-reliance is the meeting place of left and right,” stated Wicks. “BALLE is all about creating community self-reliance.”
She held that “speed is the enemy of doing the right thing; what the Pope calls the rapidifaction of society.”
After Stacio said that “It’s not just buying locally, but buying less.” Wicks pointed out the significance of “repairing things rather than throwing them out.”
She offered that maxim that “It’s important that the ownership of a community matches the demographics of that community.” Asked from the floor that: we need a resource that tells us what products are good with such misleading labeling, Wicks responded that buying local from suppliers you know is best way
Responding to another query from the floor, Judy closed the evening with the perfect note. Warning that one would be overwhelmed trying to take each positive action, she admonished folks to “start with one right thing and go from there.”
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