Canadian Centre for Community Renewal http://www.communityrenewal.ca/rss.xml en Register Now for Synergia Summer Institute http://www.communityrenewal.ca/Synergia-Summer-Institute <div class="field field-name-field-photo field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img src="http://www.communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/Synergia-photo-2_0.jpg" width="511" height="225" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h3><strong>September 4 – 23, 2016 Monte Ginezzo, Tuscany, Italy</strong></h3><div>Located outside the Etruscan hill town of Cortona in Tuscany, the <strong>Synergia Summer Institute for Commonwealth Transition</strong> offers an intensive program of exploration, instruction, dialogue, and practical training on transition models for the realization of an ethical economy. The Synergia Summer Institute applies the knowledge and practice of co-operation, economic democracy, and the commons to address the central issues of sustainability and social wellbeing at local, regional and global levels. The overarching focus of the Synergia program is to answer the question: What is the ethical economy and how does it work? The course will provide a critical overview of the contours of this new political economy and the mechanisms required for its realization.</div><div></div><div> </div><div>The Synergia Summer Institute is very privileged to offer some of the very finest minds and practitioners in their respective felds of study and practice. Confirmed instructors include:</div><div> </div><ul><li>Michel Bauwens: P2P Foundation</li><li>Pat Conaty: New Economics Foundation and co author, <em>The Resilience Imperative</em></li><li>Renate Goergen: Le Mat Europe</li><li>Christian Iaione: Guglielmo Marconi University of Rome</li><li>Mike Lewis: Canadian Centre for Community Renewal and co author, <em>The Resilience Imperative</em></li><li>Julie MacArthur: University of Auckland and author, <em>Empowering Electricity: Sustainability Co-operatives and Power Sector Reform in Canada</em></li><li>Robin Murray: Cooperatives UK</li><li>Jason Nardi: RIPESS Europe</li><li>John Restakis: Community Evolution Foundation and author, <em>Humanizing the Economy – Co-operatives in the Age of Capital</em></li><li>Marco Tulli: Off Grid Academy</li></ul><p><strong>Early Bird Registration</strong>: 2,600 Euros, includes accommodation, travel to site visits, and meals for the full 3 weeks (except weekends). Registration after July 30 is 2,700 euros. <strong>Registration deadline</strong>: August 5.</p><div>Register by contacting John Restakis at <a href="mailto:synergiainstitute@gmail.com">synergiainstitute@gmail.com</a>. Payment will be accepted via Paypal.</div><div> </div><div>To view / download the Synergia Summer Institute brochure, <a href="http://auspace.athabascau.ca/bitstream/2149/3544/1/Synergia%20Summer%20Institute%20Brochure%20-2016.pdf" target="_blank">click here </a>.</div></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/federating-change">Federating Change</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/scaling">Scaling Up</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 07:00:00 +0000 Mike Lewis 863 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca Seikatsu http://www.communityrenewal.ca/node/861 <div class="field field-name-field-photo field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img src="http://www.communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/Seikatsu-structure-2_0.jpg" width="444" height="298" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h4>A Decentralized, Democratic Movement that is Transforming Japan's Food System</h4><p>“Seikatsu" means “living people.” The significance of this for members of Japan's Seikatsu Consumer Co-operative is a down-to-earth story of transformation in process. The cooperative's humble beginnings involved women sitting together at kitchen tables talking about food. Some disturbing trends in their region bothered them - an increase in imported foods, the consistent loss of farmland to development, and the accelerating migration of farmers to the cities. They were also worried about the quality and safety of their food, a concern closer to their kitchens that was deeply rooted in the privation so many suffered in the post-war years. Hunger from the period marked the consciousness of a broad swath of the population. It was from this fertile ground that cooperatives grew, aided by the introduction of legislation in 1948 and the rapid formation of the Japanese Consumer Cooperative Union in 1951.</p><p>In 1965, a group of women approached a local farm family with an idea to address the issues of concern to them. The essence of their proposal was that the farmer would provide their families with fresh milk, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and the families would guarantee to pay a negotiated fair price. The farmer agreed so long as they organized a large enough number of people willing to commit to purchasing the farm's production. A contract was drawn and the <em>teikei</em> concept was born. Translated literally, <em>teikei</em> means "partnership,” but philosophically it means "'food with the farmer's face on it.” Twenty years later, the <em>teikei</em> idea migrated to the United States, inspiring the first community-supported farm at Indian Line Farm.</p><p></p><p>The heart and root of the Seikatsu movement is a collective purchasing model that seeks to make the co-op itself a "living instrument" for social and ecological change. The basic building block of Seikatsu is the <em>Han</em> ("small group"), which in local areas collectively plans and purchases food. The <em>Han</em> was not a new type of group. They were first used in 1956 as an organizing tool for member participation by the Tsuruoka Co-op in the northeast of Honshu,Japan's largest island. They became a key strategy for distributing products within the burgeoning co-op movement and strengthening relations between members, both of which were important to the creation of a federated system for coordination across larger geographic areas. What emerged as an ideal <em>Han</em> consisted of seven to ten members, each representing a household that would participate on a voluntary basis. Today there are about 11 million members of <em>Hans</em> throughout Japan, most of them belonging to co-ops associated with the Japanese Consumer Cooperative Union.</p><p>Underpinning the Han concept within Seikatsu is a countercultural per­spective on human time and how it can be used creatively to strengthen human connection with each other and with the environment. <em>Han</em> mem­bers consider time in relation to three forms of work: employed work, work for others (care and social support), and work for the collective good. For example, Seikatsu Club members view the time and energy required to shop in corporate supermarkets as a waste of time, better invested in real­izing their goals of safe food, healthy farmland and farmers, and living more sustainably. Thus, through Seikatsu practice, cooperation has become incarnated as a "living instrument.”</p><p>Founded with the aim of acquiring safe food at a reasonable price, the Seikatsu <em>Hans</em> concretely express their values by specifying strict standards for materials, production processes, packing materials, and environmental practices, which are then negotiated with producers. The resulting agreements are the basis for the pre-order collective purchase system, which in turn enables a well-planned production and supply system. The purchase of safe food at reasonable prices, the minimization of waste of natural resources, and the reduction of environmental impacts are among the generative results. More than 350,000 members now operate through thousands of <em>Han</em> groups, aggregating their purchase plans within one or another of the 32 Seikatsu Consumer Cooperatives (SCC). These in turn are affiliated nationally into the Seikatsu Union Club (SUC).</p><p>The SUC has adopted the term "consumer materials" to describe the products they purchase. The language is indicative of the principles they operate under. Members see themselves as employing their collective purchasing power to secure goods for their "use value,” not as "commercial goods.” Every month the SUC's Consumption Committee meets to determine the items to be purchased collectively based on member's demands and views. Members participate in extensive testing of new consumer materials. Taste, packaging, and price preference are determined through member engagement, combined with market research to design draft specifications. These are then discussed with producers. A critical appraisal of the production process reviews what can be done; packaging, content, volumes, and price are among the key focus of such discussions.</p><p>Seikatsu gains efficiencies by limiting the number of regular items provided to 1,600 annually. (This is in contrast to the 9,000 items carried by the 600 other consumer co-ops in Japan, with 22 million members - and to the much larger number of products and brands in modern mega-supermarkets.) Keeping the system simple significantly reduces inventory costs, thus creating one source of savings that allows the co-op to increase the price to the farmer while keeping prices to the consumer reasonable. By concentrating on a narrower range of high-quality products, producers and processors also gain important efficiencies.</p><p>Further efficiencies are gained through adherence to some basic principles.</p><ul><li>Purchasing is viewed as an ethical responsibility. Seikatsu members regard mass production, consumption, and disposal as a negative, disconnecting consumption from ethics. By developing "consumer materials" for basic needs, they try at every stage to solve problems of health, environment, and safety.</li><li>The well-planned production of a more limited selection of high-quality foods enables efficient shipment, thereby reducing unit costs for transportation.</li><li>Goods are delivered directly to either the <em>Han</em> or the individual though member-run pickup depots. Delivery eliminates the financial risks of high retail overheads, huge inventories, and the waste they generate.</li><li>The SUC has developed a standard of eight types of returnable bottles for a wide range of food products. This has helped reduce the price of this type of packaging and raises the efficiency of collection, sorting, and washing. Seikatsu has organized a Bottle Re-use Council, which in 2007 estimated its system reduced carbon emissions by 2,121 tons.</li></ul><p>To ensure its specifications are met, the SUC has established its own independent control and auditing system. Members and producers set the standards together through sector committees for agriculture, fishery, livestock, processed food, packaging materials, etc. Between 2007 and 2010, 6,500 people participated in 790 unannounced spot inspections. This participatory approach to certification is much less bureaucratic and much less costly than the third-party audits most certification systems require. Moreover, the learning and relationship-building between members and producers is much more profound, a benefit the annual audit by an outside consultant or accountancy firm cannot achieve.</p><p>The relationship between the purchasers and the producers of food extends to the planned participation of consumers as a source of labor supply. Because the average age of a Japanese farmer is 67, planting and harvesting demands can limit their capacity to assure the supply of healthy, nutritious food. Organizing labor in solidarity with farmers began in 1995; its initial success was to secure stable production of tomatoes for organic juice for Seikatsu members.</p><p>In another example of solidarity, Seikatsu organized member capital, which, along with farmer investment, enabled the start-up of three milk-pro­cessing plants to supply urban consumers. One hundred producers owning 5,000 cows are now co-producing a product with a high level of raw milk, an alternative to the ultra-high-temperature (UHT) sterilized milk dominant on the Japanese market.</p><p>By 2010 the annual turnover based on the purchasing <em>Hans</em> was US$1.1 billion. Accumulated equity was close to $1 billion due mainly to each member voluntarily paying $11 per month until he or she has contributed $3,500. There is also a $60 membership fee for the local SCC and another $60 for the SUC. This equity underpins the financial stability of the system. It is indicative of the importance placed on members being co-responsible for the health of the system, a fundamental cornerstone of the "Living People" model that Seikatsu represents. By investing time and money in various parts of a mutually supportive relationship with producers, they realize a key value of their movement: their democratic autonomy as members.</p><p>Today, the SUC is not only implementing a "'values added" strategy aimed at transforming the food system but has also taken up recycling, green energy development, and social services. The union's advocacy around food-related issues has led to some significant policy changes.</p><ul><li>SCC members have been encouraged to lobby their municipally owned utility to allocate 5 percent of the monthly utility bill to the Hakkaido Green Fund. These funds have been used to capitalize five "citizens wind turbines" - and the see is seeking to expand this model.</li><li>To address the challenge of being the oldest population in the western world, SCCs are establishing day service centers and special nursing homes. About 10,000 people are now involved in providing home or institutional care services for the aged through 448 organizations. Home care, another feature of the evolving system, provided over 1.4 million hours of service. Since the start of the nursing care insurance system in Japan, these services have expanded and are now generating $87.4 million per year. Parallel efforts targeting the needs of people with disabilities, infants, children, and mothers raising children are also evolving.</li><li>Worker collectives are yet another manifestation of the innovation and drive in this system. In 2006 there were 582 democratically owned and run businesses with 17,000 worker-owners operating across a wide range of sectors and generating $126,300,000.</li><li>Another fundamental principle of Seikatsu is the concept of citizens advancing their values by shaping the political discourse. Beyond ensuring high ethical and environmental standards in their own purchasing, they have actively campaigned to outlaw synthetic detergents and to foster a "genetically modified free" food movement in Japan. This civic participation has evolved further through the establishment of independent local political parties to press Seikatsu goals. By 2006 there were 120 network parties with about 10,000 members, who had succeeded in electing 141 local councillors.</li></ul><p>It is little wonder that the Seikatsu movment received the honorary Right Livelihood Award in 1989. Considered to be the "alternative Nobel Prize,” the award was given to the "housewives' movement" for its success in generating a form of "alternative economic activity against industrial society's prioritization of efficiency.” The prize commended the movement for its continuing interest in human health and the environment through its production of essential materials for living.</p><p>"Living People" indeed.</p><p><em>This is an except from </em>The Resilience Imperative<em> (New Society Publishers, 2012), by Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty. <a href="http://www.newsociety.com/Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative">It is available from New Society Publishers both in print and as an ebook.</a></em></p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/economic-sectors/food">Food</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/enterprise/co-operatives">Co-operatives</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Mike Lewis 861 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca The Blessing of Living the Questions http://www.communityrenewal.ca/living-the-questions <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p>As one contemplates 2014, the wondrous, unique, tiny blue dot we dwell upon is in deep trouble. It is no news to anyone who knows me that I live between despair and hope. There are plenty of reasons for both. Alas, uncertainty is the only constant.</p><p>The personal question that continuously emerges from accepting this tension is where to put ones tiny repository of time and talent. If one is committed to making hope more concrete rather than despair more convincing, how do I concentrate my little bit? At the age of 61, this is the question I cannot seem to shake.</p><p>The fact that I am a Canadian exacerbates the restlessness this question provokes. I like to think I am a reasonable Canadian that has been shaped by the reasonableness of the country I grew up in. My problem is I am feeling more and more unreasonable. Is this because I am becoming a grumpy old man? Or, might it be my country is becoming more and more unreasonable?</p><p>As the gloomy evidence related to the catastrophic impact of human generated carbon becomes more and more unassailable our Federal government is doing all it can to accelerate the expansion of the Alberta tar sands, a province which if it were a nation, would be the highest per capita carbon emitter in the world.</p><p>As much of the world is cutting back on burning carbon rich coal (good news), American industry and various governmental agencies in Canada are doing all they can to facilitate more and more <strong>thermal</strong> coal (the dirtier grades) to be transported from south of the border by longer and longer trains, in order to find a temporary home at a new port installation smack dab in the middle of the Fraser River delta. Why? In order to so it can be loaded onto bigger and bigger ships destined for Asian markets, where it can be burned to produce more and more carbon spewing electricity to further clog our overloaded atmosphere; that is why!</p><p>Continuous claims that all this activity is being managed by a ‘reasonable’ approach to balancing interests is buttressed by advertising campaigns designed to soothe us with a promise of renewal and prosperity and protection of our natural environment. Those with a contrary perspective are seen as unreasonable, unwilling dreamers with their heads up their back ends who do not seem to comprehend the reality that the world needs our oil, and quick. Those with a contrary perspective that dare to publically challenge government and industry elites pushing the fossil fuel agenda are labeled somewhat more harshly; they are the foreign financed radicals deemed to be bordering on terrorist activity.</p><p>So much for democracy; deception, lying, threats, self-dealing, denial and deflection of evidence – is this our lot, the new Canada, a managed citizenry controlled by a combination of threats and a constricting but economically grandiose vision of being the prosperous new energy super-power?</p><p>So, back to the question; here I am. I live on the only earth we will ever know. I am a Canadian. I live in westernmost province; the proverbial gateway to Asia. I am 61. I have six grandchildren. I am of a generation that is the biggest, though mainly unwitting beneficiary of fossil fuel induced economic growth. I want us to radically but systematically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, a goal that is premised on the best evidence available. Unfortunately, I am living in a country where a small cabal of powerful, ideologically bound, self-interested leadership are eschewing their responsibility to help Canadians make a positive transition to a low carbon economy.</p><p>Given such a miserable set of circumstance, what then are the options then for an aging lotus-land WASP to responsibly share his time, talents and spirit?</p><p>Is my consideration of heading for the front lines of civil disobedience ‘responsible’, or not? Would it be a relevant witness to all I care for and love or would I merely be a sop to my momentary lapses into despair and a yearning for more timely relevance? It is a good question; after all, I have been a primary beneficiary of the age of fossil fuels and economic growth, so now that I know better, do I not have a primary responsibility to add my weight to the growing numbers of young and old actively taking the risks necessary to change the course being set to accelerate the rush for the spoils we seem bent on in this country? Is this not reasonable thing to ask of myself?</p><p>Or, should I stay on my path of writing, researching, consulting, speaking and spreading ideas and innovations that represent resilient pathways to meeting our basic needs into the future? But is this a ‘reasonable’ approach? After all, I have been doing this for 40 years and have a good idea of how long it takes to advance innovations that have proven themselves. Might confining my attention to this domain be akin to hiding my head in the sand? After all, alternatives, no matter how successful, are not invulnerable to the gathering onslaughts of ever more volatile climate ‘events’. Would not focus on reducing the risks of carbon be a wiser choice for the use of limited time, talent and resources?</p><p>Or, perhaps, I should just stop all of it and just live day to day. Many good and wonderful people I know are on this path; love those you are with and have faith that hardened hearts will be softened through acceptance and active caring. After all, without a ‘change of heart’ we will not prevail in the bigger issues. But is this attractive variation on the Zen thematic not merely a somewhat convenient way of just hiding out from the rather inconvenient truth that out challenges are systemic, not merely matters of the heart or even individual behaviour. Change in both are necessary.</p><p>My problem, or perhaps better put, my challenge is that I want it all. I want to help stop the madness, be an active participant putting in place the practical and hopeful alternatives than pressing the ‘pedal to the metal’ on the path to the precipice, and, I want to be imbued with a spirit satisfied with loving and nourishing what is right in front of me day by day.</p><p>Hmmmmmm….. I did confess at the beginning of this missive that reflection seems a chore at times, “a sure indication it is time to stop long enough to see what bubbles up.” Well, at this point, my search for the ‘new found land’ (now January 2nd) is yielding a strange aroma. My “want it all” conclusion feels like a lot of work and would take some serious attitude adjustments on my part, God forbid.</p><p>But might this just be what constitutes a generative pathway forward? Resisting what is wrong-headed and damaging, spreading alternatives that make‘common’ sense, and daily loving the people and the processes one is connected to; is this not a gracefully militant and practical way to live?</p><p>Thus ends my serious but light hearted rambling reflection on the state of…….well, whatever. As you might surmise my next communication of this sort could just as likely emanate from a prison, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a successful innovation transplanted or from my pen while on a silent retreat where I will no doubt be personally bent on getting focused and experiencing stillness, an outcome which could be an inordinately long process. Or????....</p><p>I believe it is time for a rum and the dregs of the egg nog. Sometimes such arduous bouts of contemplation and the clarity of action that falls out of such deep thinking can be helped along by such intoxicating aids.</p><p>Anything is possible. May each of you have a wonder full and meaning full 2014 and may you and yours be showered with blessings as we all live the questions and challenges of our time on this earth. Keep posted. Maybe I will yet make some progress bringing resistance, building alternatives and living gracefully together into a nice neat and tidy whole.</p><p>Meanwhile, I wish the best to each of you this coming year.</p><p>Mike</p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives">Macrotrends and Imperatives</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 00:51:58 +0000 Mike Lewis 859 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca Affordable Housing: Time for Some Real Solutions - Reclaiming the Commons http://www.communityrenewal.ca/real-solutions <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><div class="content"><p>It’s a sad case. In Vancouver a 50-foot lot on the west side with a single family home was only $1.2 million a year ago. Today it is $1.65 million. For the somewhat less pricey average two story Vancouver home, it would take 94% of the average families household income.</p><p>As for apartments, a small, 2-bedroom downtown went from $542,000 to $610,000, less than half the average house but still completely unaffordable for an average income family. Since the 1970s, real household incomes increased by 9% while the price of a condo has gone up 280%.</p><p>And the debate roars about what to do about it. Reduce red tape at city hall! Get rid of excessive charges on developers! Get government out of the way and let the market do its magic; there is not enough supply and too much demand.</p><p>The discussion is dominated by tinkering, much of it shaped by the interests of developers in maximizing profits and minimizing risks. For instance, one developer recently warned the city of Vancouver not to make any public land available on a low cost basis because it would be unfair to private developers.</p><p>I am not “expert” in housing but I know enough to know that fundamental issues are missing from the discussion. That is because I have been exposed to solutions that <em>are </em>creating significant stocks of permanently affordable housing.</p><p>Key to both is what I call an “ownership” solution. In many, if not most settings, the private property system is failing to deliver affordable housing. And I am not just talking about developers here. Many of us are implicated. Owning a house is a good investment, a way to make money well beyond recovering the price and a modest return on capital. There is some juicy potential for pocketing a bundle. The problem is that all that unearned profit pocketed on every sale puts the price of housing increasingly out of reach for us modest wage earners.</p><p></p><p>The route to reform highlighted here is two-fold: first, remove land from the market and put it under the ownership of a <strong>community land trust</strong> (CLT); and second, ensure owner-occupied housing on this land has a resale formula built into it to ensure equity gains are limited and affordability preserved.</p><p>It works. The article <a href="http://communityrenewal.ca/node/812" target="_blank">“Affordability Locked In” </a>explains how the CLT model is delivering bottom line returns to households, to communities, and to taxpayers in the U.S. That is why an increasing number of municipal governments there are making CLTs a centrepiece of their affordable housing strategy.</p><p>The CLT is also the basis for the <strong>Mutual Home Ownership Society</strong> (MHOS), a new model now being pioneered in England and Wales. MHOS combines the CLT reform with tenant co-operative ownership of the building. A lease geared to income is fair while still providing members with some modest equity return. Find out more about that in a second article, <a href="http://communityrenewal.ca/node/814" target="_blank">“The Best of Three Worlds.”</a></p><p>It’s all part of the radical reuniting of the “I and the We” which Pat Conaty and I call for in our book <a href="http://www.newsociety.com/affil.mvc?Affil=CCCR&amp;Page=../Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative" target="_blank"><em>The Resilience Imperative</em> (New Society Publishers, 2012)</a>. Prepare to be excited by how, after 40 years of work, this “ownership” solution is taking off the America and the U.K., including some major, high-cost urban areas.</p><p>Here are some more out-of-the-box approaches to housing affordability:</p><ul><li><a href="http://communityrenewal.ca/node/788">Kirklees, UK: An area-based approach to energy efficiency, housing affordability, and jobs</a>: How a city in Yorkshire has integrated an array of tools – credit, advice, incentives, rebates – to deliver savings to vast numbers of low- and middle-income households.</li><li><a href="http://communityrenewal.ca/node/815" target="_blank">The Co-operative Land Bank</a>: Another way to reduce the deadweight of land values on the development of affordable housing is for organizations or authorities to acquire land and reserve it for that purpose or other purposes.</li><li><a href="http://communityrenewal.ca/node/844" target="_blank">The Housing Treadmill</a>: By examining and questioning our invisible assumptions about housing we can design living arrangements that make our living less expensive financially and much richer socially and culturally.</li></ul><p>If we can SEE the world just a wee bit differently (Socially, Ecologically, and Economically), new solutions can be forged. When markets are excluding more and more people, it is up to us to shape markets to ensure meet basic human needs are met and community well-being advanced. Shame on us is we fail to take up economically viable solutions that clearly demonstrate permanent affordability if both possible and practical.</p></div></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/economic-sectors/land">Land</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/economic-sectors/shelter">Shelter</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 02:34:09 +0000 Mike Lewis 858 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca Entreprendre l’économie ensemble http://www.communityrenewal.ca/entreprendre-ensemble <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p>L'Union culturelle des Franco-Ontariennes vient de recevoir un financement de 3 ans de la part de Condition féminine Canada pour la mise en œuvre de son projet « Entreprendre l’économie ensemble ». Cette initiative est basée sur une pratique d'engagement et de développement communautaire qui autonomise et soutient les communautés à planifier et à développer leur modèle.</p><p>Chaque communauté identifiera ses propres défis, ressources et atouts. Les femmes et les filles de tous les âges, vivant diverses situations économiques, ayant des défis (santé, violence, éducation, statut social, nouveauté au pays) et des habiletés pourront travailler collectivement sur l'identification de la situation dans leur communauté. Ensemble, elles détermineront leurs buts et objectifs et comment elles peuvent les atteindre durant le projet et après.</p><p>Le projet « <strong>Entreprendre l’économie ensemble</strong> » vise à soutenir trois communautés de femmes et de filles francophones afin qu'elles puissent entamer un travail de planification et d'engagement communautaire dans le but d'améliorer la sécurité économique des femmes et des filles dans ces collectivités.</p><p>Le processus engagera diverses parties prenantes dans le recrutement, l'analyse comparative entre les sexes, l'identification des besoins et de la situation économique des femmes et des filles de chaque communauté. Afin de déterminer les mesures de soutien et les mécanismes existants et de reconnaître les lacunes qui entravent la sécurité financière et la prospérité des femmes et des filles. Les parties prenantes recueilleront et identifieront des pratiques prometteuses qui répondent aux besoins de leurs communautés respectives. Elles identifieront leurs priorités et leurs buts et bâtiront un plan qui inclut les ressources, les occasions et mesures de soutien ainsi que les objectifs, les tâches, les échéanciers pour la mise en œuvre. Chaque communauté mettra en œuvre son plan communautaire et accédera à du soutien continu dans ses démarches. Le soutien et l'accompagnement communautaires comprendront de la formation, de l'évaluation et la planification de la viabilité.</p><p>Il est prévu que 600 femmes et filles bénéficieront directement du projet et qu’il y aura des retombées indirectes sur de nombreuses autres femmes et filles à moyen et à long terme. Un processus de consultation et de recueil d'information et de données sera élaboré et utilisé dans chaque communauté afin d'identifier les réalités économiques et sociales des femmes et des filles des régions.</p><p>Le processus pourra inclure, sans s'y limiter, des forums, des groupes de discussions, des études démographiques, des inventaires des ressources, etc. Chaque communauté recevra une formation sur comment effectuer une analyse comparative entre les sexes afin de contribuer à l'identification des situations économiques et sociales des femmes, des filles et des hommes pour leurs régions.</p><p>À partir de cette identification des situation, chaque communauté sera responsable et impliquée dans le développement d'un plan communautaire qui inclura d'autres partenaires et parties prenantes. Les plans communautaires seront disponibles et partagés entre les communautés afin de favoriser les échanges de bons procédés. Les communautés poursuivront leur travail vers la mise en place de stratégies et d'activités pour la création de partenariats, de renforcement de la collaboration, de moyens pour surmonter les barrières qui entravent l'accès aux ressources et à la mise en valeur des facteurs productifs.</p><p>Le projet prévoit une évaluation continue qui produira un rapport final des résultats qui aideront les communautés impliquées à poursuivre leur travail et qui pourra servir à d'autres communautés désireuses d'entamer des processus communautaires.</p><hr /><p><br /> Guylaine Leclerc est Directrice générale, <a href="http://www.unionculturelle.ca" target="_blank">l’Union culturelle des Franco-Ontariennes</a>, 613-741-1334.</p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/french">French</a></div></div></div> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 23:03:54 +0000 Guylaine Leclerc 847 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca The Path to Fossil-Fuel-Freedom http://www.communityrenewal.ca/path-to-fossil-fuel-freedom <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/300_display/Baltris_kristianstad_bikes01.jpg" alt="" /><strong>by Mike Lewis</strong></p><p>Kristianstad is district municipality scattered across 1300 square kilometers of prime agricultural land in southeast Sweden. The largest of its 25 communities has a population of 33,000. The smallest is home to 150.</p><p>In 1999, the elected representatives of the local authority took what for many of us would be an unimaginable decision - to become the first fossil-fuel-free municipality in the Western world. By 2008, just nine years later, Kristianstaad had cut its use of fossil fuels in half. Not only that, they are producing renewable energy that is being exported out of the municipality.</p><p>How? First and foremost is the local authority itself. Solid political leadership articulated and held the vision. Staff planning and co-ordination, engagement of citizens, partnership development - these constitute the backbone of the effort. However, municipally-owned energy and waste management companies are the brain, the arms, and the legs of the operation. Smart and profitable, they design and execute projects to realize the vision in partnership with the private and public sectors.</p><p>This is one of many dramatic, but doable examples of transition in <strong>The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy</strong> (New Society Publishers, 2012). <a href="http://www.newsociety.com/Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative" target="_blank">Click here to purchase</a>.</p><p></p><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_left" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/300_display/Biogas.jpg" alt="" />The range of scale, technologies, and energy feed stocks employed in Kristianstad is truly amazing. From wood chips to straw, from human manure to cow manure, from potato peelings left over from making Absolut Vodka to household organic waste - all have been carefully mixed and matched to create green energy across the region and beyond. Bio-Gas is one key product that flows from this waste stream. (See diagram, left.) Four million liters a year of vehicle fuel are produced, sufficient to fuel the entire municipal transportation fleet. Production is increasing annually. As a feedstock for power generation this waste stream also generates enough electricity for 4,000 average American homes. By 2018, 800 buses in southeast Sweden will be fueled by bio-gas alone.</p><p>Combined heat and power using waste energy and wood chips is another major energy source for district heating. Where the population is less dense, a range of wood- and straw-based fuels feed small clusters in mini-district heating systems or individual buildings. Combined district heating, small-scale heating, and biogas for transport yield an annual direct carbon reduction of about 140,000 tons.</p><p>This does not count the carbon saving that electricity production from bio-fuels creates. Also, the diversion of the waste to create new energy means that the methane from land-fills, waste treatment plants, and manure pits is being radically reduced.</p><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/300_display/kristianstad-renewables.jpg" alt="" />Beyond these initiatives, wind power is playing an increasing role. By 2008, electricity sufficient for 6,500 average American homes was being generated. But this is just the start. On-shore wind power installations now under way will have in place enough electricity for 50,000 homes. Future plans for off-shore wind are at the same level.</p><p>I have not tried to add up and figure out all the various impacts of these initiatives. There has been no comprehensive evaluation that I know of. But think about just the renewable energy production alone, enough to run 116,000 homes. There are only 77,000 people in all of Kristianstad for goodness sake. Think of the resilience being created in the region and the level of self-reliance being achieved.</p><p>And if you are a money guy, just talk to Lenart Erfors, the manager of Fossil-Fuel-Free Kristianstad about the money which householders and the municipal government are saving and the quick paybacks when they convert from oil. Think about the capacity and synergy that has been built through the municipal government and its subsidiary energy and waste management companies. They are making money, reducing carbon and constantly focussing their reinvestment within a framework that puts the public interest first.</p><p>Want to comment? Click <strong>Add new comment</strong>, below.</p><div class="highlight yellow"><ul><li><a href="http://www.newsociety.com/affil.mvc?Affil=CCCR&amp;Page=../Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative">Click here to purchase The Resilience Imperative (New Society Publishers, 2012)</a>.</li><li>Read an excerpt from <strong>The Resilience Imperative</strong> on this topic, <a href="/node/828" target="_blank">Fossil-Fuel-Free Kristianstad</a>.</li></ul></div><hr /><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/150w_thumbnail/RI_story_01_patandmike.jpg" alt="" /><br /> Michael Lewis is Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. He and Pat Conaty, a fellow of the new economics foundation, are the co-authors of <strong>The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy</strong>. <a href="/node/805" target="_blank">Click here to download a content synopsis</a>. In the photo, Michael (at left) and Pat pause while rambling in the hills of Wales.<br />  </p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/economic-sectors/energy">Energy</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/enterprise/local-authorities">Local Authorities</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:26:52 +0000 Mike Lewis 845 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca A Convergence of Child and Salmon http://www.communityrenewal.ca/convergence <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/300_display/RI_story_01_salmon.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>For every author the journey starts somewhere. For me,<strong> Michael Lewis</strong>, it started with a jolt, a painful epiphany that propelled my awareness across generations. For 35 of the last 40 years my home was on a family farm about 20 km outside of Port Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Every autumn we tramped down to the Stamp River to witness to coho and giant Chinook salmon struggle up the river. Rushing currents, cascading falls, towering rocks and……</p><p>In October 2003 the tramp to the Stamp was a watershed moment for me. I had my 3-year-old granddaughter with me. Amira was utterly enthralled with what she saw. Seeing the world through the eyes of child seems to amplify the wonder somehow.</p><p>What choked me that day was the juxtaposition of wonder and the threat revealed to me the day before in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Its message was simple – if water temperature continued to go up salmon would be extinct in 40 years. Amira’s grandchild might never know the wonder of returning salmon. What I was sharing with her that day would become just another story of what once was.</p><p>That was the origin of <strong>The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy</strong> (New Society Publishers, 2012). <a href="http://www.newsociety.com/Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative" target="_blank">Click here to purchase</a>.</p><p></p><p>Climate change was not completely outside of my consciousness. I was kind of aware. I knew scientists were talking about rising temperatures and there might be some implications. But I had other fish to fry, so to speak.</p><p>My focus since I was 20 was on strengthening community economies, especially among disadvantaged communities. I worked in some of our poorest neighborhoods, helped start scores of businesses, was the president of two First Nation joint venture forestry firms. I organized networks, helped train thousands of people, wrote books and articles on what was working, what wasn’t, why and how do we support scaling success and change what was thwarting innovation. I was a busy guy.</p><p>We all know how it is. There are only so many hours in a day. And life is hardly slowing down. People at my age wonder what happened with increased leisure time futurists were projecting 40 years ago. Seems to me most of us are just running harder and harder. Stopping to study, reflect and think? Ha…..what a dream. When the treadmill is running faster and faster, suddenly stopping means getting bumped off the treadmill. One can fall right out of the race.</p><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_left" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/150w_thumbnail/RI_story_01_amira.jpg" alt="" />Yet, this is precisely what happened to me down on the Stamp with my first grandchild. It was as if I was hit in the gut. The threat to what I knew and loved broke through and shook me to the core.</p><p>I had to stop. I had to read. I had to listen and think. And the more I learned the more I discovered how little I knew. Indeed, at times, I felt what I did not know seemed to be ever expanding universe. But I did come to one basic conclusion: We are living in an unprecedented period in human history! Clearly we are the most successful species on earth; adaptable, inventive, creative, resilient. Yet, it seems equally clear there has never been a century in the 2000 centuries we have existed, when we have been so vulnerable and when it has been so plausible to contemplate the possibility of our own demise.</p><p>Why do I say this? There are several parts to my answer but let me begin with a humorous depiction of the economic treadmill we are on, as described by Thomas Friedman of the <em>New York Times</em>:</p><div class="highlight yellow"><p>“We in America built more and more stores, to sell more and more stuff, made in more and more Chinese factories, powered by more and more coal and all those sales produced more and more dollars, which China used to buy more and more Treasury bills, which allowed the Federal Reserve to extend more and more easy credit to more and more banks, consumers and businesses, so that more and more Americans could purchase more and more homes, and all those sales drove home prices higher and higher, which made more and more money to buy more and more stuff made in more and more Chinese factories powered by more and more coal which ...”</p></div><p>Makes one dizzy….. More and more, faster and faster, 15,000 mile supply chains, just in time inventory – Oh….we are incredible, aren’t we, all this, in less than 200 years?</p><p>But we got a problem, big time. Whether we can bend the curve of history in time for our kind to survive remains to be seen.</p><p>Writing <strong>The Resilience Imperative</strong> over the last 3 1/2 years clearly demonstrated to me that it is possible. Whether it is probable, that is another question. The tension between the two is at the heart of this book and our purpose "to make hope more concrete and despair less convincing."</p><p><a href="http://www.newsociety.com/affil.mvc?Affil=CCCR&amp;Page=../Books/R/The-Resilience-Imperative">Click here to purchase The Resilience Imperative (New Society Publishers, 2012)</a>.</p><hr /><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/150w_thumbnail/RI_story_01_patandmike.jpg" alt="" /><br /> Michael Lewis is Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. He and Pat Conaty, a fellow of the new economics foundation, are the co-authors of <strong>The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy</strong>. <a href="/node/805" target="_blank">Click here to download more details</a>, including a synopsis of the contents. In the photo, Michael (at left) and Pat pause while rambling in the hills of Wales.<br />  </p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/crisis-points">Crisis Points</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/culture">Culture</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Mon, 28 May 2012 22:59:31 +0000 Mike Lewis 841 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca How to Excel at Change http://www.communityrenewal.ca/excel-at-change <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_left" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/photo_shadow_full_571x276/Teslin%20at%20Dawn-3.jpg" alt="" /></p><br /><br /><p>The Citizens of <strong>Teslin Tlingit First Nation</strong> (see photo, above) didn’t start out with the intention to “improve their resilience.” They weren’t asking themselves how they could strengthen their ability to “adapt to change.” What got them going was that the community’s birth rate was down, unemployment and the housing shortage were up, and elders were growing scarce. Their government, Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC), had to take action which would have some serious results within ten years. Its solution: to develop a 5-year strategic plan.</p><p>Now that may sound like a strange way to respond to very serious problems. “Planning” often is a substitute for action, and a time-consuming one at that. As one of the consultants supporting TTC’s strategic planning process, I have to say (rather sheepishly) that we have been at it for three years and we still don’t have a plan. I am starting to see, however, that this long effort is already paying off big time in a host of other ways. TTC insists that their plan have measurable outcomes and that achieving those outcomes is paramount – not “the plan.” Consequently, three years in, TTC’s Government is learning <strong>how to excel at change</strong>.</p><p>Let me explain.</p><p></p><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_right" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/150w_thumbnail/Teslin%20map-1.jpg" alt="" />Teslin Tlingit First Nation has been self governing since 1995. Its traditional territory extends over about 10,000 sq. kilometers of the Yukon. However, its settlement lands are largely in and around Teslin. (See map, left.) About half the First Nation’s 760 Citizens live there. TTC employs just over 90 people across eight departments. They have twice now organized the Tlingit Celebration for several thousand First Nations and tourists. They boast four of their own legislations and are the first in Canada to draw down their own Justice Department. No small achievements.</p><p>But by 2009, the issues of birth rate, housing, joblessness, and identity demanded action. It was clear to TTC leaders that the government needed ways to focus resources on priorities and then to measure the results over time. They committed to a multi-year process of planning, combined with personal development, training, and organizational development.</p><p><img class="ibimage ibimage_align_left" src="http://communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/imagecache/300_display/Teslin%20-%203%20tasks.jpg" alt="" />Never mind what happens when the plan gets drafted - this combination of training, department reviews and coaching, and planning is already changing TTC. It is becoming used to looking at itself, to admitting where old ways don’t get results, and to figuring out new ways that do get results. Staff are learning how to plan, reflect, learn, and adapt for continual improvement.</p><p>What else have they learned? That one size doesn’t fit everyone. That the important thing is to work with each staff member at her or his own pace. That you have to be realistic in your expectations, rather than set yourself up to fall short. That performance reviews go hand-in-hand with valuable training opportunities, internships, and mentoring.</p><p>The importance of “planning champions” also has become clear. Someone who can see the big picture, as well as the details (the “forest” as well as the “trees”) is key in each department, and at the executive level.</p><p>In 2011 TTC introduced mid-year monitoring and progress reports. This year, departments will start to define targets and to collect the information which measures how things currently stand in relation to those targets. And, in keeping with the need to work with each department at its own pace, some will spend more time strengthening their annual plans.</p><p>After three years, the 5-year plan and its measureable outcomes are still in the making. The journey however is bringing about a new organizational culture. It features a readiness to make realistic plans; to do the work, and then reflect together on how it’s going, and adapt the plan as necessary - again and again. Well before Year 1 of the Strategic Plan kicks in, TTC has got a grip on the most important thing about strategic planning: it is a means of learning how to excel at change – “learning how to learn.”</p><p>Do you suppose that the way we walk the road of change is just as important as our destination? More important?</p><div class="highlight yellow"><h4>Dig Deeper</h4><ul><li>Strategic planning is important to social and economic change. But just as important (if not more) is to prepare local people to take charge of the changes they envision in their own self-reliance. See <a href="/node/729" target="_blank">Human Resource Planning: Getting People Ready, Willing, and Able to Revitalize Their Community</a>.</li><li>To make a break from poverty, communities have to become skilled at planning, organizing, and citizen engagement, as well as business. <a href="/node/722" target="_blank">The Development Wheel: A Workbook to Guide Community Analysis and Planning </a>helps you assess how far you’ve come in the development process, and where to go next. (<a href="/node/837" target="_blank">Aussi disponible en français</a>.)</li><li>Planning is mainly a conversation with neighbours about the sort of place you want later generations to call home. Read <a href="/node/326" target="_blank">Planning in Lower Post</a>.</li><li><a href="/node/440" target="_blank">Down with Dysfunctional Measurement!</a> This article explains where so many economic development programs have gone wrong in the past, and the comprehensive, results-oriented approach necessary to make them go right.</li></ul></div><div class="highlight blue"><p><strong><em>i4</em></strong> is an ejournal about Inspiring, Innovating, Inciting, and Inventing ways of life and work that permit humanity and the planet to thrive in this century of unprecedented challenges. <strong><em>i4</em></strong> is a publication of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal.</p></div></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/territorial-initiatives/aboriginal">Aboriginal</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/enterprise/local-authorities">Local Authorities</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Fri, 30 Mar 2012 07:00:00 +0000 Michelle Colussi 836 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca Garder le Cap http://www.communityrenewal.ca/blog/garder-le-cap <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h5>Les acquis et l’impact du Regroupement québécois de recherche partenariale en économie sociale (RQRP-ÉS)</h5><br /><p>La connaissance de l’économie sociale en 2012 est totalement différente de ce qu’elle était au début des années 2000. Nous avons grandement contribué à transformer l’image sectorielle et territoriale de l’économie sociale non seulement au Québec, mais aussi au Canada et dans le monde (principalement en Europe et en Amérique latine).</p><p>Notre contribution à une meilleure connaissance de l’importance de cette économie a grandement profité de deux financements que nous avons obtenus du <a href="http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/home-accueil-fra.aspx" target="_blank">Conseil de recherche en sciences humaines du Canada</a> (CRSH). Ces subventions ont permis la création du <a href="http://www.aruc-es.uqam.ca/ARUC%C3%89SetRQRP%C3%89S/Pr%C3%A9sentation/tabid/67/Default.aspx" target="_blank">Réseau québécois de recherche partenariale en économie sociale</a> (RQRP-ÉS), que j’ai eu la chance de codiriger avec Nancy Neamtan, présidente directrice générale du <a href="http://www.chantier.qc.ca" target="_blank">Chantier de l’économie sociale</a>.</p><p>De 2005 à 2011, notre réseau a regroupé une quarantaine de chercheurs provenant de la majorité des universités québécoises. Ce partenariat nous a permis de travailler de concert avec une trentaine de praticiens et d’impliquer une vingtaine d’étudiants par année. Notre réseau était affilié au <a href="http://socialeconomyhub.ca/" target="_blank">Centre canadien de recherche partenariale en économie sociale</a>.</p><p>En mots simples, que pouvons-nous dire sur nos réalisations ? Elles ont permis de mieux comprendre ce qu’est la recherche partenariale pour en faire la promotion dans les milieux universitaires. Elles ont aussi et surtout permis de démontrer l’importance de l’économie sociale pour le développement de la société québécoise.</p><p>En travaillant avec les acteurs de cette économie, nous avons été en mesure de répondre à leurs besoins en matière de développement de nouvelles connaissances. Ces dernières les ont aidé à faire reconnaître l’importance de leur secteur, de leur travail, des impacts générés par leurs interventions et aussi à appuyer la conception de dispositifs, de mécanismes ou d’outils de gestion.</p><p>Concrètement, notre travail a joué un rôle parfois mineur, souvent majeur, dans l’émergence de nouveaux projets. À titre indicatif, mentionnons l’appui que nous avons apporté au développement du <a href="http://www.technopoleangus.com/fr/angus/" target="_blank">Technopôle Angus</a>, à la création de la <a href="http://www.fiducieduchantier.qc.ca/" target="_blank">Fiducie du Chantier de l’économie sociale</a>, au <a href="http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=6437,53351572&amp;_dad=portal&amp;_schema=PORTAL" target="_blank">Bureau de l’économie sociale de la Ville de Montréal</a> et à sa politique publique « Partenariat en économie sociale », ou encore à la conception du <a href="http://economiesocialequebec.ca/" target="_blank">Portail québécois d’économie sociale</a>. Enfin, citons le développement du modèle d’intervention qu’est l’Incubateur universitaire <a href="http://iupe.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Parole d’excluEs</a>, lequel est rattaché depuis 2011 au <a href="http://www.crises.uqam.ca/" target="_blank">Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales</a> (CRISES).</p><p>Quand je parle du travail que nous avons fait pour comprendre le recherche partenariale, cela signifie qu’il nous a fallu analyser et décortiquer nos méthodes de travail. Dès 2005, nous avons mandaté une petite équipe composée de chercheurs et d’acteurs de l’économie sociale pour comprendre les particularités, les conditions, les forces, mais aussi les limites de cette façon de coproduire des connaissances. Pour caractériser cette méthode, nous avons conçu deux guides et nous avons réalisé <a href="http://www.aruc-es.uqam.ca/" target="_blank"><em>À la croisée des savoirs</em></a>, un document vidéo. (Les guides et le documentaire vidéo ont été produits en langues française et anglaise.)</p><p>Sur les limites et les enjeux de la recherche partenariale, les questions soulevées par <strong>Ian MacPherson</strong> et <strong>Mike Toye</strong> dans « <a href="/node/823" target="_blank">Stay the Course</a> » sont très pertinentes. Nous sommes d’accord avec les nombreuses difficultés qui pavent le chemin du travail de recherche fait en collaboration. Mélanger des cultures différentes n’est pas évident.</p><p>Effectivement, tant les chercheurs que les praticiens se retrouvent dans des environnements compétitifs. Nos organisations exigent l’atteinte de résultats qui ne sont pas toujours convergents : trouver des solutions concrètes du côté des acteurs sociaux, produire des connaissances abstraites du côté des chercheurs.</p><p>Toutefois, nous ne partageons pas leur avis sur la limite centrale qu’ils ont identifiée. Nous n’avons pas perçu de grande difficulté à intégrer la recherche partenariale dans les activités courantes du métier de chercheur. En fait, l’enjeu central que nous avons rencontré portait plus sur les limites dans l’accompagnement post-recherche que peuvent effectuer des chercheurs et des étudiants. Notre travail permettait certes la coproduction de connaissances, mais il permettait peu ou pas de faire un suivi pour aider les acteurs dans l’application de ces dernières. En fait, nous coréalisions une partie du travail alors que les acteurs auraient souvent voulu continuer l’activité de recherche sous la forme d’un accompagnement structuré pour les aider à valoriser les connaissances coproduites.</p><p>« <em>Garder le cap</em> », pour nous du milieu universitaire, signifie être en mesure de répondre au besoin de conduire des recherches permettant le production de connaissances fondamentales tout en étant en mesure de faire des recherches action participative qui puissent conduire à la réalisation de recherches intervention, c’est-à-dire de projets partenariaux qui combinent recherche participative et accompagnement dans des modalités de transfert permettant le développement de bilans historiques, d’évaluations habilitantes et d’activités de planification stratégique.</p><p><a href="/node/835">Also available in English</a>.</p><hr /><p><br /><strong>Jean-Marc Fontan</strong> est professeur de sociologie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), spécialisé dans le domaine de l’anthropologie économique et de la sociologie du développement. Ses travaux au sein du Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales sont principalement liés à l’étude des modalités de développement socioéconomique et socioculturel en milieu métropolitain montréalais. Il est le Coordonnateur de l’Incubateur universitaire <a href="http://iupe.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Parole d’excluEs</a>.</p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author-photo field-type-image field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Author Photo:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img src="http://www.communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/J-M%20Fontan.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/social-and-soldarity-economy">Social and Soldarity Economy</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/enterprise/partnerships">Partnerships</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/french">French</a></div></div></div> Mon, 12 Mar 2012 23:27:58 +0000 Jean-Marc Fontan 834 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca Staying the Course http://www.communityrenewal.ca/staying-the-course <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h5>The Québec Network of Research Partnerships in Social Economy (RQRP-ÉS) - its Learnings, Its Impact</h5><br /><p>Our understanding of the social economy has completely changed in the last 12 years. Since the early 2000s, there has been a transformation of the image of the social economy, in terms of sector and geography, not just in Québec but also in Canada and around the world (in Europe and Latin America, chiefly). This is thanks in no small part to the Québec <a href="http://www.aruc-es.uqam.ca/ARUC%C3%89SetRQRP%C3%89S/Pr%C3%A9sentation/tabid/67/Default.aspx" target="_blank">Network of Research Partnerships in Social Economy</a> (RQRP-ÉS).</p><p>This deeper understanding of the importance of the social economy owes much to two grants from the <a href="http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.aspx" target="_blank">Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada</a> (SSHRC). They enabled the creation of the RQRP-ÉS, which I had the good fortune to co-lead with Nancy Neamtan, President and Executive Director of the <a href="http://www.chantier.qc.ca" target="_blank">Chantier de l’économie sociale</a>.</p><p>From 2005 to 2011, our network brought together some 40 researchers from most of the universities in Québec. This partnership has enabled us to work with about 30 practitioners and to involve a good 20 students annually. Our network was affiliated with the <a href="http://socialeconomyhub.ca/" target="_blank">Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships</a> (CSERP).</p><p>Simply put, what’s there to say about our achievements? They brought about a better understanding of research partnerships, for purposes of promoting them within post-secondary contexts. In addition, and above all, they demonstrated the importance of the social economy to the development of Québec’s society.</p><p>By working with social economy actors, we were able to respond to their needs in terms of the development of new knowledge. This knowledge helped them to recognize the importance of their sector, their work, and the impacts which their initiatives generate. It also supported the design of instruments, mechanisms, or management tools.</p><p>Specifically, our work played a role (sometimes minor, often major) in the emergence of new projects. So, by way of example, the support we gave to the development of the urban business park <a href="http://www.technopoleangus.com/an/angus/" target="_blank">Angus Technopole</a>; to the creation of the <a href="http://www.fiducieduchantier.qc.ca/" target="_blank">Chantier de l’économie sociale Trust</a>; to the <a href="http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=6438,53833620&amp;_dad=portal&amp;_schema=PORTAL" target="_blank">Social Economy Bureau of the City of Montréal </a>and to its policy of "Partnership for Community-based Sustainable Development”; or to the design of the <a href="http://economiesocialequebec.ca/" target="_blank">Economie sociale Québec Web Portal</a>. Finally, there’s the expansion of that model of intervention we call the University Incubator <a href="http://iupe.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Parole d’excluEs</a>, now attached to the <a href="http://www.crises.uqam.ca/presentation-en" target="_blank">Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales</a> (CRISES - the Social Innovation Research Centre).</p><p>When I say that we worked to understand research partnerships, I mean we had to analyze our methods of work, the same way you might peel an onion. Starting in 2005, we assigned a small team of researchers and social economy actors to explore the features, requirements, strengths, but also the limits of this method of co-producing knowledge. To describe it, we designed two guides and produced the video documentary “<a href="http://www.aruc-es.uqam.ca/" target="_blank">At the Crossroads of Knowledge</a>.” (The guides and the video were produced in both French and English.)</p><p>In terms of the limits and challenges of research partnerships, Ian MacPherson and Mike Toye raise very pertinent issues in the article "<a href="/node/823" target="_blank">Stay the Course</a>.” We share their views on the many challenges facing those who take the path of collaborative research. The mixing of different cultures is not straightforward. For sure, researchers as much as practitioners find themselves in competitive environments. Our respective organizations require the achievement of results which do not always converge: for social actors, finding practical solutions; for researchers, the production of abstract knowledge.</p><p>However, we don't share their view of the main constraint they identify. We didn't have a lot of difficulty integrating research partnerships with the ongoing activities of the research profession. In fact, the central challenge we encountered was more about how the limits to post-research support affected researchers and students. Our work certainly enabled the co-production of knowledge, but it allowed for little or no follow-up in terms of helping social economy actors apply this knowledge.<span id="result_box" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><span class="hps"> In fact, we</span> researchers would often work away on something together <span class="hps">when the</span> actors would <span class="hps">have</span> lov<span class="hps">ed to continue</span> <span class="hps">the research </span>within a coaching framework designed <span class="hps">to help them</span> </span><span id="result_box" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><span class="hps">put it to work</span></span><span id="result_box" lang="en" xml:lang="en"> <span class="hps">the</span> <span class="hps">knowledge</span> <span class="hps">which had been co-produced</span><span>.</span></span></p><p>For us in the post-secondary milieu, "Staying the Course" means to be able to address the need to conduct research which enables the production of fundamental knowledge while at the same time being able to carry out participatory action research which can lead to applied research. That is, it can lead to partnerships combining participatory research and support within transfer modalities which give rise to the development of a long-term, historical perspective, empowerment evaluation, and strategic planning activities.</p><p><a href="/node/834">Aussi disponible en français</a>.</p><hr /><p><br /><strong>Jean-Marc Fontan </strong>is a Professor of Sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), specializing in economic anthropology and developmental sociology. His work at the Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales links primarily to the study of modalities of socio-economic and socio-cultural development in metropolitan Montréal. He is Co-ordinator of the Incubateur universitaire<a href="http://iupe.wordpress.com/" target="_blank"> Parole d’excluEs</a>.<br />  </p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author-photo field-type-image field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Author Photo:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img src="http://www.communityrenewal.ca/sites/all/files/J-M%20Fontan_0.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Category:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/category/macrotrends-and-imperatives/social-and-soldarity-economy">Social and Soldarity Economy</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/category/category/enterprise/partnerships">Partnerships</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-5 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Language:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/category/language/english">English</a></div></div></div> Sun, 11 Mar 2012 23:17:17 +0000 Jean-Marc Fontan 835 at http://www.communityrenewal.ca