By Dr Helen Masterman Smith, Charles Sturt University
Local residents are leading the way on sustainable community development projects at The Commons in North Albury. Established in July this year by the Goodlife Community Co-operative, The Commons is run by residents who enjoy working with others to help people, animals and the earth. It’s a place where residents are helping to solve sustainability and social justice problems simultaneously.
Two forums aimed at discussing some of the underlying political and economic factors are being held during the Albury Wodonga Sustainable Living Festival.
On November 18-19, a public forum will be held on the topic of People Powered Economy to discuss how decent jobs might be created within a sustainable local economy.
Community wealth building strategies, like the establishment of community-based social enterprises and sharing economy programs, are often touted as steps in the right direction. Local and international examples will be showcased and the potential for similar approaches in our region discussed.
For instance, participants can learn about Wodonga City Council’s new procurement policy and the Cleveland model of community enterprise development. They also get a first-hand look at the sharing economy in action at The Commons, where tonnes of food and homewares are being rescued from landfill, as neighbours find new ways to support each other through tough times. All price tags at The Commons are the same: free.
These approaches provide everyday people with opportunities help build a more inclusive, just and sustainable economic base at a time when unemployment and social hardship are affecting many local residents.
The forum will be of interest to local organisations, practitioners and curious residents. It runs over two days from 10am to 5pm, however it is possible to join individual sessions.
The forum follows on the heels of a People Powered Democracy forum that was held on 4-5 November where participants considered ways in which everyday people can have more say over the decision-making that affects their lives.
Both forums are supported by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Charles Sturt University and the Goodlife Community Co-operative.
The People Powered Economy forum will be held at The Commons, 1076 Mate St, North Albury. Phone 0478 178 736 for more information or to reserve a seat.
For more information about other Sustainable Living Festival events see: alburycity.nsw.gov.au/slf2016