Friday, June 12, 2009

BALLE Memoirs

This is going to be some serious blog entry. I mean... where do I even start?! There is no way I can convey it all...
Maybe I should start with the fun stuff?!
Below are Nancy, our Big Brain and the Heart and Soul of Central Park NC, and Eric Henry, the TS Desings Mastermind, coming up with some serious "business plan on a napkin" - the annual BALLE creative business plan endeavor... 
And here is the rest of the creative crew. Jane Norton and I were the support group. 
I drew up this very complicated map of how it all would work out... 
And Nancy put it in the right "language"... You never know. This just might be the next big thing that happens at STARworks in cooperation with TS Designs... Sorry the pictures are sideways. I strategically positioned them so it would be harder for you to copy this brilliant plan!

Among other fun things, we went to the "Tattered Cover"the largest independently owned bookstore in the USA. I bought "COOP", Michael Perry's wonderfully written and funny book about life on a farm, which I am now reading and laughing out loud most of the time.
We checked out some local places to eat, like breakfast at the "Delectable Egg"which was a perfect choice for two chicken lovers like Nancy and I. The omelet was awesome!
The Curtis Hotel, where we staid at was cool too! 

While sitting at the key note's and lectures I couldn't help but feel a certain satisfaction - there is a revolution taking place in America. I guess it could be summed up as the "Small Mart Revolution" , a term coined by Michael Shuman, who by the way is a wonderful speaker besides being a good writer and revolutionary thinker. Another man who fits that description would be David Korten. I will list some of their books at the end of this blog entry, so you can do further "deep reading" on your own. Those two men left a lasting impression on me, and seemed to be the driving force behind Local Living Economies movement.
BALLE conference could be summed up as a call to arms for distributing the idea of economies being driven by small local businesses, people standing up against the current corrupt corporate model of economy and taking more in their own hands in their own communities. 
We saw an inspiring presentation by "Biofuel Oasis" from Berkley, California, where 5 women came together some years ago, and formed a worker owned business after brewing bio-diesel in their back yards. Today they have a successful business, faithful following and a newly renovated site for making and selling recycled vegetable oil.
Another presentation which was possibly the highlight of my conference experience, was by Free Range Studios the creators of the "Story of Stuff", "Meatrix", "Store Wars" and other great educational films:) Erica Priggen, who is the producer at Free Range Studios was giving us the ABC's of how to make a "viral" video, and I bet we're going to be making some movies of our own here at STARworks in the future...
Soooo... Next year BALLE will be taking place at Charleston SC - practically over the fence from here, so we should all hop over and learn what we can do at our own hometowns, or even at our homes - to make the future a bit brighter...
Some links for your own homework:

Click away! It is encouraging to see all this information out there, so many individuals and groups doing some good work!

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