REconomy: Using Our Resources to Shift the Economy
Taking control of our money can be challenging, but it’s also empowering. On the REconomy: Buy Local, Bank Local, Invest Local page, we gave you a few ideas for things you can do personally, and some community-scale actions. Here’s how you can start to make the transition from Wall Street to Main Street — and from the money economy to the sharing economy — and who can help.
Individual Action is an Easy Way to Start
Where Is Your Money Now?
- Research your bank, and other banks to get a greater understanding of their impact in the community. A google check may reveal past problems or positive actions. For ideas about how the values of financial institutions might differ, see this article by Bankrate.
- Visit the Hennepin County Library Morningstar Investment Research Center, in person, to research your mutual fund or retirement fund This normally expensive resource is available to you free as a library patron.
- Identify your bank-local options. Research self-directed IRAs to understand how you might get greater control over your retirement funds. Take a look at C Notes and Ours to Own, small dollar bond-like investments, and co-op investment networks.
Buy Local and Invest in Change
Now that you know where your money is located and what it’s doing, think about what you would like it to do. What goals are important to you?
- Food resilience?
- Energy independence?
- Thriving small businesses within walking distance?
- Affordable housing?
- Education and R&D to solve the problems we’ve been experiencing?
You can have an impact on all of these with your purchasing power, investing power, and donating power. You can transition your money.
- Bank Local: Switch your checking and savings account to a local bank.
- Buy Local: Commit to buying some things only from local businesses, especially if they are made by those businesses, not just sold by them. It’s particularly important that we support production activities to bring our supply chain back to the U.S. and back to our state and communities. If it makes sense to think in these terms, you could set a buy-local spending goal for a certain amount of your disposable income. Know that your decision to buy local means your dollars recirculate many more times in your community.
- Invest Local: Consider investing directly in local businesses through crowdfunding opportunities or Minnesota’s local business investment portal – MNVest. You could join a local investment group, like the NorthEast Investment Coop or the Co-op Investment Network (CoIN). If you believe, like many people who are making the transition, that it is vitally important that we financially support the change we need, consider “patient investing” — the slow money movement. Slow Money Minnesota has started a Grow a Farmer grant fund but hopes to someday include direct loan opportunities for those who want to invest in protecting and growing family farms.
- Donate Local: The change we need to see is great. It may be that donating money is going to move the dial faster.
Broaden Your Reach to Places Most Severely Impacted by Climate Change
KIVA is a microlending organization that allows you to provide “loans” of as little as $25 to individuals and small group business owners in countries across the globe. Join the Transition Team and any loan you decide to make will be “credited” to the team so we can see how much impact we can have. You might choose to fund energy projects or women-owned businesses, or even education for girls. (Transition Twin Cities does not make any money from this referral. The “team” is for reporting purposes only.)
The Sharing Economy: Leave Cash Behind
The sharing economy is an equally valid way to get your needs met. Your first foray into sharing can be as simple as doing a meal exchange with a neighbor once a week, or a babysitting exchange once a month. You could house-sit instead of paying rent, or provide household help in exchange for rent. You could participate in more formal sharing network:
- Time banking: In the Twin Cities, Hour Dollars facilitates the exchange of time and services in St. Paul. There are a few other time banks in Minnesota (for example, one in the St. Croix Valley). See HourWorld or TimeBanks USA.
- Tool sharing libraries are located in NE Minneapolis and midtown St. Paul
- Seed sharing libraries are popping up across the cities. Check out the Como Community Seed Library and the West Side Seed Library.
- Couchsurfing is a fun and educational way to travel, staying in someone’s home for free — and inviting travelers to stay with you.
- Maker spaces and cooperative work spaces are in the cities and some suburbs (like CoCreatz on University and Raymond, started by folks from Transition ASAP.
Group Action is Essential for REconomy Success
Start a Needed Community Business! Take a look at the work done in Totnes, England, to develop a local economic blueprint for what the community visioned it’s local economy should be. Community members identified projects in the areas of food, retrofitting, renewable energy and caring. Check out the Transition US 25 Enterprises That Build Resilience report to see what others have done here in the U.S. Contact Transition Twin Cities if you’d like to connect with REconomy experts at Transition US or the global Transition Network.
Faith communities are an ideal places for:
- Sharing networks – ride sharing, car sharing, childcare sharing
- Community resources like food shelves and clothes closets are common. It may be simple to include a seed or tool library
- Equity projects like Exodus Lending (funded by a consortium of local churches and foundations to help people escape predatory payroll lenders) or Prepare and Prosper, which trains volunteers to help people make the shift from “just getting by” to getting ahead.
Local businesses, rotary clubs and business schools can provide support and expert knowledge to help communities create their own local investing network (LIoNs), like FUND Milwaukee did. Learn more about this model of connecting new business owners with community investors by checking out the Entrepreneur Forum in Totnes.
Community investment funds collect money from investors and use it to improve the community. When sponsored by a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, such a fund can borrow money from non-accredited investors (average citizens) and invest it to further the nonprofit’s purpose. (See Our Katahdin Investments for an example of this.)
Municipalities can establish policies that preference buying local. They can also take a look at where they are banking and how they are investing employee pension funds. Are they banking with big banks that are damaging their community? Are pension funds tied to oil and gas drilling?
Buy Local, Invest Local: Who Can Help?
This list may not be complete. If there are organizations or companies you would like to see added, please email the webmaster to request consideration for inclusion. Resources found on this website are for informational purposes only and listing does not constitute endorsement. Transition Twin Cities does not receive any financial support from companies listed here.
|Sunrise Banks||Sunrise Bank is a CDFI(Community Development Financial Institution) dedicated to community engagement, local investment, and financial responsibility. Contact: Phone: (651) 265-5600||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|
|Hennepin County Library Morningstar Investment Research Center||This resource through the Hennepin County Library allows individuals to research exactly what companies and industries their mutual fund/retirement fund/pensions are invested in. This normally expensive resource is free to library patrons. Contact: https://www.hclib.org/contact||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, Local Investing, Metro-Wide Resource||big-picture economy-sharing local-investing metro-wide-resource|
|Hour Dollars||Hour Dollars is a time banking program serving the Twin Cities. Hour Dollars lets members earn hours while providing a service, and then spend earned hours to receive a service from any member in the directory. Contact: Email: email@example.com||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Minnesota Tool Library||The MN Tool Library offers the community access to tools rather than ownership. Members can check out tools for projects and then return them when done. In addition to providing a vital resource to the sharing economy, the MN Tool Library engages the community in other ways through educational programs …||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Como Community Seed Library||CCSL is dedicated to giving access to sustainable, low cost heirloom, historic variety, and native seed to the Como Park community. Contact: Contact Form: https://comoseedsavers.geopoi.us/||Economy & Sharing, Food, Ramsey County, Seeds, Sharing||economy-sharing food ramsey-county seeds sharing|
|West Side Seed Library||Located out of the Riverview Library, this is a seed bank that is open whenever the library is open. If you are looking for planting/gardening advice, a Seed Librarian is available each Wednesday from 5-7PM. Contact for Riverview library: tel:+1-651-292-6626||Economy & Sharing, Food, Ramsey County, Seeds, Sharing||economy-sharing food ramsey-county seeds sharing|
|MPLS Make||MPLS make is a Makerspace in Minneapolis offering membership and storage at cost 24/7(membership is $220/mo so this is definitely for people who make for a living rather than those who do as a hobby) as well as free training for tools and equipment. Contact: Phone: 507-384-1856.||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|CoCreatz||CoCreatz is a coworking space on the border of MPLS/Saint Paul in the Creative Enterprise Zone that offers flexible membership plans at affordable prices. Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Phone: (651) 317-3388||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|MNvest||MNvest is a local investment portal advocating for the democratization of investment. MNvest is dedicated to helping everyday people invest in local enterprises they want to support in their communities. Contact: email@example.com||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|
|NorthEast Investment Cooperative||NEIC is a cooperative that allows MN residents to invest financially to collectively buy and restore commercial and residential property in NE MPLS. NEIC has helped restore several properties into thriving businesses, including Fair State Brewing Cooperative and Aki’s Breadhaus. Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Phone: 612-562-6342||Economy & Sharing, Hennepin County, Local Investing||economy-sharing hennepin-county local-investing|
|Slow Money MN||Slow Money Minnesota is an emerging network that connects people interested in building a better local food system. SMM works to support local farmers and food makers with knowledge and capital. They offer a Grow a Farmer grant fund that allows people to invest in beginning farmers around the state. …||Economy & Sharing, Food, Food Systems, Local Investing, Slow Money||economy-sharing food food-systems local-investing slow-money|
|Cooperative Development Services||CDS provides organizational and developmental guidance to communities seeking to start new co-ops in all sectors of the economy and planning assistance to existing co-ops seeking to expand. This is a great resource for food and agriculture cooperatives looking to establish themselves or expand their operations. Contact: http://www.cdsus.coop/about/contact||Buy Local, Cohousing, Economy & Sharing, Food, Food Sourcing, Food Systems, Sharing||buy-local cohousing economy-sharing food food-sourcing food-systems sharing affordable-sustainable-housing|
|Slow Food Minnesota||Slow Food Minnesota promotes healthy farm ecosystems, awareness of the circular food economy, and local organizations doing meaningful work in the food equity space. SFM provides opportunities for volunteering, connecting with like-minded individuals, and donating to make an impact and change our food system so that it works for everyone. …||Economy & Sharing, Food, Food Systems, Slow Money||economy-sharing food food-systems slow-money|
|Institute for Local Self-Reliance||ILSR is working to challenge concentrated economic power by fighting corporate control and supporting local business and industry. ISLR is a research institution that partners with local businesses to help them change the ways they handle their waste streams. Contact: Email: email@example.com , Phone: (612) 276-3456||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, Resilience||big-picture economy-sharing resilience|
|Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Twin Cities)||LISC Twin Cities works to build community resilience by supporting projects to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents. LISC provides capital, strategy, and know how to its community partners. Contact: Email: Twincities@lisc.org , Phone: (651) 649-1109||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, Resilience||big-picture economy-sharing resilience|
|Nordeast Makers||Nordeast Makers is a makerspace in Northeast Minneapolis offering 24/7 access to a range of tools, CNC milling, and laser cutting. Monthly membership is $200. Contact: https://nordeastmakers.com/contact-us/||Economy & Sharing, Hennepin County, Sharing||economy-sharing hennepin-county sharing|
|iLab||iLab is a makerspace offered by Dakota County Libraries offering free access to tools such as sewing machines, 3D printers, digital design tools, and video and audio editing equipment at library locations across Dakota County.||Dakota County, Economy & Sharing, Sharing, Uncategorized||dakota-county economy-sharing sharing uncategorized|
|Saint Paul Public Library Innovation Lab||SPPL’s Innovation Lab is a public makerspace offering audio and video equipment/software, sewing and textile equipment, laser cutting, and 3D printing to library members. Contact: Phone: (651) 266-7081||Economy & Sharing, Ramsey County, Sharing||economy-sharing ramsey-county sharing|
|ampUp||ampUp is an app for android and iOS where Electric Vehicle drivers can help other EV owners by sharing chargers and mapping routes for longer trips around existing charging stations. Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||Economy & Sharing, Electric Vehicles, Sharing, Transportation||economy-sharing electric-vehicles sharing transportation|
|Minneapolis Toy Library||The Minneapolis Toy Library is a toy lending program for children aged birth to 5. This program began in 2014 when two mothers came together over an idea for toy sharing to help families save money and reduce waste flow from toys that inevitably end up in landfills. Annual membership …||Economy & Sharing, Hennepin County, Rethink, Sharing||economy-sharing hennepin-county rethink sharing wastereduction|
|How We Live: A Journey Towards a Just Transition||This short film narrated by activist Gopal Dayaneni focuses on the three pillars of every economy, discusses the flaws of our extractive economy and describes what a regenerative economy could look like. How We Live: A Journey Towards a Just Transition is a great introduction to regenerative economics and the …||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing, REconomy||books-videos economy-sharing reconomy|
|Solidarity Economy: Building an Economy for People and Planet||This piece from Emily Kawano of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network is an insightful introduction to the idea of a solidarity economy, a global movement to build a just and sustainable economy.||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, REconomy||big-picture economy-sharing reconomy|
|Your Money or Your Life||This book by Transition Whidbey member Vicki Robin is a helpful tool for changing ones relationship with money and achieving financial independence.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing||books-videos economy-sharing|
|Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity||Local Dollars, Local Sense is a book about how to invest locally while maintaining a strong return on ones investment. This book shows that almost anyone can invest, and that the impact of investment is much more powerful at the local scale than on Wall Street.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||books-videos economy-sharing local-investing|
|Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement||This report from the Post Carbon Institute is the product of interviews with eighteen community leaders working in community resilience or local economic change. This is an excellent resource for exploring how community resilience and local economics intersect in the realm of transition.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing||books-videos economy-sharing|
|Financing our Foodshed||Financing our Foodshed is a book about how the Slow Money movement has worked to support local food.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing, Slow Money||books-videos economy-sharing slow-money|
|“Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprises and Local Sustainable Economies”||This book provides insight into the sharing economy through the lens of how the practice of law is necessary to validate and legalize the work of many actors in the local economy, such as cooperatives, time banks, cohousing communities, and social enterprises.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing, Sharing||books-videos economy-sharing sharing|
|The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community||The Sharing Solution is a practical and legal guide that explains how to create and maintain successful sharing relationships while addressing issues of liability, communication, and more.||Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing, Sharing||books-videos economy-sharing sharing|
|All That We Share: How to Save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities and Everything Else that Belongs to All of Us||All That We Share is a field guide to the commons. This book is a tour guide of the commons shared by all of us, and describes how commoners(us) can act to preserve the commons that are so essential to our way of life.||Big Picture, Books/Videos, Economy & Sharing||big-picture books-videos economy-sharing|
|Post Carbon Institute||The Post Carbon Institute is a national level partner organization of Transition US. It promotes energy literacy, connects the dots between energy and the economy, and provides a reality check on the stories we’re being told about the energy systems we rely on.||Big Picture, Climate, Climate Information, Economy & Sharing, Energy, Energy Policy, Resilience||big-picture climate climate-information economy-sharing energy energy-policy resilience|
|Co-op Investment Network||Co-op Investment Network (CoIN) is an investment group for folks who want to promote cooperatives.||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|
|HOurWorld Co-op||A global listing of time banks, including some in greater Minnesota||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Shareables||A people-powered solutions for the common good||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Ride Sharing||Connecting drivers and passengers for daily and long-distance commutes.||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Couchsurfing||The free shared housing alternative to AirBnB that DOESN’T pull homes off the market for local residents and drive up housing prices||Economy & Sharing, Sharing||economy-sharing sharing|
|Dual Currency Systems||A currency system developed by Minnesota local, Joel Hodroff||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, REconomy||big-picture economy-sharing reconomy|
|Sustainable Economies Law Center||Sustainable Economies Law Center cultivates a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. We provide essential legal tools – education, research, advice, and advocacy – so communities everywhere can develop their own sustainable sources of food, housing, energy, jobs, and other vital aspects of a thriving …||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, Sharing||big-picture economy-sharing sharing|
|Transition Network REconomy Project||Want to change the whole system? Here’s help to make a case for change, build local partnerships and create shared vision and strategy. Examples of important projects and activities that provide support and infrastructure to help new and existing local businesses thrive. Interested in starting a new Transition-oriented livelihood or …||Big Picture, Buy Local, Economy & Sharing, Local Investing, REconomy||big-picture buy-local economy-sharing local-investing reconomy|
|Berkshire Bucks||The local currency for the Berkshires||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|
|Bay Bucks||An alternative currency system operating in the San Francisco Bay area||Big Picture, Buy Local, Economy & Sharing||big-picture buy-local economy-sharing|
|Minnesota Minimalist Meetup||Big Picture, Economy & Sharing, Metro-Wide Resource, Reduce, Rethink, Waste Reduction||big-picture economy-sharing metro-wide-resource reduce rethink wastereduction|
|Fund Milwaukee||Fund Milwaukee aims to foster growth in projects that support our community, our planet, and our investments. Do you have a business that meets these requirements and is open to local investors?||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|
|Circle of Aunts and Uncles||The Media Circle of Aunts & Uncles is a Transition Town Media project, modeled on the Philadelphia version started by Judy Wicks, to offer low-interest loans and social capital to under-resourced new and existing entrepreneurs in order to co-create a more equitable, compassionate, sustainable, and vibrant local economy in the …||Economy & Sharing, Local Investing||economy-sharing local-investing|