BALLE Conference will `connect the dots` with emerging movements to build strong, local, green businesses and communities

Final Early Bird Deadline Ends April 23 The new economy is being shaped at the grassroots level in local communities around North America. This May, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is bringing together a national community of the business owners and thought leaders creating that meaningful economic change. Hundreds of socially responsible entrepreneurs, business network leaders, economic developers, sustainability experts, and local government and community leaders will gather at the 8th Annual BALLE Business Conference to explore new practices in growing community health and wealth and share tested models for social entrepreneurship and local economic development. The conference, themed 'Lighting the Way to a New Economy,' will include 100 speakers, 10 plenary and 24 breakout sessions, an intensive pre-workshop, 3 'living economy' tours, and a variety of networking and social events. It runs Thursday, May 20 to Sunday, May 23 in Charleston, SC. Participants are leaders in emerging movements like green jobs, community capital and 'slow money,' sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, independent retail, local manufacturing, and local arts and culture. 'What makes the BALLE conference unique is the ability to connect the dots with thought leaders and practitioners from all of these movements in one place,' says BALLE executive director Michelle Long. 'What's more, we showcase how the learning from these movements can be integrated within the context of place -- in the 80 cities and towns where BALLE networks are transforming their communities using the power of locally owned, independent, sustainable business.' 'Every month, we hear from dozens of communities looking to replicate the economic and community-building successes of local business alliances throughout North America. Local entrepreneurs are the bedrock of our economy, and as local businesses work together, they are empowering communities to build lasting community health and wealth -- from the bottom up,' said Michael Shuman, research and economic development director and author of The Small-Mart Revolution and Going Local. Plenary Speakers include:
  • Lyle Estill, Piedmont Biofuels and author of Small is Possible
  • Jennifer Buffett, NoVo Foundation
  • India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation and the Cleveland Evergreen Cooperatives
  • Eric Henry, TS Designs and Cotton of the Carolinas
  • Woody Tasch, Slow Money Alliance
  • Annie Leonard, filmmaker of The Story of Stuff
  • Ben Burkett, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
  • Marjorie Kelley, Tellus Institute and author of The Divine Right of Capital
  • Lily Yeh, The Village of Arts and Humanities and Barefoot Artists
  • David Orr, Oberlin College and author of The Nature of Design
  • Judy Wicks, co-founder of BALLE and founder of White Dog Café
  • Leslie Christian, Upstream21 and Portfolio21
  • Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona
  • Mark Albion, Net Impact and author of The Good Life
  • Glenda Humiston, California Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Program Topics include:

  • Increasing the Success of your Triple Bottom Line Business
  • Local Living Economy Business Models: Community Capital, Green Building, Sustainable Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing
  • Sustainable Economic Development
  • Building a Thriving Local BALLE Network
  • Harnessing Community Capital
  • Think Local First Campaigns and Tools
  • The Power of Business Cooperation

Regular conference rates are: general registrants: $515 through April 23, $565 from April 24 through the conference; BALLE Network Leaders: $465 through April 23, $515 from April 24 through the conference. Walk-ins welcome at onsite registration. Full conference information can be found at: ABOUT BALLE The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is North America's fastest growing network of socially responsible businesses, comprised of over 80 community networks representing 22,000 independent business members across 30 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. BALLE networks create local living economies through the building blocks of independent retail, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, green building, local zero-waste manufacturing, community capital, independent media, and local arts and culture. Founded in 2001, BALLE works to foster vibrant communities, a healthy natural environment, and prosperity for all. MEDIA NOTES Conference presenters and BALLE leaders are available for pre-conference interviews by phone. Conference passes are available for credentialed media. 

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