When we talk about economy we automatically think “Well, how much money is invested?” The story of local sustainable economic development goes beyond that basic perception of ‘accounting’ at the end of the day. We need a deeper and wider outlook that involves relationships among people, local businesses, the character of a neighborhood, active organizations, core institutions, location, and much more. We must remember that the human and social fabric of a neighborhood incorporates components that are not necessarily estimated in terms of monetary value, however have an economic value.
Let’s take a look at the following example: Earth’s Promise’s local activity where people harvest municipal olive trees in the Gimel neighborhood, which will otherwise be left to rot on the trees. The outcome is the production of olive oil and pickled-olives, which can then generate income. Currently, this activity is not considered economically valuable, however, it is easy to determine the value of the action if we keep track of how much money the olive oil and olives generated. What cannot be measured is the personal bonds that were created during the activity and how many taxes the municipality saved on city gardening services and much more.
When dealing with local actions that advocate for local sustainable economy, we see how community and economic development interact. We recognize that community has a financial value. Many activities of ‘Totzeret Gimel’ are intented to help people to make a conceptual change of how we view our money, how we grasp the concept of economy and most importantly how we deal with corporations that extract money out of our neighborhood and city.
For further reading about Earth’s Promise principals and tools to promote local sustainable economy – Database