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Pollinating Food Enterprises: Creative New Models for Starting, Supporting, and Financing Local Food Business

A “pollinator” is a self-financing enterprise committed to boosting local business. Michael Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution (Chelsea Green, 2015), argues that these enterprises are the keystone of sustainable economic development. 

The current mainstream means to community economic development is to attract large corporate chains to build and stay. Shuman argues that this paradigm is fundamentally misguided, because it overlooks the power and efficiency of locally owned small business. A growing body of evidence underscores that locally owned business can deliver far more economic-development impact—jobs, income, wealth, taxes—than global corporations at a lower cost. In fact, Shuman shows that local economic development might be possible at zero long-term cost, if planners were to take full advantage of an expanding range of business “pollinators.” 

Pollinators carry out all of the basic functions of economic development that are taken on by typical, taxpayer-funded programs, including planning, entrepreneurship training, business partnerships, local purchasing, and local investing. Shuman’s new book shows that pollinators accomplish these functions with far greater efficacy and at a substantially lower cost. The book illustrates the clout of pollinators through 28 case studies, many of which focus on development of local food businesses. 

In this webinar, Shuman will delve deep into this transformational idea on sustainable economic development through food (and other) businesses, sharing some of the best models of food-related pollinators. Linda Best, founder of FarmWorks, a local-food investment fund in Nova Scotia, will present an in-depth case study of one of these models. REGISTER HERE.