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Vermont New Economy Week Symposium: Investing for the Sake of Climate and Community

What does investing look like in the era of climate change, malfunctioning democracies, and a faltering global economic order? How can I invest in local food systems, or truly local projects in my community, or how do I really get all my money out of fossil fuel investments?” These are questions that Chris Wood, Executive Director of BALE (Building A Local Economy) poses in describing the opportunities that will be discussed and discovered at a half-day conference on Wednesday, October 14 at Vermont Law School (VLS) in South Royalton, Vermont.

Entitled “Investing in the New Economy: Investments for the Sake of Climate and Community,” this public program invites everyone who is seeking ways to put their money where their beliefs are. Community members, next-generation leaders, investors, and businesses will get to consider practical investment strategies as presented by the White River Investment Club, the Vermont Community Loan Fund, the Vermont Food Investor Network and other leaders in the field.

The afternoon event balances expert-led discussions with personal stories of financial transitions and hands-on information from leaders in local, sustainable investing. Gus Speth, noted environmentalist and founder of the New Economy Law Center at VLS, will lead a panel of speakers in framing the need for transformative action and pointing to viable options to accommodate portfolios of all sizes. The symposium will also explore a fossil-fuel free ‘new economy’ and local farm and food investment opportunities.

Marta Ceroni, Executive Director of the Donella Meadows Institute—a co-sponsor of the event, sees “more and more people trying to figure out how to ‘clean up’ their investments from fossil fuels, support local entrepreneurs and diversify their portfolios for higher long-term security. This is their chance to collaborate and hear about the new opportunities available.” Ceroni notes that this program is one of over a dozen events from October 12-18 that comprise New Economy Week in Vermont.

The symposium runs from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m. on October 14th at the Law School’s Chase Center. Light refreshments featuring local products will be served and a cash bar will be available. Registration is required for the event, with a $10 suggested donation. To attend, please RSVP on Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/InvestingintheNewEconomy.

The event is co-sponsored by BALE (Building A Local Economy), Donella Meadows Institute, Slow Money Vermont, Clean Yield Asset Management, Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission, Vermont Law School, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Sustainable Woodstock, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and King Arthur Flour.

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Since its founding in 1996 by environmental leader Donella Meadows, the Donella Meadows Institute has been at the forefront of sustainability thinking and training. We foster a whole-system approach to support young leaders, teams in organizations and communities in their work towards sustainable and equitable solutions. In recent years we have strengthened our focus on systems thinking for the design of sustainable regional economies in Vermont and Northern New England.

BALE (Building A Local Economy) is an organization that provides individuals with the education and skills to build and participate in local economy initiatives that emerge from the creativity of people and communities of the White River Valley. Our strategy is education and providing the tools to help individuals engage in dialogue, education and collaboration to help individuals create a new story of the human-Earth relationship, one that sustains and ceases to deplete the natural world on which we depend.

Clean Yield is an investment advisory firm working exclusively with social investors. Since our founding in 1984, our goal has been to invest to promote a sustainable society while achieving competitive financial returns. Our hallmark is working closely with our clients to ensure that we are responsive to their unique financial requirements and personal values.

Slow Money Vermont is an emerging network that aims to inform, inspire and connect individuals, businesses, philanthropists, and investors interested in building a sustainable local and regional food system and to catalyze new investment opportunities in the people, businesses and communities that contribute to a sustainable food economy. Slow Money Vermont is being organized through a task force connected to Vermont Farm to Plate—the statewide initiative to strengthen the food system. Slow Money Vermont aligns with the state's Farm to Plate goals to increase investments and financial partnerships in food system enterprises.