This weekend, we drove down to Shelburne to attend a workshop put on by the Centre for Local Prosperity, held at the NSCC School of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Our facilitators were Robert Cervelli and Andrew Horsnell. The topic was Expanding Community Wealth. Import replacement: local institutional procurement.
My interest was to hear directly about the work of the Centre. I was also interested in the opportunity to see a different geography: Shelburne and Yarmouth.
What did I hear? A number of stories, about pilot projects in Atlantic Canada. Specific Nova Scotia examples included the Cape Breton Food Hub, Energize Bridgewater. For import replacement, there were successful models in the UK (Preston, Lancashire) and in the USA (Cleveland). The concept is to replace the demand for goods and services by 10% (or more) by local procurement.
From the report brief:
What local communities can do today?
- start having conversations
- start community import replacement working group
- inventory community assets
- inventory economic leakage and import replacement opportunities
- educate the community about the leakage
- identify roadblocks, and find solutions or creative workarounds
- start with low hanging fruit
- celebrate the real innovators
Examples of local need and local producers included:
Boxing Rock Beer
FoodARC (Food Action Research Centre). Patty Williams at Mount St Vincent University
SASI (Shelburne Association Supporting Inclusion) and Home Services Nova Scotia
By mid-afternoon, the focus was on local procurement in the Shelburne area. This included identification of anchor public sector institutions e.g. NSCC, local schools, Roseway hospital, municipal units and others A second component was the identification of major private sector businesses in the county.
At this point, we did not possess the local knowledge but I recognized that the foundation concept was ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).
Time to take the road from Shelburne. Rather than the 100 series highways (Highway #103 and #101) we went through Ohio, Kemptville, Clare to Weymouth. This was another lesson in local geography.
Looking at the work from Preston, UK, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) produced maps of suppliers by theme and geography. If we were to follow this approach in the municipalities of Shelburne or Annapolis, asset mapping would be essential. The approach would combine the spreadsheets of procurement by the anchor institutions and link the products and services by theme and location. This would allow us to target the best options to reach 10% by import replacement.
One of the messages from Bob Cervelli was Trust, Connect, Collaborate (within the community). A second message was stories/gatherings/initiatives. Within this spirit, there are many opportunities for community innovation – whether in the municipalities of Shelburne, Annapolis or other parts of Nova Scotia. Every region has its share of creative community members as well as its unique geographic assets.
Thanks to Edward Wedler for adding the graphic logos. There is a lot happening in rural Nova Scotia.
Centre for Local Prosperity. centre for local prosperity
Cape Breton Food Hub Cape Breton Food Hub
Energize Bridgewater Energize Bridgewater