We will seek to secure accommodations in both a nearby hotel and at a university residence. More details will follow in the near future. In the meantime, if you are interested, please mark your calendars!
Property prices are rising at a faster rate than revenues and the cost of living. Tenants are being evicted from their housing by owners that are transforming their property into condos in order to make even greater profit. Entire neighbourhoods are being gentrified at the expense of local populations and small businesses.
But is this displacement inevitable, or can citizens indeed seize power and ownership and gain the necessary skills to autonomously determine their collective destiny?
This visionary international conference is organised by the citizens of Milton Parc and solidarity economy pioneers and is affiliated with the Milton-Parc Citizens’ Committee (MPCC), which fought for the creation of what is now the largest community housing project on a community land trust in North America. The collective From The Ground Up has been created as a citizen-led educational project to renew our vision and broaden our collective ambitions for community
After various successful events over the last year, we invite you to a three day conference! Speakers from across North America are expected, such as Saki Hall (Cooperation Jackson, Mississippi), Lorena Zarate (President of Habitat International Coalition, Mexico City), Protec-Terre, and the first meeting of a new Canadian network of community land trusts for housing.
Join a conversation to explore how local organizing principles and approaches can contribute to the creation of more sustainable, fair and inclusive economies.
Led by Co-facilitators, Alejandra Bravo and Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, this interactive webinar shares the Power Lab's experience of connecting people and ideas for action to build local economies that strengthen communities and benefit everyone.
Delve into how community economic development organizations might contribute to changing social conditions for your organization’s constituencies and how the people you serve can become a base for action. Understand how to centre equity-seeking groups as primary actors in decision-making and agents of making material gains in their communities.
Alejandra Bravo, Director and Co-Facilitator, Power Lab
As the Director of the, Power Lab, a new leadership learning initiative focused on local organizing for a fair economy co-generated by the Atkinson Foundation and the Broadbent Institute.
Active in the community benefits movement, she supports leaders working to build campaigns and coalitions organizing for economic opportunities for historically disadvantaged and equity-seeking groups. Alejandra contributes to movement building as a facilitator, trainer, mentor and strategist with various social change efforts.
Previously she was Manager of Leadership and Learning at Maytree, where she designed and delivered political and civic training for emerging and diverse leaders. Alejandra has a 25-year history of working for progressive social change with grassroots, immigrant, and labour groups. She has worked as a community organizer, political staff and has been a City Council candidate in Toronto.
Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, Co-Facilitator, Power Lab
Mercedes Sharpe Zayas is a community planner committed to movement building and economic justice in the urban form.
Mercedes has been cultivating her participatory planning practice as the Workforce Planning Coordinator for the Parkdale People’s Economy, a network of over 30 community-based organizations and hundreds of community members organizing towards decent work, shared wealth, and equitable development in Parkdale. She has also worked as a Policy Research Intern at the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Division, a Research Assistant for the Metcalf Foundation’s Inclusive Local Economies Program, and a Graduate Research Assistant with The Public Studio.
In her spare time, Mercedes is the Co-Director of Communications for PODER, a grassroots Latinx feminist organization in Toronto. She holds a Master of Science in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Anthropology from McGill University.
Universities, colleges and institutes can play a much more significant role in the design and construction of much-needed social infrastructure In Canada and globally, including affordable housing, child care centres, women’s shelters and seniors’ care facilities. The most effective and sustainable way to do this is through authentic partnerships with non-profit organizations and community groups that mobilize the necessary local knowledge and public, private and philanthropic resources to implement these complex projects.
As leaders in this work, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Winnipeg have valuable experience and methods to share, to spread information on innovative models and support their replication and adaptation across Canada and the world. Guided by our Moderator, Ted Jackson, our presenters—SFU President Andrew Petter and University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation Managing Director Sherman Kreiner—will address the following key questions:
What kinds of social and green real estate projects are possible?
How can we structure effective community-campus governance and project-management bodies?
What combination of financial instruments and sources can be used to finance social infrastructure?
Webinar participants will be invited to pose their own questions online to the presenters before and during the webinar.
Towards Co-operative CommonWealth is a master class in movement building for a new model of political economy that is sustainable, democratic, and socially just. Offered by the Synergia Institute and Athabasca University, it sets out the practical models and pathways for meaningful systems change at multiple levels. The goal: to better secure our basic needs for land, food, livelihood, social care, energy, finance and more in these increasingly difficult times.
The course is suitable for newcomers to social change work as well as veteran activists, practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers. Individuals on their own and people working for social change through organizations, networks, and movements can leverage the course material and the expertise of the Synergia team to advance their own projects and activist work locally.
The course is offered in two sections: Section 1 is 4 modules over 4 weeks starting March 25th, followed by a 4 week intellectual pause to catch your breath from April 22 till May 20th, and Section 2 starts another 4 Modules from May 20th to June 22.
Following the course, feedback from the Synergia team will be available for three weeks to promote application of course ideas & models to your own projects or work.
*The course is free at the certificate level. The cost of degree accreditation is $269 CAD.
Outline and explain the problematic, and transformative vision.
Discuss emerging food system alternatives and strategies for transitioning to just, sustainable food systems.
Recognize the role of public policy and bottom-up innovation in renewable community energy.
Become familiar with the interplay of assumptions, interests, power, and technology feeding the growing precariousness of livelihoods and the implications for human wellbeing, and to explore emerging sector-, policy-, and place-based alternatives.
Outline the philosophy, rationale, and organizational forms of user-controlled models of health and social care.
Discuss enclosure, and the alternatives of commons and land trusts.
Describe community development finance and co-operative capital raising and their potential to secure democratic and socially directed investment for the common good.
Synthesize key ideas and practices that define systemic transition.
Target Audience: We imagine that if you were attracted to this course, you will be someone who shares our general world view and vision, and wants to broaden and deepen it and join us and others to develop it. That is its principal purpose, but a secondary purpose is to link people and projects that share these views in practical ways. You are likely to be people who are already engaged in social change work in three crucial movements – co-operation, commons, and sustainability. Most are already actively working to make this world view a reality. You may be active in the environmental movement, human or animal rights, social equality and development, the solidarity economy, co-operative finance and alternative currencies; the Transition Movement, permaculture, local food, eco-villages, the digital commons, peer-to-peer and open educational resources, community energy or many others.