Spring 2015


...Building a Storytelling Collaborative

A Project of Capital Institute

Coming Soon...

An Exciting New Initiative

In June, we will be announcing a new project that takes the  Field Guide to a deeper, more active, and longer-term engagement with a regenerative enterprise.  Please stay tuned!

Sierra Gorda (Mexico) Sunset by Roberto Pedraza Ruiz
Observing Theory in Practice

Capital Institute's recently released white paper, Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Principles and Patterns Will Shape Our New Economy, articulates a theoretical framework of the emerging Regenerative Economy.  It also explores how that framework shows up in the real world.  The paper delineates eight principles as inseparable facets of a regenerative whole.  Nonetheless, we find that certain of those principles tend to dominate the narrative as each Field Guide story unfolds.


P6 Cooperative Trade Movement


In our story of the P6 Cooperative Trade Movement, the 7th Regenerative Principle (Robust Circulatory Flow) is clearly the standout.  P6 is a national network of food-based cooperatives that is building an ever-more-intricate web of knowledge, expertise, and mutual support with the goal of strengthening the international supply chain for small-scale producers, and of creating a more just and healthy food system.  P6 promotes the coop model as a way to achieve scale while remaining values-based.  Jane Jacobs, who once said,  "It's not how big you grow, it's how you grow big," would be nodding her approval.

Bendigo Community Bank Model


Jane would also have applauded the Bendigo Community Bank model.  This unusual hybrid cooperative/franchise banking business is another example of Robust Circulatory Flow--in Bendigo's case it is financial capital, as well as knowledge and business acumen that is circulating--in over 300 communities across Australia.


What we also observe about the Bendigo model is the way the parent bank thoughtfully implements the 8th Regenerative Principle (Seeks Balance) as it attempts to be supportive of its far-flung community banking entities, while setting them free to chart their own course at the grassroots level.  As Sam Moore, Director of Bendigo Community Bank Model Development, says: "Every community decides what is important for them.  Bendigo provides a path that the community can walk down but does not deliver a way to walk down that path."

Aldo Leopold Foundation


For the third story in our "Doors of Perception" series we spoke with Buddy Huffaker, director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and to three former Foundation interns.  Leopold's definition of conservation--"serving community productivity"--suggests an implicit appreciation of the power of our 6th Regenerative Principle (Edge Effect Abundance).  "Edges" occur in nature at the boundaries of two habitats.  Edges teem with vitality and biodiversity--for example, where a wetlands abuts farmland.  We are sure that Leopold would have said that these same "edgy" conditions that foster innovation can be nurtured to good effect along ideological boundaries.  If he were alive today we are certain that Leopold would, for example, encourage orthodox environmentalists and the new "ecomodernists" to join forces and together innovate the solutions to our twin economic and ecological crises. 

Grupo Ecologico Part II

A hemisphere away from Leopold's home in Wisconsin, in Mexico's Sierra Gorda, Grupo Ecologico is also demonstrating what can be accomplished when Edge Effect Abundance is intentionally cultivated.  In the second part of our story on this renowned not-for-profit, Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo explains how Grupo Ecologico works creatively with governmental entities, NGOs, and local farmers to put in place funding mechanisms that enable small landowners to rise above their impoverished circumstances and become stewards of one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.  Grupo Ecologico has translated this inspiring story into Spanish so that we could share it more widely.


- Susan Arterian Chang, Director of the Field Guide

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