January / February, 2015 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


Welcome to the first edition of the Newsletter for 2015. A new year always brings a burst of creativity and innovation and hopefully the Newsletter assists in capturing some of this energy by local communities and their community builders,  as well as some of the plans for a number of amazing knowledge, skill sharing and networking events in 2015. 
For the month of January, we would like to recognise David Wilson as our Global Community Builder Giraffe Award recipient. David is a Kiwi and hails from Oamaru, Aotearoa, New Zealand.  He is the founder and director of Heritage Futures International and, over the past thirty years David has worked with hundreds of communities and organisations from the local to international level promoting culture-led, community and economic renewal. David is a community innovator who passionately advocates that, in our rapidly changing world, the future is local, and that all dimensions of heritage, (natural, cultural, tangible, intangible and spiritual) are at the heart of the sustainable development equation. He emphasises that preserving cultural heritage assets (unique customs, traditions, language, food, clothing and art) enables important aspects of the past to be identified, protected, and managed for present and future generations, and that nations and communities that have a strong sense of identity contribute positively to employment, economic growth, environmental sustainability, social cohesion, the acceptance and encouragement of diversity, and creative thinking. Thank you David for your amazing and unique contribution to local community and economic development. 
We hope you enjoy the words and wit of Mark Twain that pepper this edition of the Newsletter.
Finally, let us start the new year with the words, humour and optimism of Oprah Winfrey – "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!"
Go well.
Peter Kenyon  (Director)                    
Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)

Dave Wilson receiving his Giraffe Award on a recent assignment in the UAE with Peter Kenyon.

New Subscribers

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In total, the Newsletter is now subscribed to by 11591 people in 107 different countries.


Deepening Community: Collective Impact with Paul Born, Australian & NZ Workshop Tour

Paul Born of the Tamarack Institute in Canada will be visiting Australia and New Zealand from 25 February to 12 March, 2015.  He will facilitate a series of workshops in capital cities entitled "Deepening Community for a Collective Impact".  Do not miss this opportunity to workshop with a global guru in the fields of community building and collective impact.  The workshop is being auspiced by Bank of IDEAS, the Tamarack Institute and local partners. Click here to download the brochure.
Click here to register.

ABCD & the Art of Hosting Workshop - Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, NSW

The Jeder Institute will be hosting two workshops on ABCD and the Art of Hosting Workshops on the 6 and 17 February at the Family Action Centre. Learn how Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a powerful approach to community work that focuses on discovering and mobilising the resources already present in a community. Also explore how facilitating interactive workshops and group processes is good sense when bring stakeholders together to create innovative solutions. For more information and to register click here

Food Matters Aotearoa Conference

Speaking Tour, 9-20 Feb 2015 in major Cities, New Zealand
Conference, 14-15 Feb 2015, Te Papa, Wellington
Food really does matter, especially when it comes to addressing the problems of an increasingly vulnerable global system. This Conference invites you to hear speakers with different indigenous and international perspectives on solutions to the challenges we face. Speakers include - Prof. Don Huber, Dr Vandana Shiva, Prof. G-E Seralini, Prof. Gu Xiulin, Jerome Douzelet, Bob Mackley – all of whom are considered experts in their fields of - modern agriculture; agroecology; food safety; policy development; ecosystem sustainability and seed biodiversity. Click here for more information and to register.

SAVE THE DATE: “Power to the People” Conference - 2015


This unique Australian national conference, organised jointly between BOI and the Municipal Association of Victoria will be held 26-27 August, 2015 with Cormac Russell from ABCD Europe as one of the keynote presenters.

Return Visit of Jim Diers in 2015

It is a privilege to have the community enthusiast Jim Diers back in Australia from 26 May – 6 June. Jim is a brilliant communicator about why community matters. To appreciate this, click here to view his wonderful blog.
If you would be interested in having Jim in your community as a presenter or workshop facilitator, contact Peter Kenyon (  Click here to view a flyer.

The ABARES Outlook Conference, 3-4 March, 2015, Canberra

The ABARES Outlook conference is the leading forum in Australia for public and private sector decision makers to discuss the key domestic and global issues for Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. Click here to view the program and website.

Courage to Lead Retreats, Shoalwater, WA

In this retreat, skilled facilitators help create a quiet, focused, and disciplined space—a circle of trust—in which the noise within us and around us can subside and we can begin to hear our own inner voice. The next Courage to Lead Retreat is being held from 5pm Friday 13th – 2pm Sunday , 15th March 2015. The theme for March is: Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation. Click here for more details.

ABCD Festival, June 2015

As many of you will be aware, in 1995 John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann convened a circle of friends to help them establish the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University in Illinois. The work of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann spans over forty years, and the establishment of the ABCD Institute builds on that work and their research. Supporters of ABCD believe it is time to have an international celebration, and thus the creation of the ABCD Festival. This celebration will be held from the 15 - 19 June, 2015 in the village of Ribby Hall (Preston, UK) where the participants will create their own community/village. This will be an event not to miss. Plan to be there! The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. is exploring the organisation of a study tour of interesting UK community building initiatives incorporating the Conference. Let Peter Kenyon know if you may be interested. ( Click here to download the flyer.

People, Places & Partnerships: Creating liveable and lovable places

The biggest joint industry event of 2015. The International Cities, Town Centres and Communities Society (ICTC) together with Mainstreet Australia invite you to join them at their joint conference in 2015. The 15th ICTC Conference and 5th National Mainstreet Australia Conference will be held at Novotel Wollongong from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 July 2015.
Aims of the Conference:
  • Provide practical international case studies for analysis – lessons learnt and practical take-away examples.
  • Discuss the latest global developments in urban design, place making, retail, planning, development, main street marketing and management, project management and sustainability.
  • Mix with professionals from varying backgrounds in a true cross-disciplinary event.
  • Provide access to and leverage from the experience of national and international specialists.
Click here for more information.

8th Making Cities Liveable Conference, Melbourne

2015 will be the 8th Annual Conference, continuing support for improving the quality of life in Australia’s capitals and major regional cities. It will be held at Hilton on the Park, Melbourne from the 6th - 7th July 2015. The focus continues on healthy, sustainable, resilient cities. This year’s conference theme is Liveable Cities for the Future. The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc, a 'not-for-profit' organisation. Click here for more information.

 Rural & Small Town  Development 

“Country things are the necessary root of our life - and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.”
(Esther Meynell)

Great Question

“Why does no one speak of the cultural advantages of the country? For example, is a well groomed, ecologically kept, sustainably fertile farm any less cultural, any less artful, than paintings of fat angels on church ceilings?” 
(Gene Logsdon, Living at Nature's Pace: Farming and the American Dream)

Saving Small Towns

Ian Kenins is a writer who has written extensively on Small Town Australia. Click here to read his latest article in the Age Newspaper, focussed on the small Victorian town of Nyah West. The article captures well the challenges and the debate about supporting small communities.

Small Town of Merino, Victoria

Click here to read the pride of one small Australian town of 182 residents who reject the fatalistic pessimism view about small communities as expressed in the article above from the Age Newspaper.

Building Local Leadership Capacity

FRRR (Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal) is an Australian organisation offering small, discretionary grants with both a national reach and local focus and is informed by place-based approaches to community development. FRRR has released the first in a series of five webinars and YouTube clips now available to help community groups build local leadership capacity. Worth checking out.

Renewing Our Countryside


This is a most interesting US organisation which aims to strengthen rural areas by highlighting the initiatives and projects of rural communities, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, and activists. Click here to visit their website. For any rural developer, their newsletter is worth subscribing to. 

 Community Building 



 "The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbour."
(Hubert H. Humphrey)

Penland, School of Crafts, North Carolina

Penland is a residential school that offers a diversity of programs that engage the human spirit as is expressed throughout the world in craft. Penland is a stimulating, transformative, egalitarian place where people love to work, feel free to experiment, and often exceed their own expectations. Penland’s beautiful location and historic campus inform every aspect of its work. Penland's educational philosophy is based on these core ideas:total-immersion workshop education is a uniquely effective way of learning; close interaction with others promotes the exchange of information and ideas between individuals and disciplines; and generosity enhances education - Penland encourages instructors, students and staff to freely share their knowledge and experience. 
To learn more, view   
Thank you Sayed Nour for this link. 

Rochelle School - Workspace for Creative Industries and its Community Charter

This amazing arts development initiative is worth checking out....what we love is its "Community Charter", click here to view.

Council Amalgamations

Conservative governments in Western Australia and NSW continue their campaign to drive bigger local governments without any evidence that it will achieve benefits. In fact, to the contrary, past evidence highlights the loss of social capital without the gain of the so called economic benefits. Click here to read a useful summary by one of Australia's leading authorities on local government amalgamation. 

‘How painting can transform communities’

Click here to read about and view an inspiring TED talk with a simple but powerful bottom-up initiative at its heart.
(Thanks to TED for the photo).

How to Build Community
Thanks to MAD Consulting for sharing this magnificent statement on building community.

 Localism & Social  Connection 

"When an old culture is dying, the new culture is born from a few people who are not afraid to be insecure."
(Rudolf Bahro)

Behind the Design of Seattle’s Library

Click here to view a fantastic TED Talk about people and space - socially responsive architecture, and really out-of-the-box way of thinking about designated uses for buildings. Thanks to Kate Fitzgerald for sharing this link.

‘Refugee's Rooftop Garden Helps Feed Kings Cross Homeless’

Click here to read a great story highlighting the power of passion, and how the best assets can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

(Photo by James Brickwood, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald).

Jim Diers - Building Better Government / Community Partnerships

Jim is certainly one of the globe's best presenters on the theme of "Building Government / Community Partnerships". To view him in action, click here to check out the You Tube produced by Inspiring Communities in New Zealand.   Click here for further elaboration on Jim's ideas.

A Mixed Dozen Comes to Lunch

Click here to view a simple but powerful story of community building that has come about as a result of Mixed Dozen - the community meals initiative.

Suitcase Retail

Community Solutions based in Mandurah has instigated a range of fascinating community initiatives. Instrumental in supporting local street parties, we love one simple ingredient, namely the opportunity for local people developing a home based enterprise to sell their wares from a suitcase for $5 as part of the market environment.

"Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places" 

Many of us benefitted greatly from the visit of Peter Kageyama to Australia last year. Following the widespread success of his first book "For the Love of Cities", his latest book "Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places" builds upon the central premise that love of place matters, with more examples from all over the world and practical steps that community leaders, both official and unofficial, might use to kick start the process in their city. Available from most booksellers.


 Local Economic  Development 

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
(Oprah Winfrey)

‘Christmas Cheer for Sacked Turkey Workers Comes in the Form of a Co-op’

Click here to read an excellent article on a new coop project in regional South Australia aimed at saving the jobs of workers who have lost their jobs as a result of a ‘plant closure’, as well as the livelihoods of those farmers who were supplying produce to the plant. Thanks to Alan Greig for this link.

The New Rules of Entrepreneurship


Looking for a great read to begin 2015? Click here to check out the short, powerful eBook by Cory Miller, iThemes Founder - "The New Rules of Entrepreneurship" - His aim is to challenge how we think and act as entrepreneurs. And it is free!


The BOI are big fans of the Spacecubed Project led by Brodie McCulloch in Perth. Click here to check out a summary of their impressive achievements for 2014.


The Secret to Gary Vaynerchuk's Success

 "The reason I became successful is because I touched. I touched my community."
Social-media maven and author of Crush It! and The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk stated that the source of his success - "It was the 10 to 15 hours a day from 2006 to 2009 that I spent communicating via email and then later on through twitter and Facebook...I responded to every single person. I think that matters."
Click here to watch a video with Gary Vaynerchuk.

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." (Mark Twain)

ILO: Promoting youth employment through activation strategies

The ILO working paper “Promoting Youth Employment Through Activation Strategies” provides an overview of the main features of youth activation strategies around the world. It covers strategies implemented in 33 selected countries from different regions with a view to contributing to the discussion on the emerging approach of activation strategies as a tool to tackle the youth employment challenge. It provides an overview of the main features of these strategies and attempts to conduct a preliminary assessment of what works and what does not in their implementation. Click here to view.


Heywire is a place for young people to share stories, ideas and opinions putting young Australians at the centre of the conversations that shape their communities. This fantastic initiative has been running for 17 years, collected over 9,000 stories of young people and, in 2014 gave out $100,000 in youth grants. Heywire is a fantastic resource for young Australians. Click here to learn more.


 Food / Community  Agriculture 

“It is difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."
(Lewis Grizzard)

Sydney to Feature Eyre Peninsula Products

Eyre Peninsula products will be showcased at a group of high end Sydney restaurants early next year in an effort to keep building the Eyre Peninsula food brand. The campaign is part of the Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula's Food and Beverage Ambassador Program. The Ambassador Program includes in-market and in-region marketing and promotional activity for the Eyre Peninsula Brand program and participating businesses. For more details, click here to view the article from the Port Lincoln Times.

Farmhouse Direct

Farmhouse Direct is an Australian virtual marketplace developed to bring farmers and producers together with their buyers, allowing customers to buy direct from the person who grows or makes the product. To keep it real, they do not act as a warehouse or middleman -  they just connect consumers  direct to their  favourite producers who fulfill your order direct from their farm. Click here to learn more.

Top 10 Lessons from the Farm to School Summit

The ‘Farm to School’ Summit held in Aurora, Nebraska in November, 2014  was a very successful event. Participants learned a host of things to help move ‘Farm to School’ forward. To see the ten lessons, click here to view an article from the Center for Rural Affairs, USA.


Healthy Corner Stores Network
The Healthy Corner Stores Network in North America supports efforts to increase the availability and sales of healthy, affordable foods through small-scale stores in underserved communities. Anyone interested in food access can be a member. The network includes more than 600 members from all over North America. Click here to learn more.  Thanks to Local Food News [] for the link.

 Leadership & Personal  Development 

Some words of wisdom and inspiration for  leaders worth reflecting upon from Mark Twain...
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals."
(Melody Beattie)

"We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.” (Ellen Goodman)

Did you know...

Reading while on holiday is not a new phenomenon. The Romans had 'travel scrolls' packed into string bags; in the sixth century, St Benedict of Nursia prescribed that his order of monks take a book with them whenever they went on a journey; and Abdul Kassem Ismael, the 10th-century Grand Vizier of Persia, travelled with 400 camels following him, each in alphabetical order, to bear his library of 117,000 books. (Source, Why do we read on holiday? The Telegraph). Thanks to Linkwest for this article.

‘Impact 25 Revealed - The Not for Profit Sector’s Most Influential People in 2014’

Click here to read an article by ProBono Australia on the results of a poll conducted to find the top 25 leaders in the not-for-profit sector - an inspiring list of leaders.

Seven Ways to Build Partnership Bridges in 2015

We live in a relationship driven society. This short article by Michelle McGrath provides some simple truths about building partnerships. Click here to view.

Sustainable   Development 

‘If we each take responsibility in shifting our own behaviour, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for our race or this planet. We change our planet, our environment, our humanity every day, every year, every decade, and every millennia’.
(Yehuda Berg)

Beautiful Solutions

Beautiful Solutions is an interactive online space for sharing the stories, solutions and big ideas needed to build new institutional power and point the way toward a just, resilient, and democratic future. A fantastic resource.  Click here to have a look.

‘It’s happening - energy generation worldwide is changing’

Click here to read a short but exciting article on the worldwide shift slowly taking place in the energy sector.

 Social Development  


“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

(Nelson Mandela)

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” (Mark Twain)

Interesting statistic…

People Living with Disabilities
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that more than a billion people are living with some form of disability. This amounts to approximately 15% of the world’s population.

‘All Are My Children: Voices of Ugandan Women Peacebuilders’

This is the title of a recently released book by Jennifer Ball, best known for her amazing work utilising the ‘Circles’ tool in facilitation. This book is the result of her PhD research and fulfills a commitment to these women to get their stories out into the world beyond academia. Click here for more information.

 Inspirational People &  Stories 

Cartoon by Simon Kneebone

Saul Alinksy

Jim Diers often reminds us of that wonderful statement by the famous community organiser, Saul Alinsky who once said – "There are two kinds of power - the power of money, and the power of people, and if you don't have much money, you better have lots of people."

Adam Smith: The Real Junk Food Project

Click here to read about the Leeds cafe that has fed 10,000 people, using 20 tonnes of unwanted food – and started a worldwide movement. A very inspiring story.

Caption: Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project in Armley, Leeds (The Real Junk Food Project)

Pope’s Great Use of Illustration

Pope Francis used his pre Christmas address to the Vatican hierarchy to continue his relentless attack on its mismanagement and corruption. His use of illustration is priceless. He said the Vatican was riven with "existential schizophrenia", "social exhibitionism", "spiritual Alzheimer's" and a lust for power, all of which have led to an "orchestra that plays out of tune". Click here to view more of the ABC news item.


"Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
(Mark Twain)

Some Christmas Humour

For anyone who missed a laugh at Christmas, check out these cartoons. Thanks to Peter Palmer for sharing.

Wit of Mark Twain

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."
"Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed."
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” 
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
"When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

This clever shopping centre Christmas musical should bring a smile to your face. Click here to view. Thanks to Gerry Osborn from Nebraska for sharing.

New Year's Resolution
"My New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." (James Agate)


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