Going local: reclaiming the commons, building resilience with Chris Wood

Video by Local Futures

January 2022

The video : 1:09:14

Local Futures’ second episode of Voices from the Field featured a conversation between Steve Gorelick of Local Futures and Chris Wood, founder of BALE (Building a Local Economy) in South Royalton, Vermont, in the US.

Chris shared his experience starting and organizing The Commons @ BALE, a community space freely available to the entire community and (prior to COVID) used most days of the year. He also spoke about the investment club, community radio station, and COVID mutual aid initiatives that BALE has organized, all under the umbrella of localization and building local resilience. From the details of managing and funding BALE and leasing the space, to sharing reflections on how The Commons has brought people together, this talk is a solid introduction to both the « why » and the « how » of creating a shared space in your community.

This episode was recorded live on Zoom on Thursday, January 13th, 2022.

Chris Wood helped start and is a lead organizer with BALE (Building A Local Economy). In addition to serving on numerous community boards and organizations, Chris has founded or co-founded many nonprofit Vermont organizations over the last several decades. His strength is networking, collaboration, and working with diverse groups/participants to strengthen community goals.

BALE (Building A Local Economy) is a 10-year-old community resource center for local economy initiatives in the White River Valley of Vermont that is intentionally multi-issue in focus and cross-disciplinary in their programmatic work. Their vision is to build a sustainable culture that can foster the economic and ecological capacity in our communities to thrive, even as the external forces of climate disruption – driven by an economy and culture of dominance and systemic scarcity – threatens our very existence as a species. Work is focused on appropriate scale, valuing the commons, and creating community-driven assets. BALE sees its work, along with many other inspiring collaborators, as building new resilient models grounded in a new story of how we live on the Earth.

VOICES FROM THE FIELD is a series of conversations hosted in connection with the Localization Action Guide, featuring people that have hands-on experience with actions that can help build healthy communities, direct democracy and human-scale ecological economies.