Community Conversation with LUNA Community Care

“When people are neurodivergent they’re often forced to think in a way that’s very normative, which can be very harmful,” said Casey Gallagher, “so we really want to create a space and support programming for individuals to be themselves and celebrate neurodivergent joy.”  Casey and Tara Boulais co-founded LUNA Community Care to provide programs and support…

Community Conversation with Lanre Ajakaiye

Lanre Ajakaiye is president and CEO of 25 Bough Street Development. He is also the first person in Rhode Island to do a Regulation CF crowdfunding campaign, a fundraising strategy made possible by the JOBS Act of 2012 which allows non-accredited investors to contribute.  “It’s a pathway for unlocking the community and the network, and…

Community Conversation with John Santos and Philip Trevvett

Are you a member of Urban Greens Food Co-op, the consumer-owned grocery store located on Cranston Street in Providence? Perhaps you’re a stock holder. Or maybe you’re just wondering why Urban Greens never ran out of toilet paper early in the pandemic. Urban Greens opened its doors in the summer of 2019, after years of…

Community Conversation: Dulari Tahbildar

The rest of the economy relies upon the childcare industry, and yet it’s undervalued, under-compensated, and disrespected. Dulari Tahbildar helps the 350+ family childcare providers in Rhode Island who are members of SEIU 1199 obtain professional development and training. She hears over and over “that family childcare providers do not want to be treated as…

Community Conversation with Karen Figueroa and Pam Jennings

“It’s giving people real power over the money and decisions that impact their community under the assumption that it’s the people that use those spaces and are walking the streets and in the schools every day that…have a pretty good knowledge of what changes and what things they would like to see happen.” This, says…

Community Conversation with Shannon Brawley & Shayna Cohen

“The biggest issue facing our industry is the lack of individuals coming into the industry,” Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association Executive Director Shannon Brawley told our board member Sue AnderBois. “And we have such an increasing demand for our services, for our products, as we navigate climate change, as we navigate issues around food…

Community Conversation with Diane Lynch and Nessa Richman

Building wealth and resilience requires a true ecosystem approach. Beyond individual programs or entities, we must understand how factors and players interact with one another.  Local Return director Josh Daly sat down with two experts at systems-level work. Nessa Richman is network director and Diane Lynch is chair of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council,…

Community Conversation with Chloe Chassaing

Cooperative fans and caffeine aficionados rejoiced when White Electric Coffee at 711 Westminster Street reopened in May. Over the past year, a group of former employees from Providence’s beloved coffee shop formed the worker-owned CUPS Cooperative and purchased the business from the former owner.  Worker-owner Chloe Chassaing joined Local Return directors Raul Figueroa and Josh Daly to…

Community Conversation with Dr. Michael Fine

“I think a lot about the Old Testament and the ten plagues. For me, Moses was the first and best community organizer.” This is the kind of thing that comes up when two community organizers get together.  Local Return director (and community organizer) Raul Figueroa sat down with family physician, author, and long-time organizer Dr.…

Community Conversation with Jazandra Barros

“It’s really amazing to me to see how much folks are growing sometimes on very small pieces of land,” noted Jazandra Barros, Community Outreach Coordinator for Southside Community Land Trust.  SCLT would know. They’ve been around for 40 years, building infrastructure for urban gardens and farms. Jazandra spoke with Local Return director Sue AnderBois about…