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 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…

Community Conversation with Eva Agudelo

Eva Agudelo, founder and executive director of Hope’s Harvest RI, joined Local Return director Jessica David to talk about the importance of a strong local food ecosystem. Hope’s Harvest mobilizes volunteers to recover surplus food from local farms and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies. The organization has expanded rapidly over its three years,…

Community Conversation with Andy Posner

Andy Posner, president and CEO of the Capital Good Fund, joined Local Return board member Jessica David to talk about the lessons he’s learned over 12 years of providing an alternative to predatory payday loans. Capital Good Fund has saved clients an estimated $5.5 million, and borrowers increase their credit scores by an average of…

Guest commentary: The Economic Progress Institute

 For local communities to fully reclaim finance as a tool for generating prosperity, we must remove the obstacle of payday lending. Disproportionately concentrated in majority Black communities, payday lenders like to claim they are providing much-needed funds to people who have no other recourse. This claim is wrong on two counts. First, payday lenders are…

Guest commentary: Jo Detz, ecoRI News

When I read your call to action, I immediately thought of South Providence and the consistent disinvestment in that community, which is bearing the brunt of many polluting businesses along the Port of Providence. There has been much attention to environmental racisism, equity, inclusion, and equitable solutions at the city level with respect to communities…