Erin Kilmer-Neel believes that we can repair our culture of disconnectedness by strengthening our localized economy. “Money drives so much of what makes the world go ’round that if we are thoughtful about where we spend and save and invest, we can make the world a better place,” she says, describing what she calls “business as a theory of change.” As co-founder of Oakland Grown, Neel works to empower local, independent businesses and encourage the public to divest from the massive, anonymous corporations that have strangleholds on our economy.

There are so many incentives to encourage mass production, unsustainable practices, cheap and alienating labor, and conglomeration that it has become the work of non-profits to counteract those incentives, Kilmer-Neel explains. If we want an economy that is sustainable, that gives owners and workers a stronger sense of ownership and autonomy and gives neighbors a sense of shared space, then we have to bolster the local economy.

Read more at Live Work Oakland.

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