Over the past 20 years so much has changed in this country. Major deregulation of banking and trade laws have removed restrictions on corporate monopolies. Now commercial banks have merged with securities brokers and insurance giants, and during the bailout chaos, smaller companies and countless individuals were forced into bankruptcy. The perfect climate for the recipients of bailout funds to buy up the losers forfeit for pennies on the dollar.

The US signed into the North American Free Trade Agreement [12/17/1992], the World Trade Organization [1/1/1995], and many similar pacts in the effort to promote world peace, end poverty, and build a stronger global economy.

 

What the WTO can do:

1)   cut living costs and raise living standards

2)   settle disputes and reduce trade tensions

3)   stimulate economic growth and employment

4)   cut the cost of doing business internationally

5)   encourage good governance

6)   help countries develop

7)   give the weak a stronger voice

8)   support the environment and health

9)   contribute to peace and stability

10) be effective without hitting the headlines

Regardless of the idealism that was used to spew rhetoric to the masses, using high-powered marketing strategies, that these world-changing decisions were being made to make the world a better place for everyone, the core fact is that any law can be manipulated and used to promote self interest.

Curious about Land Trusts as a possible avenue for the BMR, I stumbled accross this Equity Trust and found some inspiring stories about other communities making a difference in the world.

Equity Trust is a small, national non-profit organization committed to changing the spirit and character of our material relationships. We help communities to gain ownership interests in land and other local resources, and we work with people to make economic changes that balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the community, the earth, and future generations.

The Woodland Community Land Trust operates in an impoverished Appalachian community in northeastern Tennessee, where access to land and political and economic power has been tightly controlled by a few major extractive companies. For almost forty years, Woodland and its sister organizations, Woodland Community Development Corporation and Clearfork Community Institute, have acquired 450 acres of land and become involved in housing construction, permaculture, small business development, and education, attempting to accumulate sufficient land and skills to build a sustainable community.

Equity Trust first made a loan to Woodland CLT back in 1997 to help purchase 164 acres of strip-mined land that Woodland wanted to save from further destruction. Since then several more loans have been made, enabling Woodland to purchase a building to house its office and community center; to secure land for housing, agriculture, and aquaculture purposes; and to acquire homes for the CLT.

A hundred million castaways, lookin’ for a home…

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Seems I never noticed, being alone

A hundred million castaways

Lookin’ for a home…”

Locavore Farms, located in Modoc County near Fort Bidwell, situated on the Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation, posted an advertisement for a lease/share cropper manager for 37 acres of pasture land with livestock on the property. The owner, or lessee, of the property wishes to focus fulltime on the environmental education program development for the community.

I hope to move to California in December of 2015, and from what I’ve learned so far about this community, this would be the perfect starting place to begin the heavy road work toward building the Beautiful Minds Ranch community.

From the advertisement, I learned that the peoples of this community care deeply about the land and how each action effects the rest of the world. The nearby town is said to be home to a “supportive community of young families and others who are very interested in homesteading, permaculture, food justice, and making this area a healthy and wonderful place for everyone.”

 

This descresionary opportunity category rates points for green building initiatives; sustainable alternative energy production; water conservation and waste water treatment planning;  proximatey of housing to job location; access to health services, and other businesses.  Creating jobs and job training programs for low to below moderate income families, at risk youth and transitioning young adults, as well as invdividuals with mobility challenges and social disadvantage.

Posted Date: 8/4/15  Closing Date: 9/3/15