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Local Prosperity: New Economics for Rural Canada Regional Conference planned for April 2015

www.localprosperity.ca

(Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia) August 26, 2014. It is widely known that small rural communities in Atlantic Canada are struggling to get by. A group of individuals in Nova Scotia have banded together to organize a regional conference to address the issues with fresh ideas. The conference is entitled Local Prosperity: New Economics for Rural Canada” (localprosperity.ca), and is scheduled for April 9-12, 2015, in Annapolis County.

One of the organizers, Gregory Heming, an Annapolis County municipal councilor and President of the Centre for Local Prosperity, says, “Finding solutions to the increasing economic, social and ecological disintegration of small rural communities may seem difficult, but practical and achievable solutions are possible. There are many examples from which we can draw inspiration.”

Heming is part of a group of individuals from several Nova Scotia communities that have banded together to create the non-profit organization Centre for Local Prosperity, located in Annapolis County. The mission of the Centre is to assist rural Atlantic Canadian communities in initiating self-empowering projects and activities that result in the creation of more prosperous and enlightened communities.

Conference organizers have been keeping abreast of many new projects and ideas initiated in small communities in the region and elsewhere in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. Robert Cervelli, a resident of St. Margarets Bay and one of the conference organizers, says many innovative communities have been successful in meeting the rural challenge. Cervelli says, “The conference will focus on how individuals, businesses and communities can design and then implement a future that is cooperative, compassionate and long-term. We intend to provide an innovative and full tool-box of ideas.”

As one way to advance the learning of valuable new ideas and skills, the conference will also host an Up!Skilling Festival and Expo on its first day. David Wimberly, a conference organizer and resident of St. Margarets Bay, noted that the Festival would be a full day of do-it-yourself skills classes. “We will be providing classroom venues for a wide range of people teaching practical trades, crafts and skills – both heritage and newly emerging,” says David.

The conference will then shift the conversation into high gear as it brings together more than 25 local, national, and international speakers and facilitators with expertise in new models for community economic development.

Conference working sessions will highlight innovative approaches, such as local investment in new community enterprises, shared community resources, community enterprise hubs, complementary currencies, innovative ways to rejuvenate a town’s “main street,” small farms as economic drivers, development of local food infrastructure, adding value to fisheries, rebuilding value from our forests, the importance of arts and culture economy, and ways to stimulate independent retail enterprise.

The conference will be held in an innovative mix of venues in Annapolis County including the Annapolis Royal Regional Academy, recently vacated and seeking a new purpose, and the successfully converted Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Cornwallis now serving as the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre.

“The conference is intended for anyone inspired to revitalize their community,” says Heming, who goes on to list farmers, fishermen, foresters, community leaders, elected representatives, business and industry leaders, small business owners, students, start-up entrepreneurs, agency and association representatives, and local residents.

The conference is being limited to 300 attendees, “in order to create the opportunity for a more intimate dialogue,” says Cervelli, adding, “This will allow for a hands-on experience, and foster a continuing relationship among participants.” Registration opens in mid October.

Organizers of the conference on rural economic development are encouraging early registration. For more information about the conference visit: www.localprosperity.ca

For more information, contact: www.localprosperity.ca

Gregory Heming 902-955-1267 gregoryaheming@gmail.com

Robert Cervelli 902-222-4391 robert.cervelli@gmail.com