The School of Professional & Continuing Studies graduate program in Nonprofit Studies, in collaboration with the University of Richmond Global Environment Speaker Series and Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, are pleased to welcome Anthony Flaccavento, organic farmer, author, and sustainable economies consultant and advocate, to Richmond to discuss his latest book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change.

Flaccavento is an organic farmer near Abingdon, Va., in the heart of Central Appalachia. He has been working on community environmental and economic development in the region for the past 27 years. In 1995, he founded Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), which became a regional and national leader in sustainable economic development. He left ASD in 2009 and founded SCALE, Inc. (Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies), a private consulting business dedicated to catalyzing and supporting ecologically healthy regional economies and food systems.

Michael Shuman, author of Local Dollars, Local Sense, writes of Flaccavento, “The field of local economy has some great practitioners, great thinkers, and great writers, but rarely can one find all those skills in one person. Anthony Flaccavento is that one-in-a-million talent. We should thank the locavore Gods that he’s on our side.”

Flaccavento frames the problem of local, sustainable economies this way: “Thousands of people are building better economies and communities right where they live. But local action alone simply is not enough. To bring these alternatives to scale, we need a mass movement for an economy that serves people, builds broadly based prosperity, preserves community, and restores rather than degrades the ecosystem.”

Flaccavento's experience and background in four distinct areas enables him to help make linkages required to support and sustain such a mass movement:

  • Thirty years of on-the-ground experience in designing, testing, building and managing innovative enterprises and initiatives.
  • Communications and media experience ranging from articles in small town papers to op-eds and articles in major media outlets, journals and books.
  • Political experience, including his run for US Congress in 2012 in Virginia’s 9th District.
  • More than twenty years as a small scale, commercial organic farmer in southwest Virginia.

Flaccavento's talk will address his latest book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change. In the book, Flaccavento introduces readers to innovators who are creating thriving, locally based economies and provides a road map for others who are interested in doing the same. He demonstrates that true and lasting change of this type stalls without the appropriate discussion and implementation of public policies that define their lasting impact. He shows how active citizens can spur essential changes, generate community capital, increase civic dialogue, and foster sustainability efforts.

The talk will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 12-1:30 p.m., in Multi-Faith Room 100 of the Wilton Center on the University of Richmond campus. The event is free and open to the public and requires online registration.

The event is hosted by the Nonprofit Studies program of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies with support from the Global Environment Speaker Series and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.