What is “SCALE”?

The near collapse of Wall Street in 2008 precipitated a global economic recession that put millions of people out of work and forced local and state agencies into widespread cutbacks. The economic decline also demonstrated just how vulnerable most communities have become. At the same time, mounting evidence of climate change surrounds us, from rapidly melting glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets, to prolonged droughts and other severe weather. And the problems aren't just in the atmosphere: over the past 100 years, the amount of productive land available per capita has shrunk dramatically, from 14 acres per person worldwide to just over 3.5 acres.

Can we simply grow our way out of this, or do we need a new approach, a new vision of prosperity?

SCALE — Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies — combines a new vision for economic prosperity and resilience with tested skills and strategies to help us get there. Based on over 25 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development, SCALE focuses on three core elements:

  • Building diverse, resilient economies at the local and regional level, based on local assets and better meeting local needs

  • Growing local “capital” and wealth, in food and farming and other natural resource-based economic sectors, that also rebuild ecological health

  • Catalyzing networks, of entrepreneurs, farmers, consumers and advocates that accelerate and deepen healthy local economies

The central purpose of SCALE is to catalyze and accelerate economies which increase community wealth and restore or sustain the ecosystem. The services are designed for community leaders, farmers, small businesses and nonprofit practitioners who are engaged in working towards sustainable economic development initiatives.

SCALE offers the following Consulting services:

  • Facilitating the process of generating ideas, setting priorities and launching initiatives

  • Identifying community assets, gaps and needs, and building local capacity

  • Technical assistance in organic and sustainable farming, season extension and farmer training

  • Building more localized, healthy food systems, including farmers markets, CSAs, restaurant marketing networks

  • Development of "field to table" value chains for healthy food systems, forest products and other natural resource based economies

Some of SCALE’s recent clients include the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Iowa), Sustainable Edible Economic Development (Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin), Farm to Table (New Mexico), the Central Appalachian Network (five state organization in central Appalachia), Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, VA, blue moon fund, Charlottesville, VA, and the New Appalachian Farm and Research Center (West Virginia).