Valerie Vande Panne

Re-localizing industry, one thing at a time

“An incredible opportunity for domestic manufacturing.” That’s how Mercedes Gonzalez, a director at Global Purchasing Companies, describes an unexpected benefit of COVID-19: With shipments from China facing delays since the outbreak of the pandemic, what was once done overseas is rapidly being done here at home. The shift is revitalizing the once deserted factories, such as in New York City’s once-thriving garment district.

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Capitalism has distorted our understanding of community — and it’s making us vulnerable to manipulation

When we talked about community just a generation or two ago, it was understood we were talking about people, not brands—what they enjoyed or cared about, and not where they spent their money. But the definition of “community” has been hijacked by consumerism.

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Why the fashion industry needs a major sustainability revolution

New York City is the fashion capital of the world. Its streets are peppered with influencers on Instagram photoshoots, its fashion week parties are annual events everyone vies to attend (but never eats at), and its sample sales are so exclusive you need an invitation to attend.

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Out of the ashes of Puerto Rico’s economy emerges a promising currency for all

While the United States has some of the most successful community currencies in use, such as the BerkShare, surprisingly few Americans actually use them or know anything about them outside the communities who use them. In the EU there is a lot of interest in community currency—Spain and England have many, including the Bristol Pound.

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It’s prime time to boycott Amazon

Are you ready to divest from Amazon Prime? How about Whole Foods?

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Why it’s prime time to boycott Amazon

Are you ready to divest from Amazon Prime? How about Whole Foods?

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A moral budget for 2020: Creating a visionary blueprint to end poverty

In 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign, led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, released an agenda addressing systematic poverty in the United States. On June 17, the Poor People’s Campaign along with the Institute for Policy Studies released a “Moral Budget” outlining how the government can not only pay to shift the system to address that agenda—but make a healthier and stronger nation. Indeed, the report also illustrates that continuing our current trajectory is actually more costly than making the shift.

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The surprising success of local currencies reveals the power of small banks

Back in the 1990s, a couple of farmers and a deli owner in Western Massachusetts were denied loans, despite their history of good credit.

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The battle for rights of nature heats up in the Great Lakes

In February, the voters of Toledo, Ohio, passed a ballot initiative that gives Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake’s ecosystem a bill of rights. The idea is to protect and preserve the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it—humans included—can have access to safe, fresh drinking water.

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Tired of spending money on the things you need? Try this

Imagine needing a refrigerator, a child’s car seat, and a stroller. Except you’re broke and have no funds to make a Target or a Walmart run. What do you do?

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