It must have been somewhere around 1986, in the early days of my business, that I first encountered the work of Paul and Sarah Edwards, gurus to the home-based business sector that was just beginning to take off back then. I’ve been home-based since I founded my company in 1981, so their message resonated.
I’ve been corresponding with Paul recently, and am very excited by something they’re into now: Offering the “Elm Street” economy as an alternative to both Wall Street and Main Street.
Elm Street, in most communities, is typically in a residential neighborhood. In Northampton, Massachusetts (the closest Elm Street to my house), it’s a graceful, tree-lined boulevard of large Victorian-era homes.
As Paul and Sarah Edwards describe it, an Elm Street economy is also firmly rooted in sustainability, at multiple levels:
It’s a local economy, composed of locally-owned and locally-financed enterprises, industries, and independent practitioners who are invested in bringing long-term well-being to all living there, including nature. It’s focus is on working together to create dependable, environmentally sustainable way of life that bring basic services, products, and resilience back to our local communities.
Be it in a city neighborhood, a suburban sub-division, a small town or rural community, the Elm Street Economy is coming to life. It may look a little different from locale to locale, with urban Elm Street communities growing food on rooftops instead of backyards, for example, but wherever they might be located, they can flourish due to values and characteristics symbolized in this logo.
• Local production of food, renewable energy and goods.
• Local development of commerce, government and culture.
• Reduction of consumption while improving environmental and social
• Being an exemplary working model for other communities when the effects
of decline of the existing economy and our natural resources becomes more
In short, very much aligned with the values I’ve been espousing for years, in this blog, in my books, in my speeches, and elsewhere.
The Edwards’ vision of the Elm Street economy, and their analysis, go far deeper than what I’ve quoted here. Go and read it.