Local rising: Register for BALLE Conference in Buffalo
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 16, 2013 @ 10:22am
If you want to visit forward-thinking cities in the United States, your best bets are Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; and Seattle, Wash.; as well as major metropolitan areas like Washington, DC, and New York City. A recovering Rust Belt city like Buffalo doesn’t rank too high up the list, as many of our city’s brightest minds have moved to locations where they’re more likely to thrive.
For a three-day span in January, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) will converge on Buffalo, inviting over 600 pro-local visitors to town for a conference that will take place in signature Queen City locations. Registration has now opened for the June 12 to 14 conference, and you can sign-up for the entire gathering or select a single day.
Buffalo State College will play host, but other major venues like Statler City, Niagara Square, Larkin Square and Elmwood Village will be involved as well. The latter two places mentioned rank close to the top of Buffalo’s most vibrant “locally-focused” communities—with Elmwood as the more established and Larkin oozing potential.
Your initial reaction may be this: “It’s wonderful that Buffalo can play host to a progressive conference that celebrates our area’s resurgence and promotes the sharing of ideas to boost our city’s—and similar cities’—economic development.”
“Localists have played a fundamental role in Buffalo’s resurgence. Buffalo serves as a prime example that resilient, healthy economies are built from the ground-up, by investing in home-grown businesses and economic development strategies that align with the needs of the community,” said Buffalo First! Executive Director Sarah Bishop. “We look forward to sharing best practices with the BALLE community and inspiring leaders and business owners alike to action across North America.”
The BALLE website adds further detail to the conference’s goals:
Our conference is an immersive experience that will put you at the center of passionate action and innovative solutions, and give you the fuel you need to amplify your work at home. Standing in line for lunch you’re likely to meet someone running a start-up kitchen and food hub, a person of significant wealth who is combining philanthropy and investment dollars to build local living economies in a particular place, an entrepreneur who has created a network of businesses to localize apparel manufacturing, a bank president who is building a triple bottom line approach to strengthening their particular economy, a farmer and organizer who is building food security in the food desert of Detroit, and a systems thinker who is weaving the frame within which we flourish.
The current of momentum for Buffalo’s start-ups is noticeable, as Buffalo First!, the Elmwood Village Association, Z80 Labs and countless other organizations are committed to bolstering Buffalo’s economy from the ground up.