Friday afternoon, members of the Sustainable Business Alliance (SBA) met at Swan's in old Oakland to hear about Oakland Grown. The SBA recently 'adopted' Oakland Grown, which is a natural fit because local is usually more sustainable, and is definitely good for local businesses. The main speaker was Erin Killmer-Neel, who told SBA members about Oakland Grown and the new gift card program.
Kilmer-Neel is the program officer for the One Pacific Coast Foundation, one of the co-founders of Oakland Grown, and a driving force behind the recently released Oakland Grown Gift Card. You may have seen her emceeing the Oakland Indie Awards.
There was also a discussion with SBA board member Jenny Kassan about the new relationship between the SBA and OG. Kassan is the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a community development consultant, and a lawyer, specializing in environmentally friendly and socially responsible ventures. Katovich and Kassan Law Group's clients include Awaken Cafe, Mandela Marketplace, Oaklandish, Rock Paper Scissors and a host of other local businesses and organizations.
One thing we heard about from Kassan is HR2930, the "Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act" which legalizes investment in small local businesses. Basically it makes crowd funding a business legal, and easier for the 99%. (The 1%, i.e., "accredited investors", can already invest in whatever they like.) Read more at the Change.org petition and sign it! The bill recently passed the house, but still needs to get approved by the Senate and the President.
Besides hearing about the joining of forces of the SBA and Oakland Grown, we also broke out into small groups to discuss the gift card and what impact it would have on different local businesses. The consensus was that in its current form it makes sense for retailers, but it would have to change some before it became more of local currency and useful for business-to-business transactions. Personally from a consumer standpoint, it makes a lot of sense -- it says you care not only about the recipient, but about the community we live in, too.
Speaking of the Oakland Grown Gift Card, Farley's East on Grand is having a fundraiser for Oakland Grown. Join Oakland Grown on Thursday, from 5-9pm for Happy Hour! Farley's will donate 20% of sales during the happy hour. Meet the OG crew, pick up an OG shopping bag, purchase hot drinks, beer, wine, delicious paninis & salads, learn more about The Great Oakland Grown Holiday Challenge & The OG Holiday Gift Guide.