Community Book Forum: Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy

The Carrboro Cybrary and Carrboro Recreation & Parks invite the community to read Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy by Lyle Estill. Lyle is a founder of Piedmont Biofuels and he will be leading this discussion along with Michael Tiemann, a founder of the Open Source movement, and William (B.J.) Lawson, PLENTY Revitalization Board Member. This book is focused on the local economy in Chatham County, and will be valuable to anyone interested in sustainability, co-ops, biodiesel, whole foods, slow food, technology, small business, and more. Copies of the book can be borrowed from the Cybrary.

Book Description:

In an era when incomprehensibly complex issues like Peak Oil and climate change dominate headlines, practical solutions at a local level can seem somehow inadequate.

In response, Lyle Estill’s Small is Possible introduces us to “hometown security,” with this chronicle of a community-powered response to resource depletion in a fickle global economy. True stories, springing from the soils of Chatham County, North Carolina, offer a positive counterbalance to the bleakness of our age.

This is the story of how one small southern US town found actual solutions to actual problems. Unwilling to rely on the government and wary of large corporations, these residents discovered it is possible for a community to feed itself, fuel itself, heal itself, and govern itself.

This book is filled with newspaper columns, blog entries, letters, and essays that have appeared on the margins of small-town economies. Tough subjects are handled with humor and finesse. Compelling stories of successful small businesses, from the grocery co-op to the biodiesel co-op, describe a town and its people on a genuine quest for sustainability.


One of my favorite ideas in this book is the idea of open source. Once you let go of this idea that everything must be copyrighted, everything must be owned and protected in order to make money, you become free. Open source ideas quickly foster a more open community, a more open and honest society. A gropu of people or organizaitons all start working toward a common goal rather than all working against one another. Beautiful, isn't it?

Another beautiful idea is that a community needs a variety of people and businesses to thrive. And that as you begin living locally- and begin working toward a healthy community - people and businesses find their niches. And when you find your own niche within the local economy, your own happiness rises. Your sense of well-being increases when you realize your positive and necessary contribution to society.

As we go further into debt and economic security throughout the world, nurturing our small, local, sustainable businesses and infrastructure will become increasingly important. I recommend this book.
~ Melinda from The Blogging Bookworm

More reviews are linked from:


Friday, June 5, 2009 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm


Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St.

WSM BoD Meeting Answers "How Bad Can It Get?"

The Weaver Street Market Board of Directors will meet Wednesday December 17 at 201 North Greensboro Street downtown Carrboro at 6:15pm.  The Board will seek to answer the question posed in last month's meeting: "How bad can it get?"  This is regarding the negative cash flow in the last fiscal quarter.

In the last fiscal quarter, the worker-owners did not receive a dividend.  Consumer-owners receive a dividend as a point-of-sale discount.  Is this fair?

Basically, if you own a share in the Co-Op, this is the one Board meeting you need to attend!  Contact WSM BoD Chair J. Myers at to inform him you will attend (meal provided by Panzanella Restaurant) and to receive an emailed copy of the meeting agenda.

I really want additional co-op owners to attend! 

Chatham Market Place

Down here in the tiny town of Pittsboro, we have the Chatham Market Place, CM, which is in its 2nd year of operation.  WSM helped with their expertise to get CM started and they still cooperate.  While certainly a smaller operation it is a most pleasant and friendly place to shop. Clientele diversity seems to match WSM.

But one place where it really shines is the Hot Bar.  While smaller than WSM and much smaller than Whole Foods, the quality beats both hands down.  The folks at CM can cook.  With breakfast every day, an outstanding brunch on Sundays (omelets and shrimp & grits made to order) with entertainment, very tasty selections for every lunch and diner, hot sandwiches,  and special restaurant style menu on Friday evenings, the cuisine is always really tasty.  One note of warning: it is not necessarily good on the waistline.

If you are passing through you might want to give it a try.

I am a member but have no other connection to CM.


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