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EVANSTON, IL Pop-up Newsletter: Money, Banking, Food, Farms, Democracy

For this newsletter, I only have one Evanston news item to share (Wild Onion Market). But there’s a lot of important national news with (a) local connections, (b) local impact, and (c) local actionability — with lots of interconnections among the areas of Money, Banking, Food, Farms, and Democracy. Two items have action deadlines. I hope you find this information useful.

Evanston voters, media, political groups, businesses, activists
Residents in my neighborhood (Nichols Neighbors)
Some non-Evanston voters with Evanston connections & interests

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A. Wild Onion Market food co-op — closing in on a location!
B. Sign-on deadline July 16 — Two new bills from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar
Establishing a 21st Century Economy for All: GPI Act and SUPPORT Act 
C. Virtual event: July 21 — Public banking webinar (governance structure)
D. Survey deadline July 23 —  Institutional food purchasing: developing national standards for schools, universities, hospitals, municipalities
E. Virtual event: July 23-24 — Just Money Festival: free, virtual event on national monetary reform (July 23-24)

A. WILD ONION MARKET food co-op — closing in on a location!

Some of you are already members of WOM and are sharing in the collective excitement abouat the latest news: the WOM Board is getting close to obtaining a location, somewhere in Rogers Park-West Ridge-Evanston. The site has been identified. Now the Board is doing its due diligence on design, funding, etc.

Become a Founding Owner
If you are not a member, this might be a good time to consider becoming a co-op shareholder. We’re being told by the Board that 1,000 owners is an ideal number for obtaining financing, etc., for such a big project. Currently there are 800+ members. The Board has just announced that the first 1,000 members will now be considered Founding Owners.  

The cost is incredibly reasonable ($250/life time ownership share) and can be paid in installments. Sponsored shares are also available. Founding Owners are currently being asked for input on (a) store characteristics, and (b) an updated Mission statement.

— Check out the website to learn more about the organization, the Board, membership, etc.
— The Facebook page has been featuring new owners, many of them business owners in the area. Local businesses supporting a new local business!
— Join the co-op as a Founding Owner. If you have questions about becoming an owner, email:

B. Sign-on deadline July 16 
Two new Congressional bills from U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN)

A Minnesota colleague (Ken Pentel, Ecology Democracy Network) has been working with Rep. Omar on these bills, both of which would level our economic playing field in major ways.

I think Evanstonians will agree that the we would all benefit greatly from:
— An increased money supply
The SUPPORT Act: basic income pilot projects, national guaranteed income mechanisms
— More accurate, holistic, and comprehensive economic metrics in federal decision-making
The GPI Act: requiring Genuine Progress Indicator as a metric supplementary to GDP

Complete details and links are included in my recent blogpost:
NEW BILLS IN CONGRESS: “Establishing a 21st Century Economy for All”

—Organizational sign-on to either or both bills
The immediate need is for organizations to sign on to be part of the press release (when the bills are introduced in a few weeks). See link in my blog post, or go directly to the sign-on page.
—Read the Fact Sheets on both bills
GPI Act Fact Sheet
SUPPORT Act Fact Sheet
—Talk to our U.S. Senators (Durbin, Duckworth) and U.S. Rep. (Schakowsky) about these bills

C. Virtual event: July 21
Draft governance structure for a municipal bank

Grassroots organizers in California have been leading the way in creating public banks (state, county, municipal).  The latest news is that they’ve just released a draft governance structure for a Los Angeles city bank. 

On July 21 they will be hosting a webinar to explain and discuss the document and governance structure. I believe it is open to anyone.

—Read and share webpage and report (30 pages): 
Constructing the Democratic Public Bank: A Governance Proposal for the Los Angeles Public Bank
by Michael Brennan, The Democracy Collaborative; convener of National Public Banking Alliance (Google group listserv)
—Attend webinar: registration
Wed., July 21
11:00 AM CT

D. Survey deadline July 23
INSTITUTIONAL FOOD PURCHASING: developing national standards

Just announced — a new alliance of 3 solid organizations for developing a national set of aligned standards for institutional food purchasing (universities, schools, hospitals, municipalities): 

Anchors in Action (AiA)
–Center for Good Food Purchasing
–Real Food Challenge
–Health Care Without Harm

AiA Values:
–Local Economies
–Environmental Sustainability
–Valued Workforce
–Animal Welfare
–Community Health and Nutrition

AiA Core Principles:
–Racial Equity
–Climate Justice
–Food Sovereignty

Great survey for the general public (deadline July 23)
Give input on food purchasing standards (universities, schools, hospitals, municipalities)

Real Food Challenge is an ACTION organization based on simple, rigorous principles.
Northwestern U. chapter?  I don’t know if NU still has a RFC chapter, but NU did a few years ago (2010?), when they hosted a summit for Midwestern colleges. It was a great event.
— In 2010-12, NU’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) spent two years trying to unpack the “black hole” of school food programs in Illinois. MSLOC, a Master’s program for Learning & Organizational Change, did an incredible amount of work just to discover how opaque the whole school food business is. 
2020 breakthrough report
Be-Trayed: How kickbacks in the cafeteria industry harm our communities—and what to do about it.
It wasn’t until May 2020 that someone finally broke through to the black hole–and came back out. That someone was Real Food Challenge who did the research and released the report disclosing the kickbacks-as-business-model in cafeteria food purchasing (Compass, Aramark, Sodexo). 

E. Virtual event: July 23-24
Free, virtual event on monetary reform

— AFJM Youth Caucus will present basics of monetary reform for newcomers
— Keynote by Katharina Serafimova: reconnect nature, money, productivity, community
— Storyform Science: make our monetary reform message personal and focused
— Breakout sessions + panel presentation
— AFJM Annual Membership Meeting

Alliance For Just Money is the leading U.S. organization working to reclaim “the money power” — the power to CREATE new U.S. money — for Congress, not private banks (or anyone else).

Specifically, AFJM is working to:
— Nationalize the Federal Reserve system
— Outlaw fractional reserve lending by commercial banks
— Re-create U.S. currency as “U.S. Money” (not Federal Reserve notes)

AFJM is currently working on an updated version of Dennis Kucinich’s 2012 NEED Act (National Employment Emergency Defense), a precursor to the Green New Deal (infrastructure jobs + monetary reform). At some point, they will be looking for a new Congressional sponsor. 

— Attend the festival: Complete details, registration
— Join AFJM or sign-up for AFJM newsletter:  AFJM homepage

Residents of Evanston, Chicago, and Illinois have been leaders in the U.S. and international monetary reform movement for at least 25 years:
— 1996  Chicago-area native Stephen Zarlenga founded the American Monetary Institute (AMI), a think tank for the “independent study of monetary history, theory, and reform”
— 2002  Publication of The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money, the Story of Power, by Stephen Zarlenga (500+ pages, good index)
— 2004-19  National AMI conferences held in downtown Chicago
— 2011  Chicago Public School teacher Steven Walsh educated the Chicago Teachers Union (including the late CTU president Karen Lewis) on monetary reform and the NEED Act
— 2012  CTU Executive Board became the first union to endorse Dennis Kucinich‘s NEED Act (co-sponsored by John Conyers, the late Congressman from Detroit).
— 2017  Death of Stephen Zarlenga (in his Arlington Heights home)
— 2017  Publication of Sovereign of the Market: The Money Question in Early America, by UIC History professor (and Rogers Park resident) Jeff Sklansky
— 2018  Creation of AFJM as an action-spinoff of AMI
First president: Lucille Eckrich, professor at Illinois State U. (Bloomington, IL). Bio on AFJM.
— 2020-21  AMI conferences held virtually but organized from Evanston (2021 dates: Nov. 5-6)
— 2021  Evanston resident Steven Walsh is currently Exec. Director of AMI, Treasurer of AFJM, and a respected leader in the International Movement for Monetary Reform (IMMR), especially on parity agriculture. Steven grew up in Albany Park. Bio on AFJM.

Many other Midwesterners have been leaders in the monetary reform movement over the years, including but not limited to
— 102-year old Bank of North Dakota, still the only public bank in the U.S, founded by the Non-Partisan League
— 40+ year old National Organization for Raw Materials (NORM Economics), currently based in Michigan (Randy Cook, president & farmer)
— Monetary History Calendar, founded by a Cleveland chapter of the American Friends Service Committee. Still maintained by Ohio resident Greg Coleridge (free, weekly newsletter). Greg is also the Outreach Coordinator for Move to Amend.