Judy Wicks' love of place, and of animals, has made widening ripples on a global scale. After she moved onto a quaint street in Philadelphia, she learned it was slated to be torn down. Organizing her community, she saved the block as a walkable community. She opened White Dog Cafe coffee shop on the first floor of her home, which grew to a large restaurant proudly serving food from local farmers.
Reading John Robbins' Diet for a New America about the cruel treatment of factory farm animals, she located small family farmers and created a cruelty-free menu. Rather than hoard this proprietary information, she founded a local sustainable business network based on cooperation. She went on to found BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), a national network of sustainable, small businesses that promote going local. (www.livingeconomies.org, www.whitedog.com) See the video
Yuba Gals Independent Media production partners Robyn Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson have been producing local video programs for community access television since 2002.
The Yuba Gals live in rural Nevada City and their business is named for the nearby South Yuba River, a part of the Wild and Scenic river system in California. They live on 160 acres of forest land, in a 1500 square-foot off-grid home using about 10% of the electricity of the average American home (including home office). Their home is heated by a wood stove using deadfall wood from their property. Propane heats the cookstove, on-demand water heater and backup generator (needed only during gray-day periods in winter). Not yet energy independent, but moving in that direction!