Somerville Stock Exchange Report #13, for Dec. 1, 2012

The Somerville Stock Exchange, or "SSE" for short, is a community forum. It's also a fundraiser—and a different take on what a stock market can be!

Hi there. Welcome to the 13th Somerville Stock report.

Twice a month, I’ve been writing about my community art project, the Somerville Stock Exchange (SSE). The project involves giving people “Somerville Stocks” based on what they’re doing to make Somerville’s community, creative life, and   environment better. The idea is to document all of the wonderful things our neighbors are doing—and to get people talking about being involved in their community.

All of the things people tell us are included in the project’s printed and online forum. And all of these things affect the “worth” of the different types of Somerville Stocks.

Just like a regular stock market. And just like with a regular stock market, someone writes about why the stocks have changed in value. And that’s what this column is about.

“Somerville Stocks”

So how did “Somerville stocks” do recently?

Community stocks were the biggest winner this period. They shot up 22%, to end at $7.13. This still meant they were in last place, but it was a very hopeful sign.

This rise was because of a number of things. First, Columbine P. told us about how she packaged up her excess Egyptian Walking Onions with instructions and left them in the Stranger Exchange box in Davis Square. (The Stranger Exchange box is a white plastic newspaper box across from the crepe restaurant. People leave unwanted items in it for others to take.)

We also learned about Boston Cares, which helps people find ways to volunteers and help out in the Boston area (including Somerville). You can search through their website (www.bostoncares.org) by interest or zip code, and choose from one of over 250 volunteer opportunities.

In other news, back in October, the governor announced that $1m in grants would go to early education in 5 communities. Somerville will be one of the towns to receive this funding. Finally, Somerville voters passed the Community Preservation Act. Homeowners will now pay a slightly higher property tax; this additional money will go to affordable housing, open space projects, and historic sites.

(To read more about Community Stocks, click here.)

Creative stocks rose another 12% to $9.29, threatening the Environment’s lead. This was because of an older report that showed there were over 2,500 people in Somerville who identified themselves as a creative worker (that is, an artist or musician or writer, etc.). This represents almost 5% of the population, which is well above the national average of 1.4%. (To read more about Creative Stocks, click here.)

Finally, Environmental stocks stayed in the lead with a 7% increase, finishing at $9.50.

Columbine P. told us a number of things she’s doing for the environment. She pulls up knotweed in Linear Park all the time. She composts her unused food scraps, and uses the dirt that this creates in her veggies and flower garden. She rents instead of owning, so composting her food and using it in a garden is a way to reduce her environmental impact. Finally, she also doesn't own a car, which further reduces the pollution she produces.

We also learned that Somerville has 464 cars per thousand residents. This puts us well below the state average of 820 cars per thousand people, as well as below the country-wide average of 812 cars per thousand people. While this means that we cause less the auto-related pollution than other communities throughout the country, we are well above the worldwide average of 131 cars per thousand people.

(To read more about Environment Stocks, click here.)

To read more about why Somerville Stocks are “worth” what they’re “worth,” take a look at our online forum.

Get invested in your community!

If you’d like to earn yourself some Stocks, get in touch! You can    earn stocks by making a donation to one of our partner nonprofits (Somerville Homeless Coalition; Somerville Arts Council; Somerville Climate Action) and then letting us know about it. Or by sharing something that you’ve done for Somerville in our forum.

Hope to hear from you! To contact us, click here. We're also on Facebook.


We'll have a table at Somerville Local First's holiday market on Dec. 2. It'll be at the Armory. Hope you can stop by-- it looks like a great event!

And check back on December 15th for the next Somerville Stock Report.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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