Somerville Stock Exchange Report #15, for Jan. 15, 2013

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 15th 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 continued to soar this period. They went up a whopping 23% to end at $12.19—well in first place this time around.

Phil H. gave these stocks a big boost. He told us about the years he’s had a show on Somerville Cable Access (SCAT). His show is about an economic theory he developed in the 1980s called “timesizing”, which is an alternative to downsizing that involves slightly cutting workers’ hours. His system would “solve the core problem of job insecurity and joblessness, together the biggest source of resistance to urgent eco-initiatives,” he told us. “Most people are focused on the individual level of cleanup and recycling. I’m focused on the whole-system level of, say, recycling discarded employees.”

Stocks also got a lift from a few other places. First, at the Somerville Winter Farmer's Market, Winter Moon Root Farms gives away free bags of vegetables to the other vendors-- just out of goodwill.

Last, there are a number of program in the city to help first-time home buyers. Somerville Community Corporation offers an affordable ($35) class on how to go about buying a home for the first time. The city also offers financial incentives for first-timers. Both are designed to help residents who rent stay in town without being priced out.

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

Creative stocks stayed in last place, but went up $0.80 to finish at $10.09. This was because of a number of exciting things going on in the creative community.

On 1/11/13, Trilingual Press and the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts held an event called "Another Face of Haiti" at the Armory. The event celebrated the release of new books and works by Haitian artists.

Next, the Somerville Arts Council launched its Artist of the Month program. The program will feature a different creative Somervillen each month. And, finally, Somerville's New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. NESFA is a sci-fi publishing house, and member-supported library. It's located in Magoun Square.

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

Environment stocks held second place, but saw its margin over Creative stocks drop a bit. Stocks went up to $10.24, up $0.60.

This was because we got our first "net zero" building. (A net zero building produces as much energy as it uses.) The building is a renovated two-family on Elmwood Street, and was recognized by the Somerville Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) as a model for future buildings.

Second, we learned about the bulk organic food-buying club that Millstone, which is a coop house near Davis Square, runs. Members of the public can join the group, and can learn more at their website.

(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.


If you missed it, we put together a report showing all of the information we’ve gathered so far. It includes all of the material from the forum (news stories about things that have impacted life in town; stories from locals about what they’re doing to make Somerville a better place), as well as charts and graphs showing how stock values have changed. Here’s the PDF of the report, free for the reading.

And on Jan. 12th, we were on Unreglar Radio's "Two hotheads: where activism happens" show, talking about the Somerville Stock Exchange and community involvement. It was a really interesting program-- James and Laura from the Mass Pirate Party talked about online privacy, keeping the internet open, and creative commons. An activist named Garrett talked about fighting the TSA's policy of random searches on the subway; and the hosts talked about drug reform.

And check back on February 1st 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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