Somerville Stock Exchange report #6, for August 1st, 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 sixth 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?

This period saw a major upset: Community stocks, which had been soaring lately, slipped $1.09 to $5.69—dropping all the way from first place to last. This slide was due to a report that 14.7% of Somerville residents live below the poverty line—which is slightly less than the national average (15.1%), but well above the state average of 10.5%.

But, a number of things local people are doing did help limit how far community stocks dropped. For instance, Libby told us about her volunteer work as a board member of the Somerville Community Corporation—which she does because “she wants to be more engaged in the way Somerville is developed so that it stays unique and diverse, and doesn't become any less affordable.”

We learned that the Somerville Public Library recently teamed up with Shape Up Somerville to provide free veggies on certain days. (Shape Up Somerville is run by the city, and is "a city wide campaign to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through programming, physical infrastructure improvements, and policy work.”) We also found out about Cambridge Health Alliance’s Spring Hill Garden behind the Somerville Hospital, which CHA runs. The food grown in the garden is given to local pantries and resident programs.

Finally, Jonathan B. also told us that he donated money to Somerville Local First, which is a nonprofit that supports locally-owned businesses. (To read more about Community Stocks, click here.)

Environment stocks were a little slow this period—although they still rose to first place, because community stocks fell so much. They saw a slight rise of $0.08 to $6.01, due to an anonymous person telling us about his farm share (which means he pays an annual fee for fresh, locally-grown veggies). He does this because they are more healthy for him and for the environment, since they are grown organic. It also means that less fuel is burned in transporting them, because the food has to travel less than food grown in, say, California. (To read more about Environment Stocks, click here.)

Creative stocks have been pretty steady lately, and this period was no exception. They rose 11% ($0.58), to end up at $5.98.

This was on the strength of a few things. First, Libby told us that she frequently goes to Somerville Arts Council events (which she goes to because they are fun and “distinctly Somerville”). She also told us that she likes to play the banjo on her front porch, which she enjoys doing because she enjoys playing—but also because it lets her connect with her neighbors.

Second, there was Artbeat, the Arts Council’s annual festival in Davis Square. Several dozen bands played; there were community and creative vendors; there was a parade, and interactive art projects. Several thousand people came. (To read more about Creative 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.

And check back on August 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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