Bill Sommers, President of The Permaculture Credit Union, and a banker and businessman with over 30 years of experience, returns to talk about community developed finance.
During the conversation we begin talking about what this idea is, and then move into the options available, the ways we can use banking, and financial education, to give someone a hand-up instead of a hand-out, and move into a general conversation of finance and the impact various practices have on both the consumer and society as a whole.
I’ve enjoyed these two interviews with Bill because he’s able to take these ideas, that to me are very heavy material and largely impenetrable from the outside, and demystify them into something very accessible. As permaculture practitioners, we take gardening, horticulture, and biochar, to name a few, and tie them together under the big top of Permaculture, which thankfully have numerous clearly written books available to understand them. But Banking? Finance? I haven’t found anyone who can break those down into easy to understand bits as well as Bill can. And I am greatly appreciative. Plus, as with his involvement in the Permaculture Credit Union, he has the ethical and principle based understanding in common to the more visible structures of permaculture.
Though we have alternative economic options in the permaculture literature with things like Local Exchange Trading System, Bartering, Time Banking, and Local Currency, what gives me hope from this conversation is that here is another way to approach banking and finance a bit differently, in a way that can engage the system that currently exists.
I agree with that idea given to us by Ethan Hughes, and reiterated by Lisa Fernandes and others, that we need meet people where they are at to make permaculture more accessible, and desirable by the public in those areas that aren’t hungry for it yet.
As we get the physical structure designs down, the invisible becomes more important as we build community and permanent culture.