Written by Meaghan Burkett
Every locality across Australia can generate a strong, prosperous, equitable and resilient
local economy that places the control and benefits of their local economy into the hands of
local people. To realise this vision, Ethical Fields is undertaking the Community Wealth
Building Australia Tour. We are visiting cities, towns and regions across Australia to raise
awareness about the transformative potential of community wealth building and learn from
local communities already on the journey.
During December – February 2023, we met with the wonderful folk of South Australia. Here
are some of the highlights.
More than a Community Craft Shop
In many places across South Australia you will encounter a community craft shop. These
shops will commonly stock hand-made and crafted items including quilts, cushions, bags,
jewelry, soap, aprons, chopping boards, soft toys, art work, wooden toys and pot plants
plus more! Two of my favourites were Karoonda Community Craft Shop and the Eyre Crafts
Community Craft Shop.
Whilst they are undeniably quant and cute – they are so much more than this! They promote
and support place and people, inclusiveness, democratic participation, local ownership,
prosperity and reinvestment. They enable local people to activate their local economy
through locally owned enterprises, local supply chains and spending, local assets, local
workforces and financial flows. They are a model that should and could be scaled and
replicated in local places everywhere.
Buy from the bush, innovation, girl power and hard work
Half way across Australia in a great town called Kimba I came across an inspiring
community wealth building enterprise called Workshop 26. I loved learning about their story:
“Workshop26 is a melting pot of makers, micro-businesses, and all-round good
people. A not-for-profit enterprise, Workshop26 aims to bring people together, and creates a
market place and meeting place; a place for small businesses to grow, for people to
learn, and for visitors to get a real taste of our wonderful little community.
Workshop26 is the brain-child of five dynamic women; farmers, makers, business
owners, and even a publican; a delicious blend of ideas, inspirations and styles.
Times can be hard on rural main streets; this group of savvy women know that
diversification and tapping into the #buyfromthebush movement is the key to keeping
dollars local, businesses open and families in town. Cooked up around a kitchen
table over a few bottles of champagne, Workshop26 represents
innovation, #girlpower and a healthy dose of hard work.”