Sarah and Paul Edwards: Careers for the Elm Street Economy

100418_edwards_300.jpgWe taped a lively non-stop conversation today with authors Paul and Sarah Edwards. In the summer of 2008 they joined us for a conversation about their recent book Middle Class Lifeboat: Careers and Lifestyles for Navigating a Changing Economy. The economy crashed two months later. Prescient or what?

They’d written their book for these times, they said, but they just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Today’s conversation was a wide-ranging update, based on their workshop “Sustainable Careers: Now, in Transition, and the Future.” Sarah and Paul are authors of numerous books on home-based businesses, including their latest, Home-Based Business for Dummies, which keeps up with these changing times.

They offered ideas on work and careers not only for right now and for a sustainable future, but for what they call “the gap” or “the transition” between the two.

Sarah noted that they’re seeing more people fall into the “gap” — people whose homes are foreclosed, or their jobs ended with no replacement in sight.

Sarah and Paul emphasize developing local work and local businesses to meet local needs in what they call the Elm Street Economy. That’s in contrast to the Main Street economy, which Paul explained is what we see along most towns’ main streets: franchises and distributorships, with products usually coming from far away.

This couple have really jumped in with both feet into the localization/transition movement since starting their Let’s Live Local group in Pine Mountain Club (CA) in 2005. Their group has begun a wood pellet coop, an organic foods coop with a regional CSA (community supported agriculture), a Cowpool for locally raised beef, and they’re exploring sustainable medicine and more.

Paul and Sarah are following their own advice in developing work that keeps up with the times. I think you’ll enjoy their grounded yet optimistic and forward-looking perspectives in the upcoming conversation, “Transitioning to the Elm Street Economy.”

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