One of the blessings of a real community is that it can survive, even thrive, in the face of challenges. Such has been the case with musicians, chefs, and other artisans across the country this year. To honor their bravery, spirit, and inventiveness—and to underscore the values that build truly sustainable communities—we’re focusing this summer on those who are sustaining, and sometimes reinventing, the craftsmanship community.
In a small brick building in East London, in a school developed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, students from around the world are giving new life to a set of artistic principles that have been nearly lost. Their work is helping to revive a number of nearly obsolete skills in art, architecture, and manufacturing, with a new tilt toward sustainability.
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
With gumption, insight, and brilliant use of social media, a few guys in Virginia built an operation that makes what could be the world’s finest toolbelts. In the process, they have also built a community that is bringing new respect for those who work in the trades.
Story by LORRAINE SANDERS
Photography by SOPHIA BAIN
While COVID restrictions shutter businesses right and left, a more positive picture is emerging from worker-owned companies like Mondragon, the Spanish enterprise that’s become the world’s largest co-op, and Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio. Both operations keep proving that, during economic crises, co-ops adapt better than traditional companies, and they continue paying their workers more equitably as well. Why don’t more businesses follow “the Mondragon model”?
By ROBERTO LOVATO
Undaunted by masks, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place orders, Jonathan Byrd continues to draw large audiences. They gather online to watch his band perform all by themselves, from a small stage at The Kraken, a North Carolina dive bar.
By JANINE LATUS