Will Raap

The New Economics Institute

I’m proud to co-chair the Board of Directors of the New Economics Institute, an organization of creative thinkers working to develop a fair, sustainable new economy that functions within ecological limits and considers the world’s diverse people and cultures. In NEI’s view, “The U.S. economic system is failing in its essential purpose: to provide fulfilling and healthy lives for all people while nurturing the social and natural systems on which the economic system depends.”

NEI collaborates with leaders in academia, business, finance and other fields to raise awareness of and uproot old economic assumptions that impede human progress and deplete our precious natural resources. It unites the research and action-based work of the E.F. Schumacher Society, the Institute’s predecessor, and the New Economics Foundation, based in London. 

Please visit the New Economics Institute website to learn more about our priority projects, which include:

  • Happy Planet USA, an index/ranking of states that defines progress as a measure of ecological efficiency, which shows what resources people need to produce long and happy lives
  • A new economy slow/no growth envisioning/modeling project
  • The best blueprints for local economy transformation
  • A new economics curriculum

I hope you’ll join NEI in our efforts.

 

  Will Raap is engaged in creating positive social, environmental and economic change by employing the power of markets and enterprises. He focuses on local food, renewable energy, and land restoration enterprises that support a more resilient economy and more sustainable future. These efforts extend from the mountains of Vermont to the dry tropical forests of Costa Rica. Will serves as chairman of Burlington, Vermont-based Gardener’s Supply Company, which he founded in 1983. The 300-person, employee-owned firm, now among the world’s largest online and catalog gardening retailers, has won national and regional awards for its products and services, as well as for its socially responsible business practices. Will founded and was past chairman of the Intervale Center, a non-profit organization also located in Burlington, Vermont. Since 1987, the Intervale Center has been developing farm- and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. The Intervale Center currently supports the Intervale Conservation Nursery, Intervale Agricultural Consulting Services and the Intervale Food Hub, plus 12 small, privately owned farms that participate in the Center’s nationally acclaimed farm incubator program. In 2000, Will adapted the Intervale Center’s mission to Guantacaste, Costa Rica. There, he cofounded El Centro Verde, a sustainable gardening, farming and agroforestry education and demonstration center. A non-profit organization, Restoring Our Watershed, was founded in 2009 and is dedicated to restoring the Nandamojo River and its surrounding 28,000-acre watershed through community and business engagement. Recently, Will co-founded Mi Tierra, a cooperative of organic farms, nurseries and food processors that produces and distributes local products in Guanacaste under the Mi Tierra brand. He is also a partner in two local conservation developments, Tierra Pacifica and Pueblo Verde, both committed to sustainable design and practices that support watershed restoration. Some of Will’s other initiatives include Reforest Teak, a line of forest-friendly teak furniture and furnishings that supports reforestation in Costa Rica ; The Earth Partners, an organization of environmental experts that is restoring 100,000 acres in the US with “conservation biomass”; South Village Community/Farm at South Village, a new kind of suburban development and planned community with on-site food and energy production and clusgtered land use that enables restoration of the majority of this depleted dairy farm; and the Transverter, a new solar technology that allows the creation of neighborhood-scale mini-electric grids to produce more reliable and cost-effective power. Will Raap is a member of the New Economics Institute Board of Directors and has served on numerous non-profit and corporate boards including Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Land Trust, Champlain Valley Greenbelt Alliance, Intervale Center, Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, University of Vermont School of Environment and Natural Resources, Champlain College, Living Technologies and Seventh Generation. Will holds a BA in Economics from UC Davis and a Master’s degree in Business and Urban Planning from UC Berkeley.

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