SCALE, inc.



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Our Team


  • Anothony Flaccavento (President)

  • Megan Williams (Director of Research)


  • Michael Shuman

Anthony Flaccavento’s unique perspective and depth of experience helped our diverse group of rural progressives in Eastern Kentucky gain new perspective about the economic and political challenges we face, the grassroots solutions we can implement immediately, and ideas for building a better economic future in our region. He is a skilled moderator, ensuring everyone was able to contribute and keeping the conversation focused and productive.
— Victoria Stevens Estill, County Democratic Executive Committee Chair

We’re excited to announce a new arm of SCALE — “Bread & Butter Rural Progressivism.” This new arm weaves together bottom up economics, communications and messaging, and new strategies for community outreach and engagement.


The field of local economy has some great practitioners, great thinkers, and great writers, but rarely can one find all those skills in one person. Anthony Flaccavento is that one-in-a-million talent. We should thank the locavore Gods that he’s on our side.
— Michael Shuman, Author of The Small Mart Revolution and Director of Research and Economic Development at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, Washington, DC

What is “SCALE”?

The near collapse of Wall Street in 2008 precipitated a global economic recession that put millions of people out of work and forced local and state agencies into widespread cutbacks. The economic decline also demonstrated just how vulnerable most communities have become. At the same time, mounting evidence of climate change surrounds us, from rapidly melting glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets, to prolonged droughts and other severe weather. And the problems aren't just in the atmosphere: over the past 100 years, the amount of productive land available per capita has shrunk dramatically, from 14 acres per person worldwide to just over 3.5 acres.

Can we simply grow our way out of this, or do we need a new approach, a new vision of prosperity?

SCALE — Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies — combines a new vision for economic prosperity and resilience with tested skills and strategies to help us get there. Based on over 30 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development, SCALE focuses on four core elements:

  • Building diverse, resilient economies at the local and regional level, based on local assets and better meeting local needs

  • Growing local “capital” and wealth, in food and farming and other natural resource-based economic sectors, that also rebuild ecological health

  • Catalyzing networks, of entrepreneurs, farmers, consumers and advocates that accelerate and deepen healthy local economies

  • Broadening the base of support for progressive economic and political policies

The central purpose of SCALE is to catalyze and accelerate economies which increase community wealth and restore or sustain the ecosystem. The services are designed for community leaders, farmers, small businesses and nonprofit practitioners who are engaged in working towards sustainable economic development initiatives.

SCALE offers the following Consulting services:

  • Capacity building for rural progressive change

  • Developing sustainable local economy plans and initiatives

  • Feasibility studies and business plans for bottom up economies and healthy food systems

  • Value chain design and planning

  • Identifying community assets and gaps and building local capacity

  • Launching farmers markets, CSAs and farmer networks, and offering technical assistance for farmers

A sampling of SCALE’s clients include the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Iowa), Sustainable Edible Economic Development (Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin), Farm to Table (New Mexico), the Central Appalachian Network (five state organization in central Appalachia), Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, VA, Blue Moon Fund, Charlottesville, VA, and the New Appalachian Farm and Research Center (West Virginia).

In addition to consulting services, SCALE offers Public Speaking and Workshops on a range of topics including:

  • Building bottom up economic strategies as an alternative to “Big Box” stores and corporate subsidies

  • Tackling the “rural-urban divide”

  • Sustainable development and sustainable living

  • Rural development and ecological economics

  • Building an alternative, asset-based economy

  • Just economic transitions for fossil-fuel dependent communities

  • Community-based strategies for healthy, sustainable economies

  • Organic and sustainable farming, benefits to farmers and consumers

  • Increasing food access for lower income and working people

Recent public speaking engagements include

  • “Resilience in cities and the countryside”, Charlottesville, VA

  • “Building economies that rebuild communities”, Lake Placid, NY

  • “A bottom up approach to a Green New Deal in Virginia”, Manassas, VA

  • “Building food hubs to strengthen local farms and economies”, Bendigo, Australia

  • “Carbon, food and livelihood:  How can we make good farming work for farmers, consumers and communities?” Phoenix, AZ

  • “Economic Transition in Appalachia”, Economics of Happiness Conference, Ohio

  • “Building economies that work for people and place”, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD

Experience and Qualifications

Anthony Flaccavento has over 30 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development, along with a BS degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science and a Masters degree in Economic and Social Development. He is the author of numerous articles and op-eds, and the book Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change (University Press of Kentucky, 2016). Additional experiences and capabilities include:

  • 30 years experience in community development, rural development and local economies

  • Author of Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), and Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains (2010)

  • Speaker in the Solve Climate Change Now national speakers bureau

  • Congressional candidate and advisor to rural candidates and organizations

  • Have launched three non-profit organizations and numerous initiatives in economic development, sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest products, affordable housing, healthy foods for low income people, and more

  • Organized, built and helped manage farmers markets, CSAs, and food hubs

  • Organic farmer for past 25 years; have trained and worked with hundreds of other farmers

  • Have written and published nearly 100 articles and Op-eds; designed and produced “Take Five with Tony”, a 30 You Tube series providing hands-on and plain-spoken explanations of economic, agricultural and other issues

  • Noted public speaker and workshop provider at conferences and seminars around the nation

  • Bachelors degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science, Masters in Economics and Social Development

  • Fellow with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, 2010 – 2011; Kellogg National Food and Society Policy Fellow, 2007 – 2008; and Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World awardee, 2004 - 2005

  • Designed and taught undergraduate courses in rural development and sustainable economic development at Emory and Henry College and the University of Virginia, Wise