SCALE, inc.

Meet the Team


Anthony flaccavento (president)

Anthony is an organic farmer near Abingdon, Virginia, in the heart of Central Appalachia. He has been working on community environmental and economic development in the region for the past 27 years. In 1995, he founded Appalachian Sustainable Development, which became a regional and national leader in sustainable economic development. Anthony left ASD in December, 2009 to found SCALE, Inc, a private consulting business dedicated to catalyzing and supporting ecologically healthy regional economies and food systems. SCALE works with community leaders, farmers, foundations, economic development agencies and others in Appalachia, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico the Arkansas Delta and other communities.


Anthony speaks and writes about sustainable development, economics, food systems and rural development issues extensively, with some of his pieces appearing in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Solutions Journal and elsewhere. Anthony is the author of Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains, and has also authored chapters in books on rural development and ecological literacy. Most recently SCALE Inc produced Is Local Food Affordable for Ordinary Folks?, a study of farmers market affordability in six states in Appalachia and the Southeast.

In 2012, Anthony ran for the United States House of Representatives in Virginia's 9th district, winning the Democratic nomination. Although unsuccessful in the general election, the campaign enabled him to meet and talk with thousands of farmers, loggers, miners, small business owners and others, whom he found to be very excited about the ideas of sustainable development and a "bottom up" economy.

Anthony has received a number of awards and honors for his work in recent years, including the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award, and selection by Blue Ridge magazine in 2009 as one of Central Appalachia's most important agents for positive change. He was a Kellogg National Food and Society Policy Fellow during 2007 and 2008, and a Fellow with the Business Alliance for Local, Living Economies (BALLE) in 2010/2011. Anthony has a BS degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science from the University of Kentucky and a Masters degree in Economic and Social Development from the University of Pittsburgh. He is married with three grown - and terrific - children.

Megan Williams.jpg

megan williams (director of research)

Megan has served as a lead researcher and project manager on many community planning projects over the past eight years. She is an urban planner with expertise in community outreach and engagement, creative economic development and downtown revitalization, urban agriculture and sustainable food systems planning. She holds a BA in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a MA in Planning from Appalachian State University.

From 2008-2010 Megan worked for HandMade in America, a non-profit organization promoting craft and culture for community and economic development in western North Carolina. At HandMade, she assisted the Small Town Revitalization program, focused on small town, Main Street planning and downtown revitalization projects in mostly rural areas.


Megan served on the Asheville Artists Alliance from 2009-2010 and actively volunteered with the planning and design nonprofit, Asheville Design Center, from 2007-2012. She worked on planning projects in Asheville's River Arts District and in The Block neighborhood, where she worked with stakeholders to facilitate community-based plans. From 2010 to 2012 she worked as a business counselor for North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center and for her family's business, a machine shop that just celebrated its 75th year in business.

Megan moved to Texas in 2012 to work with the City of Austin's Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens program, one of the first of such programs in the nation. Serving as the main point of contact for all agriculture activity in the City of Austin, Megan worked on projects related to reducing urban food deserts, expanding farmers markets, integrating agricultural practices with vacant public land with City recreation programming. Her work coordinated closely with the City's Sustainable Food Policy Board and the Offices of Sustainability, Watershed Protection, Parks and Recreation and Economic Growth and Redevelopment. Additionally, she assisted with the 2013 study, The Economic Impact of Austin's Food Sector, which resulted in a greater understanding of the impact local agriculture has on the city's economy.

Today Megan lives in the Verde Valley of northern Arizona and serves as the Northern Arizona Director of Local First Arizona, a statewide nonprofit charged with strengthening local economies. She also works independently as a consultant on planning and community development projects nationwide. Projects include work with SCALE, Inc. and Plato Strategies, Inc., two consulting firms dedicated to sustainable, creative and place-based solutions to community development and planning efforts.

michael shuman.jpg

Michael shuman (partner)

Michael is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur. He currently is Director of Community Portals for Mission Markets and a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and Post-Carbon Institute. He's also a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. He is one of the nation's leading experts on community economics and the advantages of small-scale businesses in an era of globalization, and was one of the architects of the crowdfunding "JOBS Act" signed into law by President Obama in April 2012.

He has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books. His most recent book, published by Chelsea Green, is Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity. His previous book, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received as bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006.


In recent years, he has prepared studies on the opportunities for food localization for New Mexico, Detroit, Cleveland, Boulder County, Denver, Michigan, and Washtenaw County. He led another food study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation, analyzing case studies of 24 local food businesses worldwide. ( He has performed "leakage analyses" (job opportunities through import-replacing businesses) for Spokane (WA), St. Lawrence County (NY), the Katahdin Region (ME), Martha's Vineyard (MA), Appalachia, Davidson County (NC), and Kootenai County (ID), and has designed simple leakage calculation tools for the BALLE web site ( He is also now completing a study, funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which documents income tax and public spending inequities facing small business in 15 states.

A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for 30 years--in 47 states and eight countries. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, such as the Lehrer News Hour and NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and NPR's "All Things Considered."

Shuman has written nearly one hundred published articles for such periodicals as New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Parade, and The Chronicle on Philanthropy. In 1980 he won First Prize in the Rabinowitch Essay Competition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on "How to Prevent Nuclear War."

Shuman received an A.B. with distinction in economics and international relations from Stanford University in 1979 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1982. Between 1987 and 1990 he was a W.K. Kellogg National Leadership Fellow. He is also a member of both the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar.