About 50 Peterborough residents from a wide cross section of the city gathered to explore this question recently: What If We Created a Local Living Economy Founded On Our Gifts and Personal Life Purposes?

Food and Dialogue Give Life to Peterborough’s Local Living Economy
Residents enjoy local food, sample Dialogues' possibilities

Editor’s Note: The Peterborough Dialogues are intended to hold a field for change over time through both dialogue and generative media making. Peter Block’s Six Conversations, the Art of Hosting and Appreciative Inquiry are some of the philosophies/practices threading through the work. The story below represents another “journal entry” from the journey, plus an energizing video.

What happens when you bring together a cross section of the business community, political figures and local advocates and activists to discuss Peterborough, Ontario’s Local Living Economy?


On Aug. 13, Peterborough Dialogues hosted a summer barbecue. Community members came out to enjoy local food, “taste” the Peterborough Dialogues experience and explore the calling question: What If We Created a Local Living Economy Founded On Our Gifts and Personal Life Purposes?

The invitation was well received and with an hour to showtime we rearranged the office and rented more chairs to accommodate the nearly 50 participants.

After enjoying the local eats — sausages from the Community Butcher and sandwiches and salads from Primal Cuts — guests made their way inside to start the conversation.

Participants gathered in triads with those they knew least in the room. The “strangerness” factor is key to sharing deeply and moving into the telling of one’s story from a place of authenticity.

As the dialoguers explored how Peterborough’s Local Living Economy is fundamentally connected to the community’s thriving, questions arose around how to shape, contribute to and create the desired community.

Peter Pula, Axiom News CEO and Peterborough Dialogues founder framed it this way: “We can choose to leave our economic future to the ‘forces that be’ or we can choose to discover our own potential to create livelihoods we love and by doing so shape a thriving local economy … our way.”

After 60 minutes of discovering one another and exploring deep desires for Peterborough’s Local Living Economy, the group came back to the whole to share insights and takeaways. With no two answers the same, it was inspiring to see how the experience made such an impact in so many ways. This is evident in the accompanying video harvest below.

This fall the Peterborough Dialogues is launching a Dialogues Extravaganza focusing on the four predominate themes that emerged through the spring and summer Core Conversation series’: New Economy, Local Food, Citizenship and Neighbouring.


Local Living Economy Barbecue and Dialogue from Axiom News on Vimeo.


If you are interested in discovering, in new ways, the gifts and possibilities already alive in this community we invite to join us.

Special thanks to Greg Anderson of Mimic Holdings, owner of the Old Colonial Weaving Building and Marcelo Sarkis, proprietor of Prima IP, member of Start Up Peterborough and a Peterborough Dialoguer, for helping to plan and host this gathering.

This blog was originally posted on peterboroughdialogues.media, the news site of the Peterborough Dialogues, a local engagement project designed and hosted by Axiom News.