Since 1974, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been working to enable communities with tools to increase economic effectiveness, reduce wastes, decrease environmental impacts and provide for local ownership of the infrastructure and resources essential for community well-being. Many of our staff members speak at events around the country at various meetings, conferences and make presentations to organizations, companies and governmental bodies. If you are interested in booking a speaker, please contact ILSR at email@example.com.
John Farrell covers topics of decentralized energy policy and technology. (full bio)
Olivia LaVecchia covers topics on independent businesses benefit communities. (full bio)
Stacy Mitchell covers topics on how communities can design and implement policies and strategies to curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise. (full bio and a list of her past speaking events here).
Christopher Mitchell covers topics of community owned Internet networks and how cities can create cutting edge telecommunications infrastructure that is essential to the health and vitality of a 21st century community. (full bio)
David Morris, co-founder of ILSR, speaks on a wide range of topics of including energy, local self-reliance, sustainable development, public vs. private and more. (full bio)
Brenda Platt covers topics on composting, zero waste planning, recycling and economic development. (full bio)
Neil Seldman, co-founder of ILSR, is nationally recognized expert on recycling, waste reduction and economic development and has been advising communities around the country for four decades. (full bio)
Karlee Weinmann covers topics of decentralized energy policy and technology. (full bio)
May 1-2nd – Dallas, TX:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell, will be speaking at the Broadband Communities Summit in Dallas, Texas, the name of the summit is “Fiber: Get in the Game of Gigs.” Read more…
May 4th – Keene, NH:
ILSR’s co-director and Community-Scaled Economies initiative director Stacy Mitchell, will be speaking at “Creating an Economy That Works for All” as part of the Complete Economy Project in New Hampshire. Read more…
May 7th – New York City, NY:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell will be presenting to the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference at their “Small Town Municipal Broadband Gabfest” session. Read more…
May 9-11th – Washington, DC:
ILSR’s co-founder and Waste to Wealth staffer, Neil Seldman, will be speaking at the Blue Ribbon Summit, sponsored by the Global Anti-Incineration Alliance and Fives Institute. The talks will center on the recent history of recycling in the U.S. and current challenges.
May 10th – New Orleans, LA:
ILSR’s co-director and Composting for Community Project Director, Brenda Platt, will be speaking at Waste Expo’s Composting & Organics Recycling Conference on “Jobs Created and Sustained through Composting Organics.” Read more…
May 16-17th – St. Paul, MN:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell will be on a panel for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance called “State-level Digital Inclusion Advocacy and Programs.” Read more…
May 19th – Dickerson, MD:
ILSR’s co-founder and Waste to Wealth researcher, Neil Seldman, and ILSR’s co-director and the Composting for Community initiative director, Brenda Platt, is participating in the Resource Recovery Parks & Zero Waste Workshop put on by the Zero Waste USA. Read more…
May 22nd – Frederick, MD:
ILSR is co-sponsoring the Frederick Compost Summit in the town of Frederick, Maryland with ILSR’s co-director and Composting for Community initiative director, Brenda Platt. You can purchase tickets at the follow link. Read more…
May 23rd – Keystone, CO:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell will be speaking at 2017 Mountain Connect Broadband Development Conference in Keystone, Colorado. Read more…
May 25th – Frederick, MD:
ILSR’s co-director and the Composting for Community initiative director, Brenda Platt, will be presenting at Hood College on the value of distributed composting infrastructure at Hood College in Frederick, MD. Read more…
October 21-22nd – Helena, MT:
ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative director, John Farrell, will be delivering the keynote address to the 2017 meeting of Alternative Energy Resources Organization in Helena, Montana. Read more…
January 29 – Minneapolis, MN:
January 24 – Los Angeles, CA:
“Cultivating Community Composting Forum.” This January, the National Composting Council will be holding its annual conference in Los Angeles. This forum aims to foster interconnection between composters of all levels and locations to share practices, models, and ideas together. Read more…
January 23 – Los Angeles, CA:
“Best Practices in Community Composting Workshop.” This January, the National Composting Council will be holding its annual conference in Los Angeles. This ILSR-sponsored workshop will walk through practices that work and address how to take your community-scale composting to the next level with staff members Brenda Platt, Linda Bilsens, Josh Etim, and Nick Stumo-Langer. Read more…
February 8 – Boston, MA:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell, will be speaking at Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center on, “Conversation in Civic Innovation: Broadband Equity.” Read more…
February 12-15 – Washington, D.C.:
ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative director, John Farrell will be speaking at the 2017 NARUC Winter Committee Meeting in Washington D.C. His discussion will be as part of a panel titled, “Who Wore it Better – Utility-Scale Solar or Rooftop Solar?” Read more…
March 20th – Minneapolis, MN:
ILSR research associate Olivia LaVecchia will be a guest on the civics-inspired improv comedy show the Theater of Public Policy to talk about Amazon, and the impact of the company’s dominance on local economies and communities. Read more…
March 22nd – Des Moines, IA:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell, will be speaking at the Iowa Municipal Broadband conference. Read more…
March 27th – Greenbelt, MD:
ILSR’s co-director Brenda Platt will be speaking to organizers at the ICCE/MADE CLEAR meeting in late March to discuss climate change and the power of composting. Read more…
March 28th – New Orleans, LA:
ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative research associate Karlee Weinmann will discuss rural electric cooperatives’ transition from coal to clean energy at the Decarbonizing the Grid conference, organized by the Energy Foundation. Read more…
April 4-7th – Baltimore, MD:
ILSR is a co-sponsor on BioCycle’s BioCycle East Coast17 event. They are currently calling for papers now. Read more…
April 6th – Baltimore, MD:
ILSR’s co-director and Waste to Wealth initiative director, Brenda Platt, is presenting at BioCycle’s EastCoast17 on the Distributed panel, her talk is called “Distributed – It’s Time Has Come.” Read more…
April 6th – Baltimore, MD:
ILSR’s Waste to Wealth project manager, Linda Bilsens, is presenting at BioCycle’s EastCoast17 on the “Hot Composting in Cold Climates.” Read more…
April 18th – Mesa, AZ:
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative director, Christopher Mitchell will be speaking at Digital Southwest, hosted by Next Century Cities. Read more…
April 21-22nd – Vancouver, BC (Canada):
ILSR research associate Olivia LaVecchia will be speaking about how rising commercial rents are threatening independent businesses, and what policy tools cities can use to do something about it, at “Hopeful Economics: Leadership and Innovation Summit,” an event co-hosted by the City of Vancouver and Simon Fraser University. Read more…
December 5 – Fayetteville, AR
ILSR’s Co-Founder, Neil Seldman, will be speaking to the citizens in Fayetteville via a Skype workshop that focuses on that city’s unique curbside sorting recycling program at 7pm.
December 6 — Greenbelt, MD
ILSR’s Co-Founder, Neil Seldman, will be participating in a citizen review of the Prince George’s County Zero Waste Plan at 8pm.
December 13 — Bethesda, MD
ILSR’s Co-Director, Brenda Platt, will be speaking on a panel event for Bethesda Green Sustainability Series: “Sustainability Series: Composting in Montgomery County.” Read More
November 2 — Nashville, TN
ILSR’s Co-Director, Stacy Mitchell, will moderate a panel discussion at EPIC, the annual gathering of independent office supply dealers, sponsored by Trimega, titled “Buy Local in the Age of Amazon.” Read More
November 2 — Washington, DC
ILSR’s Co-Director, Brenda Platt will be delivering the class “Community Composting Models and Introduction to Science of Composting” during the DPR Urban Master Composter Certificate Course, ILSR is a co-partner on the event. Read More
November 3 — Nashville, TN
ILSR’s Co-Director, Stacy Mitchell, will speak at a breakfast event called “Nashville Unchaines” sponsored by Indie Nash. Here talk will be called “Strengthening Independent Businesses and the Local Economy.” Read More
November 9 — Frederick County, MD
ILSR will participate in a public “Zero Waste Workshop” with the citizens and leaders of Frederick County, MD. The beginning of zero waste is helping community businesses and engendering greater local economic development. Read More
November 16 — Boston, MA
ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell will be presenting to the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center for a conversation titled, “Conversation in Civi Innovation: Broadband Equity.” Read More
November 30 — Washington, D.C.
ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell will be speaking at an event for Next Century Cities, a national advocacy group of city leaders from across the country advocating for better Internet connectivity via municipal broadband.
October 18-20 — Minneapolis, MN
ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell will participate in a panel at the Broadband Communities regional conference with the theme “Fiber For The New Economy”. Read More
October 18 — Orlando, FL
ILSR’s John Farrell will keynote a presentation at the annual Biocycle conference. Read More
September 26 — Washington D.C.
ILSR’s Co-Founder Neil Seldman will deliver a presentation, by invitation, at Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power Conference titled “Community Business is Revolutionary.” Read More
September 27 — San Diego, CA
ILSR’s Co-Director Brenda Platt will be presenting at the San Diego Food System Alliance’s Food Waste Solutions Summit. Her talk is called “Composting to Build Equity. Read More
July 8-10 — Buffalo, NY
Stacy Mitchell and John Farrell presented at the New Economy Coalition’s CommonBound conference. They led sessions on Banking and Finance for a New Economy, Democratizing Energy, and Policy Tools to Enable Local Businesses to Thrive. Read More
June 17-18 — Custer, WI
John Farrell presented a keynote at the Midwest Energy Fair in Custer, WI. John’s talk was about how decentralized control and ownership of our energy grid can transform the grid to cleaner energy resources and economically reward our communities. Read More
May 18 — Webinar/Live Video Chat
Join John Farrell for a live chat to preview the 2016 Energy Fair. Learn more about The Energy Fair and purchase Fair tickets. Register for the webinar
May 18 — Washington, DC
Brenda Platt will present on the “Path to Zero Waste” at the Organic Waste Summit. The event is hosted by the DC Department of Public Works and Partners. Read More
May 12 — Webinar
John Farrell will answer questions on his new report “Beyond Sharing: How Communities Can Take Ownership of Renewable Energy”. Read More
May 11 — Chicago
Stacy Mitchell will be the featured speaker at the American Booksellers Association’s opening plenary session, “The New Localism,” on at BookExpo America 2016. Read more
April 3 — College Park, MD
Brenda Platt spoke at a breakout session: “Reduce & Recover Waste to Build Community Equity at the 2016 National Food Recovery Network Conference.
March 22 — WEBINAR
Crowdfunding and worker-owned cooperatives are just two of the models that have proven to work for community composters around the United States. Dustin Fedako with Compost Pedallers, Ethany Uttech with Ioby, and Brenda Platt took a deeper dive into crowdfunding for community composters. The event was organized by ILSR and Biocycle.
March 15 — WEBINAR
A constellation of distributed energy technologies is opening the way to the “microgrid,” one of many new local solutions to generating and managing energy. Will state laws granting utility monopolies interfere? Will microgrids be able to sell their grid-strengthening services? John Farrell and report author Matt Grimley discuss the report, “Mighty Microgrids.” Registration for the webinar.
March 10 & March 12 — Meadville, PA
Stacy Mitchell gave a talk at on “Building an Innovative, Equitable, Thriving Local Economy” at Allegheny College as part of the Year of Meadville. On Saturday, March 12, she joined leaders from Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, PUSH Buffalo, and Solar Hollar for a panel discussion at CHAPS, Inc.
January 25 — Jacksonville, FL
Brenda Platt led a workshop on Best Practices in Community Composting at the US Composting Council Conference.
January 25-26 — Denver, CO
Stacy Mitchell spoke as part of a plenary panel on “The New Localism” and at an in-depth session on “Amazon and Empty Storefronts” at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute.
January 13 — (Webinar)
Neil Seldman moderated a webinar title, “Plastic Ocean, Plastic People: A Conversation with Captain Charles Moore”.
December— The Internet!
You can still donate to our #GivingTuesday 2015 campaign! Please help us sustain our mission and keep producing content that engages and inspires in 2016. Donate Here.
December 17— Washington, DC
Chris Mitchell participated in a panel discussion titled, The Role of State and Local Regulators in Broadband Mergers and Policymaking at the Capitol Forum’s 2nd Annual Broadband Conference.
November 16-18— Charleston, SC
Brenda Platt spoke at Southeast Recycling Development Council Food Recovery Summit.
November 16 & 17— Mountain View, CA
Chris Mitchell participated in panels at the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition AnchorNets conference.
November 4— The Internet!
Stacy Mitchell helped lead a BALLE Localist Policy Webinar: Transforming policy to build strong local economies at noon (PT).
October 7— Albuquerque, NM
Stacy Mitchell spoke at the Kauffman Foundation’s Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship.
September 15-18 – Lexington,, KY
Chris Mitchell spokeon a community broadband panel at Broadband Communities “Fiber for the New Economy”.
September 25 – Asheville, NC
Stacy Mitchell keynoted Venture Local Fair: Growing a New Economy for All.
August 26-28 – Durham, NC
Stacy Mitchell will be speaking at Grasping at the Root, a national conference at Duke University.
June 20 – Custer, WI
John Farrell spoke at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair.
June 18 – Washington, DC
Stacy Mitchell spoke on a panel about antitrust and entrepreneurship at a symposium organized by the American Antitrust Institute.
June 18 – Seattle, WA
Chris Mitchell spoke at Upgrade Seattle Launch Event on “Exploring a City-Owned Internet.”
June 11-12 – Albany, NY
Chris Mitchell spoke at New York State Broadband Summit.
June 8 – Vail, CO
Chris Mitchell spoke at Mountain Connect.
April 13-15 – Austin, TX
Chris Mitchell spoke at the Broadband Communities Summit as well as a special “pre-conference event” put on by the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC). Read the The Summit Agenda at a Glance.
April 15 – Boulder, CO
Brenda Platt spoke at Eco-Cycle’s Green Star Gala: Combatting Climate Change with Zero Waste”– plus Green Star Awards for our 2015 Zero Waste Heroes. More information.
March 25-27 – Kahului, HI
John spoke at the Maui Energy Conference. “With island consumers paying more than double the national average per kilowatt hour for electricity, the second Maui Energy Conference + Exhibition comes at a time when Hawaii is seeing a revolutionary shift to renewable energy resources.”
March 27 – online
Stacy Mitchell spoke as part of webinar and panel discussion on “Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship in Cities,” organized by the Municipal Arts Society.
March 5-6, 2015 – New York City
Stacy Mitchell was invited to speak at CUE to CUE: A conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship In Cities, organized by the Committee for Urban Entrepreneurship.
March 5, 2015 – Poughkeepsie, NY
Brenda Platt spoke at the NYS Organics Summit on “The Need for More Community-Based Composting: National and Local Scale.”
March 2-3, 2015 – New York, NY
Chris Mitchell spoke at the Freedom to Connect conference in New York City. Freedom to Connect is a conference devoted to preserving and celebrating the essential properties of the Internet.
February 18, 2015 – Tucson, Arizona
John Farrell spoke at a Sustainable Tucson Event. Sustainable Tucson is a non-profit, grass-roots organization that builds regional resilience and sustainability through awareness raising, community engagement and public/private partnerships.
February 17, 2015 – San Diego, California
Neil Seldman spoke at the 2nd Annual Zero Waste Summit in San Diego County. The event is sponsored by Zero Waste San Diego and the California Resource Recovery Association.
February 5, 2015 – On the Internets
What does the utility of the future look like? John Farrell invites Ellen Anderson, director of the Energy Transition Lab at the University of Minnesota to discuss the tension in the current utility business model, the causes, and the policy principles as we move Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy. Registration for the webinar.
November 13, 2014 – Washington, DC
Stacy Mitchell spoke at a luncheon titled “Sustainable Economic and Environmental Policy Initiatives at the State and Local Level”.
November 5, 2014 – On the Internets
Chris Mitchell and Lisa Gonzalez hosted an open forum style discussion online for anyone interested in community broadband networks.
November 4-5, 2014 – Minneapolis, MN
John Farrell spoke at the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MNSEIA) “Midwest Gateway to Solar” Conference. John took part in two panels, including a discussion with Xcel Energy‘s Rick Evans on whether MN will implement the new Value of Solar tariff.
October 9, 2014 – Mount Vernon, WA
Christopher Mitchell is speaking at the “Connect with the World Conference: The Benefits of Publicly Owned Broadband Infrastructure”.
October 1, 2014 – Minneapolis, MN
Stacy Mitchell will be giving a keynote talk at the Heartland Fall Forum, a regional conference organized by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.
September 19, 2014 – Burlington, VT
Chris Mitchell will speak at luncheon titled “How Do We Keep Burlington Telecom Local?”.
August 24, 2014 – Oregon, IL
John Farrell was a keynote speaker at the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair. “New Energy for Illinois.” Video link to come.
June 19-20, 2014 — Linthicum, MD
Brenda Platt was a panelist at at the Maryland Recycling Network’s Annual Conference. She spoke on the topic of “The State of Composting in the U.S.” in a panel covering The Road to Zero Waste: Removing Organics from the Waste Stream.
June 11-13, 2014 — Oakland, CA
Stacy Mitchell spoke at the 2014 BALLE Conference.
June 8-11 – Vail, CO
Christoper Mitchell spoke at the 2014 Mountain Connect-Rural Broadband Conference. The conference theme is “Progress through Education”. Topics and speakers will explore lessons learned and alternative ideas to successfully implement rural broadband initiatives.
June 6-8, 2014 — Boston, MA
Stacy Mitchell presented at a session on “A Localist Agenda: Policy and Politics for Building a Community-Scaled Economy” with Aaron Bartley of PUSH Buﬀalo, Lew Daly of Demos, and Barry Lynn of New America Foundation at the New Economy Coalition conference.
May 29, 2014 – online worldwide
John Farrell hosted a first-of-it’s kind, Value of Solar webinar. In this 60-minute webinar, Farrell explained how the “value of solar” concept emerged, how it was recently adopted in Minnesota, and how it could fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers.
May 28, 2014 – Washington, DC
Christopher Mitchell was part of the “Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options,” an event sponsored by New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. Conversation will focused on different approaches to improve connectivity and community strategies to make those approaches successful. The event video is archived here.
May 6-9, 2014 — Atlanta, GA
Brenda Platt will be giving a keynote speech on May 8 at the 3rd Annual National Zero Waste Business Conference.
April 27, 2014 — Atlanta, GA
Stacy Mitchell presented at a session on “Managing Neighborhood Character through Retail Controls” at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference, together with San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim and San Francisco Planning Commission Vice President Rodney Fong.
March 26-27, 2014 – Raleigh, NC
Christopher Mitchell was a panelist at the 3rd Annual Broadband Conference of the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities.
March 24-25, 2014 – Raleigh, NC
Christopher Mitchell presented on “Community Broadband and Community Programming” at the 2014 Annual Conference of the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA).
March 12, 2014 – Alexandria, MN
John Farrell presented at Electrons on the Run, a mini-conference on the future of the U.S. energy system at Alexandria Technical and Community College.
February 21, 2014 – Stockholm, Sweden
Christopher Mitchell was a panelist presenting on “The State of Broadband in the United States: Cities Struggle for Fibre Rollouts” at the Fibre: the key to creating world-class IT-regions conference, sponsored by Stockholm IT Region.
February 18, 2014 – Minneapolis, MN
John Farrell commented on the role of distributed renewable energy in the future of our electricity system on Thom Hartmann’s Big Picture program.
February 4-5, 2014 – St. Paul, MN
Christopher Mitchell presented on “Successful Public Sector Initiatives” at the Border to Border Broadband conference supported in part by the Blandin Foundation.
February 1, 2014 – Kansas City, MO
John Farrell was one of the featured guest speakers at the 2014 annual conference of the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association. His presentation can be viewed here.
January 18, 2014 – Northfield, MN
John Farrell spoke about local opportunities to increase renewable energy generation as one of the panelists at the Northfield Climate Summit.
January 14, 2014 — Charleston, SC
Stacy Michell gave a keynote address, “An Indie Revival: How Local Business Owners are Joining Forces to Win Public Support and Level the Playing Field,” as part of the 2014 Innkeeping Conference & Trade Show sponsored by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.
November 20, 2013 – Upper Marlboro, MD
Brenda Platt gave a presentation on “Composting and Community Resilience” at the Prince George’s County Planning Departments Speaker Series
November 13, 2013 — Sacramento, CA
Neil Seldman spoke at CALRecycle’s Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) “Zone Works” Training Workshop.
November 8, 2013 – Decorah, IA
John Farrell provided the opening plenary at the 5th Conference of the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability at Luther College, where he spoke about the intersection of campus sustainability and the shift toward communities taking control of their energy future.
November 8, 2013 — Jackson, MS
Neil Seldman spoke at NAACP Mississippi’s Annual State Annual Convention.
November 6, 2013 — Chicago, IL
Christopher Mitchell moderated a panel on “Using Broadband to Drive Economic Development and Create Jobs: Successful Local Approaches,” at the Broadband Communities 2013 Economic Development conference.
October 29, 2013 — Bloomington, MN
Christopher Michell was a panelist for a session titled, “The Minnesota Office of Broadband is Open for Business,” part of the 30th Annual Conference of the Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators.
October 22, 2013 — Boise, ID
Christopher Mitchell spoke at the 2013 Broadband Summit sponsored by the Idaho Rural Partnership and the State of Idaho.
Oct 1, 2013 — St. Paul, MN
John Farrell presented on the “Essential Values for Solar in MN” at the Department of Commerce’s Value of Solar Stakeholder Process
August 28, 2013 – Minneapolis, MN
John Farrell presented on the shared energy vision of the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign to the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee.
Oct. 20, 2012 — Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
Stacy Mitchell’s presentation Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy a featured talk at TEDx Dirigo
June 8-10, 2012 — Bard College, NY
Stacy Mitchell’s presentation, “Rewriting Government Policy: New Rules to Reign in Corporations and Revive Local Economies” at the Strategies for a New Economy 2012 Conference